European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg) Featured PhD Programmes
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Bournemouth University Featured PhD Programmes

Suicide prevention in probation: a mixed methods study

Project Description

Project description:
Those involved in the criminal justice system are at increased risk of self-inflicted death. Previous research has largely focused on self-inflicted deaths in prison where both men and women are more likely to die by suicide than their counterparts in the community. However, deaths by suicide of people on probation have been reported as increasing in recent years and research has estimated that they are 8.67 times more likely to die by suicide than people in the general population and 1.42 times more likely to die by suicide than people in prison. Despite this, in comparison to self-inflicted deaths that occur in prison, we know considerably less about this group and it has been argued that little in the way of lesson learning takes place after such a death. Recent research has also highlighted that staff in probation often feel they lack the training and support to deal with mental health and suicide risk amongst people on probation.

This mixed methods project aims to address these gaps in knowledge, developing our understanding of self-inflicted deaths by those on probation and informing how practice can be improved to reduce such deaths. Study one will establish a pilot feasibility study of a national case series of self-inflicted deaths by people on probation. Quantitative data will capture socio-demographic information, offending and clinical history and antecedents to each death. Study two will run concurrently and qualitatively explore the issues of identification, management and prevention with both professionals and people on probation to inform recommendations for practice and a model of training for staff in probation settings.

Training/techniques to be provided:
Each supervisor has expertise on distinct aspects of the project and will provide training in these areas. Dr Wainwright is an experienced applied researcher with extensive knowledge of qualitative and mixed method approaches and will provide training on the qualitative aspect of the research. Professor Shaw is an experienced researcher-clinician with a considerable track record of successfully managing large-scale, multi-site research projects in a variety of criminal justice settings and will offer project and supervision oversight. Dr Flynn has expertise in using quantitative and mixed methods in mental health research.

Entry requirements:
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a First or Upper Second Class Bachelor’s degree (or its international equivalent) and a relevant master’s degree, with Merit and a minimum average grade of 60% in both the taught course units and your dissertation (or international equivalent of 60%). Candidates with a particular interest in Forensic Psychology are encouraged to apply.

For international students we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website (View Website). For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (View Website). On the online application form, select PhD Psychology.

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.


Phillips, J. (2020). What should happen after the death of a probationer? Learning from suicide investigations in prison. Probation Journal.

Phillips, J., Padfield, N., & Gelsthorpe, L. (2018). Suicide and community justice. Health and Justice, 6.

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.