Time out of cell and time in purposeful activity and adverse mental health outcomes amongst people in prison: a literature review

Thomas Stephenson*, Jane Leaman, Éamonn O’Moore, Anh Tran, Emma Plugge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to synthesise the available peer-reviewed literature on the impact of time out of cell (TOOC) and time in purposeful activity (TIPA) on adverse mental outcomes amongst people in prison. Design/methodology/approach: The outcomes of interest of this literature review were mental health, suicide, deliberate self-harm (DSH) and violence. Exposures of interest were TOOC, TIPA or a partial or indirect measure of either. In total, 14 studies were included. An abbreviated review methodology was used because of time constraints. Findings: There was consistent evidence of an association between lower TOOC and TIPA and worse mental health and higher suicide risk. Limited evidence suggests a link between TOOC and DSH. No evidence was identified regarding the relationship between TOOC/TIPA and violence. Research limitations/implications: A lack of longitudinal studies prevents conclusions regarding causality. Significant heterogeneity of mental health outcomes limits the comparability of studies. Practical implications: These findings highlight the importance of considering the impact of TOOC and TIPA on adverse mental outcomes for prisoners when designing prison regimes, including during urgent adaptation of such regimes in response to Covid-19. They are likely to be of interest to practitioners and policymakers concerned with prison regime design. Originality/value: This paper is the first to synthesise the existing literature on the impact of TOOC and TIPA on mental health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Prisoner Health
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Keywords

  • Health promoting prison
  • Mental health
  • Prison psychiatry
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide
  • Violence

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