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The Relationship Between Attachment, Recidivism and Treatment in Forensic Patients with Mental Illness
Dr. Gheorghita Adams
University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Mansfield Mela
2016-2017 Collaborative Innovation Development
DescriptionCriminality and mental illness represent a hard to treat and costly combination with risks for the population at large. This is highly concerning in Saskatchewan given the increase in the rate of supervised offenders that exceeds all other provinces. Although sparse, studies of Offenders with Mental Disorders (OMDs) show high rates of childhood trauma, long-standing difficulties in relationships, costly and minimally successful treatments. Moreover, after release, OMDs re-offend faster and more frequently than their counterparts without mental illness. Attachment style is a pattern of viewing and behaving in relationships developed in childhood through interactions with caregivers. Attachment persists throughout life, represents a risk factor for mental illness and relational problems, and impacts the engagement and success of treatments. However, studies exploring attachment in the forensic population are lacking. Forgiveness has been recently shown to have remarkable curative potential in preventing criminal behavior and improving the quality of relationships. The current study aims to explore the relationship between the attachment style of OMDs in the context of childhood trauma, their recidivism risk and capacity to forgive, as well as their engagement in psychiatric treatment and the associated costs. The goal of the project is to identify factors that could improve the health of OMDs, decrease healthcare costs and reduce recidivism. The study benefits from a significant team of forensic clinicians and experienced researchers, as well as the involvement of end-users and advisors with direct experience in forensics.