Outcomes research in forensic mental health (FMH) has concentrated on reoffending as the principal indicator of success. Defining success in one-dimensional, negative terms can create a distorted view of the diverse objectives of the FMH system. This qualitative study examined the complexity of success from the perspectives of people in the FMH system. Interviews were conducted with 18 forensic service users and 10 forensic service providers. Data were analyzed inductively using thematic analysis to identify predominant themes. The participants conceptualized success as a dynamic process materializing across six different domains in the context of the FMH system: (a) normal life, (b) independent life, (c) compliant life, (d) healthy life, (e) meaningful life, and (f) progressing life. The results indicate that people who provide or use FMH services emphasize a broad range of processes and outcomes, apart from public safety, when they think about success.
What Does Success Look Like in the Forensic Mental Health System? Perspectives of Service Users and Service Providers