“Built on Respect and Good Honest Communication:” a Study of Partnerships Between Mental Health Providers and Community Corrections

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The prevailing approach to managing persons with criminal histories involves community supervision professionals like probation and parole officers partnering with other mental health providers to address clients’ needs. The relationships between individual professionals are seldom researched, though, and the current study aims to address this deficit in the empirical literature. This study utilized interviews about professionals’ perceptions of their work experiences, analyzed open-endedly to identify major themes. Mental health providers’ themes included appreciation and process of collaboration, individual characteristics and roles, characteristics of collaboration, elements of interprofessional relationships, and involvement of the courts. Community supervision professionals discussed issues pertaining to appreciation and process of collaboration, individual characteristics and roles, when conflict occurs, and the lack of basic knowledge about other professionals. Second, these partnerships were examined in light of interprofessional healthcare competencies. Themes identified here resembled healthcare values and ethics competencies and roles and responsibilities competencies; healthcare competencies regarding interprofessional communication and teamwork showed partial congruence with the current themes. Overall, interprofessional collaboration is valued. This research highlights the strengths of this type of interprofessional collaboration and offers suggestions for improving the efficacy of collaboration.