Skip to content


Harm Prevention in a Prison Environment

Unit(s) of assessment: Social Work and Social Policy

Research theme: Safety and Security of Citizens and Society

School: School of Social Sciences


Unsafe prisons and limited understanding

Suicide, self-harm and violence in prison are major international concerns. In the UK, rates have doubled over the last six years, and understanding of how best to intervene and manage these risks is limited.

Addressing the Challenge

Understanding "duel harm"

Research at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), based on internationally relevant theoretical models, has investigated the reasons why people self-harm and / or are violent in prison. NTU is leading the way on understanding offenders who “dual harm” – harm both themselves and others – in order to improve identification, assessment and harm prevention.


The research is led by Dr Karen Slade, associate professor and practicing forensic psychologist specialising in offender harm.

The research involves collaborators from:

  • HM Prison and Probation Service
  • Samaritans

Making a Difference

Making prison a safer place for all

Dr Slade provides training and consultancy to professionals in assessment practice, with the research having been integrated into specialist assessment processes and national training guidance. The research will aid the reduction of serious and potentially fatal harm to both prisoners and staff in prison.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

The Harm Prevention in a Prison Environment Project submitted an impact case study to REF 2021. Discover the real-world impact of their research.