Expectations and experiences of prisoners who are engaged in the Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder treatment programme at HMP Whitemoor
The aims of this research were to gain a better understanding of dangerous and severe personality disorder (DSPD) from the prisoners' perspective, to explore the expectations and experiences of those engaged in a treatment programme, and to gain an insight into how such individuals perceive their difficulties and the term DSPD. A group of prisoners who met the criteria for DSPD treatment, and who were enrolled at different stages on the Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD) Programme at Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Whitemoor, were invited to discuss their expectations and experiences of their treatment. This research aimed to generate new theory, grounded in the interview data, and to provide feedback to the DSPD treatment service at HMP Whitemoor. 24 out of a possible 52 prisoners agreed to participate. Interviews were conducted using a semi-structured format. Eight interviews were selected for transcription and detailed analysis using a grounded theory approach. The following five inter-related conceptual themes were generated to explain the data: Difficulties, Expectations, Experience of the DSPD wing (including treatment), Implications of the term DSPD, and Consent.A conceptual model was generated,which suggests a disparity between participants' expectations and the aims of treatment as described by the DSPD programme. It is hypothesised that as service users gain more experience of the treatment programme, their expectations tend to gradually converge with service objectives. Expectations about treatment outcome were generally high, a fact that is discussed in the context of the voluntary status of these participants. Findings also indicated that participants had a theoretical understanding of personality disorder in terms of their own difficulties, and that the term DSPD was associated with confusion and fear of negative connotations. Implications,further directions for research and personal reflections on the research process are also discussed.