Health and Justice Research Network


The Health and Justice Research Network (HJRN) is a multi-disciplinary network of academics and clinicians, based at the University of Manchester.

Our portfolio of research focuses on:

  • The health and social care needs of people in contact with the criminal justice system.
  • Screening and identification of health needs and risks.
  • Pathways of care in the criminal justice system.
  • Implementing and evaluating novel health services and initiatives to improve the health of people in contact with the criminal justice system.


Our research

We conduct high quality mixed-methodology research across criminal justice and secure mental health settings, both nationally and internationally.

Our current projects concern the following areas:

  • Access to health and social care in the criminal justice system.
  • The nexus between the criminal justice and mental health systems.
  • The children and young people secure estate.
  • Avoidable harms.
  • Violence risk and mental health assessments.
  • Periods of transition e.g. through the prison gate.

We have expertise in mixed methodology research including:

  • Advanced quantitative and qualitative research designs and analyses.
  • Randomised controlled trials.
  • Process evaluation and implementation, feasibility and fidelity assessments, with a particular focus on realist methodology.
  • National cross-sectional prevalence studies using violence risk and mental health assessments.
  • Longitudinal national cohort studies.
  • Advance mixed methodology.
  • Systematic and realist reviews.
Ethical approval process for health research in prison

The HJRN has in the past produced guidance on the various approvals and permissions required to conduct research involving prisoners in England and Wales, and we can assist if you have specific queries relating to applying for ethical approval to undertake prison health research.

Please contact


Our researchers provide evidence-based teaching across undergraduate and postgraduate courses within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health.

Our courses

MSc Forensic Psychology and Mental Health

The network hosts the MSc Forensic Psychology and Mental Health.

This has a unique focus on mental health and is aimed at graduates who want to pursue a career as a Chartered Psychologist and/or register with the Health and Care Professions Council as a Forensic Psychologist.

Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology

We also host the Professional Doctorate in Forensic Psychology.

This equips Registered Forensic Psychologists with a systematic understanding of a substantial body of knowledge in order to produce a contribution to professional knowledge in forensic psychology.

The programme recognises and further enhances a student’s prior grounding in applied research from their professional training (BPS Qualification in Forensic Psychology). 

The programme supports students to develop qualities and transferable skills for applied practice.

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We also contribute to teaching and supervision of research projects on the following courses:

We also contribute to teaching and supervision of research projects on the following courses:

Work with us

Research posts and PhD opportunities are advertised on a regular basis.

PhD opportunities

Our researchers are always happy to talk to prospective students about PhD project ideas.

Find PhD projects and programmes at the following links:


Research team

Find out more about the people working in the HJRN.

Professor Jennifer Shaw

Jenny is Professor of Forensic Psychiatry and a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at Greater Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust.

She is former Clinical Director of Secure Services in Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and has extensive expertise in the assessment and treatment of those admitted to secure psychiatric services, producing regional and national guidance for secure and prison healthcare services.

She leads an internationally renowned patient safety research unit, the Centre for Mental Health and Safety and is academic lead for the HJRN.

View Jennifer’s research profile

Dr Jane Senior

Jane is a Senior Lecturer and Research Manager of the HJRN.

She is a Registered Mental Health Nurse with extensive clinical experience in secure psychiatric services and prison healthcare.

She has a particular interest in the development and delivery of novel service models and has extensive experience in research across the criminal justice system. 

View Jane’s research profile

Dr Charlotte Lennox

Charlotte is a Chartered Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at the HJRN.

She is a highly experienced mixed-methods researcher with expertise in developing and evaluating complex interventions. 

She specialises in youth justice and has a particular interest in the use of realist approaches in process evaluations to inform implementation.  

Charlotte is fully involved in the organisation and delivery of the MSc Forensic Psychology & Mental Health. This includes teaching, supervision, marking, module lead, and academic advisor. She is also the admissions tutor for the course.

View Charlotte’s research profile

Dr Sarah Leonard

Sarah is a Lecturer and a mixed-methods researcher with expertise in managing complex national multi-site projects.  

Sarah’s research focuses on pathways through forensic mental health services, with a particularly emphasis on admission from and return to prison from secure psychiatric services and access to healthcare in the prison estate.

View Sarah’s research profile

Dr Verity Wainwright

Verity is a Forensic Psychology Lecturer and researcher based at the HJRN for the last 10 years.

Her research interests are prison mental health and the management and prevention of self-harm and suicide in the criminal justice system.

View Verity’s research profile

Dr Sandra Flynn

Sandra is a Lecturer and researcher in the field of forensic mental health.

She has contributed extensively to the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health as a Research Fellow.

Her research interests include suicide, familial homicide, homicide-suicide and violence by people with mental illness. Her work centres on improving safety in mental health and criminal justice settings.

View Sandra’s research profile

Dr Katrina Forsyth

Katrina is employed as a Research Fellow within Social Care and Society at the University of Manchester.

She works closely with colleagues at the HJRN across a number of NIHR projects relating to social care and older adults in the criminal justice system.

She has a particular interest in qualitative and realist evaluation methods. 

View Katrina’s research profile

Dr Louise Robinson
Louise is a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at LCSFT and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at University of Manchester. She has extensive clinical and research experience within the criminal justice system.
She is currently leading projects based in prison and in the community.
Dr Kerry Gutridge

Kerry is a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester.

