Call for papers: Lightening Dark Places: Exploring Forensic Mental Health and Treatment

Special Edition of The Journal of Psychosocial Studies

The entwinement of issues of criminal justice and mental health is long and deep.  It is hardly controversial to observe that psychiatric concepts have always been shaped by concerns with control and security alongside those of care. Figures on rates of mental distress, suicide and self-harm amongst the prison population, the growing use of detainment under the Mental Health Act, and the well-known roots of ‘criminality’ in lives of trauma and deprivation are solid enough evidence of the significant shared territory of mental health and criminal justice. We are seeking to explore this contested terrain of ‘forensic mental health’, paying particular attention to the painful and iatrogenic processes that can exist even amongst those services that aim to help.

We are seeking contributions that might take a psychosocial lens to the prison system, probation system, the courts, policing, and psychiatric liaison work. We are also interested in throwing light on how issues of distress, diagnosis, trauma and control are handled in what appears to be a growing area of mental health delivery that might include PICUs, 136 suites, self-declared ‘personality disorder’ services, out of area ‘placements’ and the systems of surveillance and control operationalised in everyday mental, or other, health settings.

We are interested in hearing from those with those with lived experience of working, living and being detained within these systems. We are also interested research and reflection including global, feminist, intersectional and abolitionist perspectives.

Particular topics that might need further attention are (for example):

  • Institutional racism, racial identity, mental health and criminal justice
  • Perspectives on probation and/or other community based forensic provision
  • Lived experience perspectives
  • Gender, sexuality, detainment and mental health settings
  • Good practices that seek to alleviate distress
  • Issue of surveillance and segregation

We can publish both formal research papers (that would need to be written in the expected style and sent out for independent review) and open space articles (less formal articles, that might be based on personal experiences and reflection that might take the form of prose, poetry, visual art).

Details are here:

 Interested contributors should:  

Send an abstract of around 500 words to  by  Friday 31st May  2024. Please make it clear which type of paper you hope to submit.  You will be informed within one month of receipt whether we invite the full submission.  Interested contributors are welcome to contact us with queries.

Special Edition Editors

Anne Aiyegbusi:  Institute of Group Analysis

David W Jones: Open University, UK (

 David Kaposi:

Jo Lomani Survivor researcher (



There are more details about the journal here:

David Jones
Author: David Jones