Experiences of prison officers on a Lifer Psychologically Informed Planned Environment



Natalie Bond , Linda Gemmell

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities







– Psychologically Informed Planned Environments (PIPEs) provide a pathway facility for offenders with complex needs, such as personality disorder; to maintain and develop the progress made on offending behaviour programmes (Ministry of Justice and Department of Health, 2012). The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of prison officers who work on a PIPE in a Lifer prison.



– Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore the experiences of five prison officers working on a PIPE in a Lifer prison.



– Main themes identified were labelled “Role Conflict”, “Growth”, “Relationships” and “Impact”. A rich and detailed account of the experience of the “voyage of discovery” and the personal challenges, costs and rewards of the PIPE work was achieved.


Research limitations/implications

– Limitations include the small number of participants, limited focus of the researchers, both Forensic Psychologists, and the uniqueness of the context, a Lifer prison. Limitations might be addressed by future research that could expand on the current findings. Implications for future research include further exploration of the psychological impact of the work, dynamics within the PIPE and the value of attachment theory in work with personality disordered offenders. Implications for future policy and practice concern training, support and the development of new PIPEs.



– The research adds a rich account of what it is like for these prison officers to work on a PIPE in a Lifer prison. The experiences shared reveal the personal challenge, costs and rewards of the work through which ideas to develop the staff, residents and the PIPE model emerged.









Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee