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8th MC & 7th WG Meetings

8th MC & 7th WG Meetings will be held in April, 19-21 in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

  The exact program for the  MC and WG Meetings as well as the Field Trips will be published soon.


Photo credit: Johan Bakker


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Annual Conference – Innovation and New Developments in Forensic Psychiatry

“Innovation and New Developments in Forensic Psychiatry”

will be the theme of the third Annual Conference of the COST Action IS1302

and will be organised in cooperation with USL Centro Toscana in Florence, Italy.


The first confirmed key note speakers are:

Prof. Dr. Robbert-Jan Verkes, MD, PhD, Radboud University Nijmegen (NL)

Dr. Angelo Fioritti, Director of the Department of Mental Health Bologna (IT)

Mr. Mark Kelly, Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission (IHREC) and Committee for Prevention of Torture (CPT) (IE)

Prof. Dr. Birgit Völlm, MD, PhD, University of Nottingham (UK)

Mr. Toon Walravens, De Woenselse Poort (NL)

Ms. Ellen Vorstenbosch (MSc), Sant Joan de Deu Foundation (ES)


FlorencePhoto credit: Ghost of Kuji via Remodel / CC BY


Also, the following working groups will present their latest achievements:

“Determination of Patient Characteristics” – Prof. Dr. Harry Kennedy, University of Dublin (IE)
“Towards Best Practice in Long-term Forensic Psychiatric Care” – Dr. Vivek Furtado, University of Warwick (UK)
“Meeting Patient Needs and Optimizing Quality of Life” – Ms. Gemma Escuder-Romeva, Sant Joan de Deu Hospital (ES)
“Recent EU Developments on Patient and Caregiver/Family Involvement” – Prof. Dr. Franco Scarpa (IT)


The complete program and information about the venue can be found here.

To register please send an email to:

Registration deadline is October, 20th 2016

Please note that your registration is not official till you received a confirmation of the organisers.


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Training School 2016 – Modern forensic in-patient facility design standards

The next upcoming training school for the IS1302 COST Action will primarily focus on how to develop modern forensic in-patient facilities. How society defines its basic ethical principles changes in time, and it is a matter of continual ethical, clinical and legal debate where the line between security and therapy is drawn at any given time. By entering into an open, international discussion with clinicians, architects, policy-makers and medico-legal authorities this training school aims to develop our services to a better standard by focusing on how modern forensic facilities should be designed.

Experts from EU countries will share their experiences of developing (long-stay) forensic units and the challenges associated with it. The three day training school will be held between 21-23 September 2016 and participants can choose to soak into the Finnish culture over the following weekend.


 Photo credit: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho via Source / CC BY

The programme involves lectures, videos, discussions anddebates in small groups. The speakers are international experts in the field of forensic psychiatry and mental health and bring with them a wealth of experience (speakers list). The training school will cover basic, internationally applicable standards for forensic psychiatric facilities and how to integrate concepts of therapy and security.

Please find here a time-table for the 3 day programme.

For further information and application please click here.

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Training School 2016 – Modern forensic in-patient facility design standards

What is the training school about?

Forensic psychiatric care is aimed at improving mental health and reducing the risk of recidivism of mentally disordered offenders, within the least restrictive setting possible and with a view to community reintegration, whilst simultaneously maintaining a secure treatment environment. However, the way the services are defined and governed across Europe differ significantly: some countries have issued detailed criteria for different levels of secure care, whereas in other countries security is much more loosely defined and has essentially developed over time along with clinical practices. Also, different historical factors have dictated that in some countries there are secure units that operate in densely populated urban areas, whereas in some countries forensic facilities have been placed further from the surrounding communities.

The rationale behind developing urban forensic services is that this can provide various forms of rehabilitative stimuli not as easily accessible in a more rural environment. However, issues concerning the safety of both the patients themselves and their environment merit particular planning in a more centrally placed location. Drugs, alcohol and antisocial interaction are all factors to take into consideration. A sensitive balance between providing care and security is vital for a well-functioning urban forensic service. Buildings must be used to facilitate the treatment model and care pathway, and to promote community engagement and recovery. Maintaining a high standard in building materials and continually improving the design of the environment will help to improve outcomes for patients. The building should help to ensure comfortable, secure surroundings for patients many of whom are detained for prolonged periods of time.


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Field Trip – Unitat Hospitalització Psiquiátrica Penitenciària Brians I (UHPP)

The UHPP is the unit of reference for psychiatric patients of the prison population of Catalonia. It provides services to adults suffering from a mental illness who are subject to the closed prison regime. It is a unit with 67 beds divided into three departments with 24-hour emergency care: Acute Unit, Subacute Unit & Rehabilitation Unit.

For more information about the Unitat Hospitalizació Psiquiátrica Penitenciària Brians I (UHPP) click here [in Catalan].

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IS1302 6th MC & 5th WG Meetings Spain

6th MC & 5th WG Meetings will be held in April 20-22 in Barcelona, Spain.

The program for the Field Trip, MC and WG Meetings in Barcelona will be as follows:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2:00pm – 2:30 pm Registration
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm Management Committee Meeting
4:00 pm – 4:30 pm Coffee Break
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Management Committee Meeting
6:00 pm End of First Day
8:00 pm Dinner at Salero (C/ Rec 60, El Born)


Thursday, April 21, 2016

8:30 am – 8:50am Registration
9:30 am – 12:30pm Field Trip to Unidad de Hospitalización Psiquiátrica Penitenciaria de Cataluña (UHPP)
Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Deu presented by Jose Maria Otin Grasa & Vicente Tort
1:00 pm–2:30pm Lunch Break
2:30 pm–2:50pm Update presentation by Working Group 1 followed by discussion Determination of patient characteristics
2:50pm–3:10pm Update presentation by Working Group 2 followed by discussion Best practice in long-term forensic psychiatric care
3:10 pm – 3:30 pm Update presentation by Working Group 3 followed by discussion Meeting patient needs and optimizing quality of life
3:30 pm – 3:50 pm Update presentation by Patient Involvement Coordinator followed by discussion Patient and Carer Involvement
3:50 pm – 4:20 pm Coffee Break
4:20 pm – 6:00 pm WG 1 Meeting WG2 Meeting WG3 Meeting
6:00 pm End of Second Day
8:00 pm Dinner at Roma Reial (Plaça Reial 11, Gòtic)


Friday, April 22, 2016

9:00am – 9: 15 am Registration
9:15am – 10:00 am Alternatives Penal Measures – the “Catalan Model” presented by Marc Cerón – Deputy Director General for Probation and Restorative Justice in Catalonia
10:00am – 11:15 am Changes of institutionalised mental health care – findings and methodological challenges presented by Professor Stefan Priebe – Queen Mary, University London
11:15am – 11:45 am Coffee Break
11:45am – 12:45pm WG1 Meeting WG2 Meeting WG3 Meeting
12:45pm – 2:00 pm Report from WGs and Final Management Committee Meeting
2:00 pm End of Meeting


For more practical information about the venue, transport and lodging please click here.

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Restrictiveness in long-term forensic psychiatric care – report of a STSM in the Netherlands

Written by Jack Tomlin – PhD student at Nottingham University

This STSM was undertaken with the aim of developing over the coming years a tool to measure restrictiveness in (long-term) forensic psychiatric care. In December of 2015, I was fortunate enough to receive COST Action funding to undertake an STSM in the Netherlands and I welcomed gladly the opportunity to visit several Dutch forensic institutions and the Expertisecentrum Forensische Psychiatrie.

The ‘Dutch approach’ seems to have become quite en mode in discussions of forensic psychiatric care in the UK. I recently attended an end of project conference on Long-term forensic psychiatric care (LFPC) wherein comparisons of British and Dutch secure settings provoked fruitful discussion. Typically, the Dutch are seen as being less restrictive, more liberal and QoL-focused in their care approach than the British. This is evidenced most strongly in patients’ rights of sexual expression. In the UK, although not codified in any national policy, sexual relationships between patients are prohibited – in the Netherlands, this is not the case. Indeed, a week prior to my arrival in December, two individuals; one from a secure care ward in Nijmegen, another from the long-stay centre in Zeeland, wed in the latter’s chapel.


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Ward climate and (long term) forensic care

(How and why) should ward climate differ between forensic facilities?

Written by Meike de Vries, Researcher: Pompestichting, The Netherlands

Ward climate is an important factor within the treatment of inpatients in secure settings. Ward climate can be seen as a multifactorial construct including the material, social, and emotional conditions of a given ward and the interaction between these factors (Moos, 1989). In several studies, climate is found to play a role in therapeutic outcomes and regarded as an aspect of program responsivity that enhances treatment effects. Within high secure forensic hospitals establishing and maintaining an optimal climate is an important, but also a very challenging task due to the complex patient population and setting which incorporates both therapeutic- and security goals.


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Training School – Long Stay in Forensic Psychiatric Services

The next training school for the ISCH1302 COST will primarily focus on best practice within long-term forensic psychiatric care in Europe. Experts from the UK and other EU countries will share their experiences of working in long-stay units and the challenges associated with working in such units. The three day training school will be held between 2-4 September 2015 and participants can choose to soak into the varied culture over the following weekend. Day 1 of the school will comprise of best practice in long stay units, day 2 will focus on the challenges in conducting EU wide research, especially with a niche clinical group of individuals and the final day will provide an opportunity to form networks, indulge in case studies and apply knowledge gained over the first two days. The training school will also involve a visit to secure forensic services including both medium and low secure units. This will enable participants from other EU countries to compare it with systems within their own countries.





The training school will be held at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. The University of Warwick has been ranked as the 3rd fastest-rising young university in the world and has a stunningly beautiful campus. For further information and applications please click here.

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