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Four units established in England for individuals with dangerous severe personality disorder differ significantly in their treatment regimes. Their distribution and relationship to risk are unknown. In this study, a modified Delphi process identified the treatments and allocated them to 11 mutually exclusive categories. Attendance at treatments was obtained from records, and these were compared to annual assessments of risk. Of 150 proposed treatments, 50 were allocated to the 11 categories. Only two treatment categories were provided in all units. Specified psychological treatment programmes occupied an average of less than 2 h a week, and 10% of patients had no treatment in each year. Reduction in risk was significantly associated with total hours of treatment received. A rigorous rationalisation of the treatments is needed to permit a robust evaluation of their effectiveness. Further research is needed to determine whether reductions in risk reflect reoffending rates. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology

Publication Date





411 - 426