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Evaluating a forensic service for people with learning disabilities: comparing approaches

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date06/2001
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disabilities
Number of pages13
Original languageEnglish


This article reports on an evaluation of a new type of forensic learning disability service that is community based. Two evaluative approaches were used to identify, if any, the differences between reported quality of life experienced at a medium secure unit located in a large institutional setting with a community based one. A quality of life (QOL) questionnaire was administered pre-and post-move to all residents. The results from the quantitative aspect of this study indicated little change in QOL scores over time. Residents were also interviewed informally after their move as part of the evaluation. The interviews revealed many differences in people's lives since the move. Some of the reported strengths were: more frequent family and community contact, quality of house facilities, staff and atmosphere. Weaknesses included: restrictions on free time, lack of contact with people at the previous institution and a relatively limited range of activities. This information will contribute to the ongoing development of this new community based service, and will contribute to future planning of similar services. The authors stress the importance of subjective, qualitative accounts in service evaluation.