Relational caring and contact after treatment. An evaluation study on criminal recidivism [2018]

Criminal recidivism within two years after discharge from secure Forensic Psychiatric Hospitals (FPHs) is high, that is, over 36% for short-term judicial measures. It is assumed that relational care during treatment and continued voluntary contact and informal care after discharge, are factors that contribute to the reduction of criminal recidivism.

To examine whether the provision of relational care and continued contact after treatment can be effective in reducing criminal recidivism two years after discharge (prevalence and time to re-offense) in patients who received treatment according to article 37 of the Dutch Penal Law (i.e., a hospital order for one year) compared to patients with the same order receiving Care As Usual.

An evaluation study of criminal recidivism in adult patients (N = 111) residing in 4 FPHs in the Netherlands two years after discharge. The intervention ‘relational care’ group was compared with a historical control group from the same hospital before the new approach had been introduced, and a concurrent control group from three other FPHs in the Netherlands.

In the intervention group 15,6% of the participants reoffended within two years following discharge, which was significantly lower than recidivism in the historical (46,5%) and concurrent (47,8%) control group. The odds-ratio for recidivism in the intervention group was 0.245 (95% CI: 0.076–0.797) which was significant at p = .019.

Patients who received relational care and subsequently were provided with voluntary contact after treatment recidivated later and at a lower rate than patients from two control groups receiving CAU. Relational care and the voluntary continuation of contact and informal (after)care, which was build up during the treatment period, may bridge the difficult period that patients face when they have left the forensic psychiatric hospital.

Petra Schaftenaar, Ivo van Outheusden, Geert-Jan Stams, Andries Baart

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Volume 60, September–October 2018