PORSCH does not carry out projects itself but works with partners to identify research and development needs and match these with project teams. PORSCH's Research Coordinator of these projects is Dr Wendy Dyer of Northumbria University. If you wish to find out more about these projects please contact PORSCH using the Contact page.

Current PORSCH Supported Projects

The Mental Health Integrated Support Unit at HMP Durham

Dr Wendy Dyer (PORSCH Research Co-ordinator) and colleagues are assisting the development and evaluation of the establishment and operation of the new Mental Health Unit provided by Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust at HMP Durham as part of its re-designation as a reception prison. Phase 1 has been completed and Phase 2 of the project, which will evaluate the work of the Unit, will start in March

Prevention of Self-inflicted Death in Prison

Project by Prof Graham Towl Durham University (supported by Prof Andrew Gray for PORSCH) on preventing self-inflicted death in HMP Durham has included a report for the prison after a walk through of the reception pathway from van to settlement on I wing.

Diversion and Liaison Services

PORSCH has been involved with the North East’s commissioned diversion and liaison services since 2010. What is now NHS England Health and Justice (Cumbria and North East) launched the Big Diversion Project that year with Prof Andrew Gray (PORSCH Network Chair) as its Advisor and Dr Wendy Dyer (PORSCH Research Coordinator) providing research and evaluation reports. Since 2013, provision has been further supported through NHS national funding for trial sites in Sunderland and Middlesbrough. PORSCH continues to support these initiatives and their Commissioners.  

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the Adult Prison Population

Dr Pratish Thakkar (Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, and member of the PORSCH Advisory Board) and Dr Wendy Dyer (PORSCH Research Coordinator) have been developing a national team to work on a project proposal to improve the screening for and management of ADHD in the adult prison population. The proposal emerged from a PORSCH facilitated forum of a Clinical Research Group for Offender Mental Health. The project is currently on hold pending the building of a team and identification of a lead investigator.

Completed Projects

Screening for the Risk of Self Harm

Dr Wendy Dyer (PORSCH Research Co-ordinator) and a team of clinicians and researchers facilitated by PORSCH analysed screening instruments for the risk of self harm in an adult offender population, funded by the National Institute for Health Research – Health Technology Assessment. It reported at a PORSCH workshop in September 2014. A new project is currently on hold pending the broadening of the team and identification of a principal investigator.

Prisoner engagement and health-related behaviour change in the NHS Health and Justice ‘Health Trainers and Lay-Practitioners’ Initiative

This project was a Northumbria University Collaborative PhD (2014-17) with NHS England Health and Justice (Cumbria and North East). The research was conducted by Kara Danks and supervised by Dr Wendy Dyer with Dr Michael Smith of Northumbria University, with Prof Andrew Gray representing PORSCH on the project Steering Group. The research aimed to contribute to the evidence and theory of lay-led models of promoting lifestyle change within prisons, to provide specifically an evidence base for Health Trainer service models to be developed and delivered within North East prisons and to evaluate the impact of their use on prisoner knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. PORSCH hopes to include this project in a conference on the use of peer mentoring in offender health and wellbeing initiatives.

Sex Offender Suicide Prevention Pilot Project

Dr Wendy Dyer (PORSCH Research Co-ordinator) evaluated this service provided by County Durham Constabulary with assessment by Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Diversion Team.

Staff Resilience in Offender Health Services

Dr Wendy Dyer (PORSCH Research Co-ordinator) investigated staff resilience for the Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (completed in 2017).

The Use of Prison as a Place of Safety for Women with Complex Mental Health Needs

PORSCH supported a project by Tamara Pattinson (when Head of Reducing Reoffending at HMP Low Newton). The project was been funded by the Griffins Society and reported in 2016.

Street Triage for Mental Health and Personality Disorders

Paul Biddle (Northumbria University and PORSCH member) and Dr Wendy Dyer conducted an evaluation of the Cleveland Street Triage for Mental Health and Personality Disorders. This was reported at an Economic and Social Research Council Festival of Social Science Event in November 2015 on 'Using Street Triage to Reduce Inappropriate Use of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act'.

Information Sharing in Services for Military Personnel in Transition to Civilian Life

Prof Andrew Gray (PORSCH chair) was a member of a team funded by the Forces in Mind Trust that explored practices and challenges in information sharing in services for military personnel in transition to civilian life. The team was based at Newcastle University's Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise and was led by Prof Rob Wilson. It reported to the Forces in Mind Trust in 2015. Many of the identified practices and challenges appear similar to those for offenders in transition from prison.