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Psychological effects of wrongful conviction and imprisonment

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Anke Plagnol.

Adrian Grounds will discuss his study of a series of individuals referred for systematic psychiatric assessment after their convictions were quashed because of miscarriage of justice, and they were released from long-term imprisonment. The assessments revealed evidence of substantial psychiatric morbidity. There were complex problems of psychological and social adjustment, particularly within families. Possible explanations for these effects are discussed, and their implications for service and support needs are considered. These needs do not fit easily within mainstream specialist mental health services.

The psychological consequences were unexpected in relation to earlier research on the effects of imprisonment. A key question is whether the phenomena relate only to circumstances of wrongful conviction and unjust detention, or whether they may also occur more generally amongst other long-term prisoners.

Adrian Grounds was a University Senior Lecturer in forensic psychiatry at the Institute of Criminology until retirement in April 2010, and he is currently an honorary research fellow at the Institute.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars series.

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