Her research interests include developing and trialling interventions for women and men who self-harm in prison, research on ways to improve criminal justice services for people with mental health difficulties and psychiatric ethics.

Caroline Hendricks

Caroline is a health researcher focusing on the needs of those in contact with the Criminal Justice System.

Having worked as part of the Health and Justice Research Network for the last 12 years, her research interests are release planning for those with mental health problems and prison healthcare services.  

View Caroline’s research profile

Leanne Heathcote

Leanne is a Research Associate currently leading on a project concerning risk assessment and self-harm in prison. She is also involved in a number of projects across the HJRN predominantly around the needs of older prisoners.

She is particularly interested in how research influences policy, and is currently working in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice on the development of an older prisoner strategy. 


Jana Bowden

Jana is a research assistant currently working on projects exploring the forensic mental health pathway, including admission assessments to secure psychiatric services and remittal to prison. Jana Bowden

Her research interests are varied across forensic mental health and include how access to mental health services can be improved.

Nicola Worthington

Nicola is PA to Professor Jennifer Shaw and a Research Administrator.

Current projects

We are currently undertaking a number of large scale projects across the criminal justice and secure settings.

Understanding the scale and nature of avoidable harm in prison healthcare

A mixed-methods study consisting of three project phases: 

  • Nominal group work with stakeholders and analysis of existing incident reports to develop consensus on a definition of avoidable harm in prison healthcare.
  • Case note review of 15,000 patient records from 18 UK prisons, collecting data on possible cases of avoidable harm, to enable estimation of the incidence of avoidable harm in prison healthcare and to quantify, describe and classify the nature and severity of harm.
  • Qualitative interviews with stakeholders to gather perspectives on the nature of avoidable harm, focusing on participants’ experiences of harm in prison healthcare to identify any factors that could reduce the incidence of avoidable harm.

Data from this study will be used to ascertain the scale and nature of avoidable harm in prison healthcare and identify contributing factors which may be addressed to improve patient safety.

Read more about this project

Access assessments for admission to adult medium and low secure services

A mixed-methodology study consisting of three pieces of work:

  • Narrative synthesis of the current evidence base for use of structured professional judgement tools in access assessment.
  • Service evaluation: analysis of routinely collected data and current access assessment documentation across established provider collaboratives.
  • Qualitative interview study of professionals and patients across the access assessment pathway.

Data produced from this study will provide a comprehensive overview of current access assessment practices and an understanding of barriers and facilitators to effective delivery of access assessments.

These findings will be used to develop recommendations to be used nationally.

Read more about this project

A realist process evaluation of liaison and diversion services for children and young yeople

The aim of this research is to articulate the core programme theory of how liaison and diversion services for children and young people is assumed to work via a logic model and then test in a realist process evaluation to see if it works how it is proposed in all seven NHS England regions. 

In phase one we will undertake a rapid realist review to describe how liaison and diversion services for children and young people is assumed to work.

In phase two we will undertake a mixed-methods realist process to understand:

  • What components of liaison and diversion services are being delivered.
  • Whether the components are working and for which children and young people are they working.
  • And for which children and young people they are working (or not) under which circumstances.

Read more about this project


Older adults in the criminal justice system: the development of a national strategy

This study is a collaboration with the Ministry of Justice. It involves:

  • A synthesis of the evidence already published in this field.
  • Realist reviews of areas where there are gaps in research, practice and policy.
  • A series of nominal focus groups with policy, practitioner, third sector and service user informant to home in on ‘what good looks like’.

All data will be triangulated and will directly feed into a national strategy that will provide clear guidance to practitioners and managers to base the development of high quality sustainable and equitable services for older adults in the criminal justice system.

An Evaluation of Secondary Mental Health Treatment Requirements

A critical realist evaluation

Mental health problems are common in people in contact with the criminal justice system who can find it difficult to access and engage with treatment. Mental Health Treatment Requirements (MHTRs) can be added to community sentences in England and Wales as an alternative to short prison sentences. This study aims to evaluate secondary MHTRs at three sites in England (‘proof of concept’ sites), and one site in Wales, by:


1. Developing an MHTR programme theory of how MHTRs work (or do not) that would facilitate understanding of need, barriers to take-up and delivery, and solutions;

2. Identifying a method for the large-scale evaluation of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of secondary MHTRs.

Read more about this project 

Comprehensive Health Assessment Tool (CHAT)

The Comprehensive Health Assessment Tool (CHAT) is a health needs assessment developed by the HJRN.

The CHAT has been implemented across the whole children and young people’s secure estate. It is completed with all children and young people within the first 10 days of their admission.

The impact of CHAT is that health needs are now consistently assessed, CHAT health information moves with the young people within the secure estate and when released.

Young people are only reassessed when clinically required, rather than at every transition point.

This has had direct benefits for the young people, healthcare staff and to the wider NHS.

The CHAT is free to download and available from the University of Manchester Innovation Factory website.

Contact us

If you have a query about the activities of the Health and Justice Research Network, please get in touch.

Media and press enquiries

Mike Addelman (News and Media Relations Officer)
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 2111
Mobile: +44 (0)7717 881567

Other enquiries

Nicola Worthington (Research Administrator)
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 07133