Co‐production has begun to make inroads into research, policy, and practice in mental health and addictions. Little is known, however, about the role co‐production has or could have in shaping how the criminal justice system responds to mental health and addictions. Given that a large majority of prisoners in Aotearoa New Zealand have been diagnosed with either a mental health or substance use disorder within their lifetime, it is imperative alternative approaches are considered if we are to reduce the high imprisonment rates and contribute positively to health, safety, and well‐being of all New Zealanders. In this study, we explore how co‐production has been conceptualized and used in criminal justice systems internationally, and offer an experiential account of our first steps into co‐production both in service delivery and research. We conclude by proposing a way forward to expand partnerships between those who have experience‐based expertise and researchers within the criminal justice context, offering a small‐ and large‐scale project as potential examples of what co‐production may look like in this space.
Katey Thom PhD, Dave Burnside Dip Hsc
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 17 April 2018