Monthly Archives: September 2010

“Let “Her” Have it”!

(Post author Mark Jukes from BCU LD team*) 

Death row inmate Teresa Lewis is pictured in this undated photograph, September 23, 2010. Lewis, who is convicted in the October 2002 hired killings of her husband and stepson, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Thursday, September 23, and would be the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly 100 years. UPI/ Photo via Newscom

Does this quote ring any bells?

Well, to some of us familiar will remember this was the famous alleged line (although it was “Let Him Have It”), from Derek Bentley which sealed his fate at the gallows in 1953 for shooting a policeman.

Teresa Lewis died early today after being given a lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Centre.

The first woman to be executed in Virginia since 1912,and the first in the USA for 5 years,and a woman who had a borderline mental retardation (USA terminology),with an IQ of 72 and additionally diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder.

In the UK, the sentence handed down to Derek Bentley in 1953 produced outrage over his execution, although he was labelled as being illiterate and of low intelligence – he wasn’t deemed as being “Feeble-minded” under the then Mental Deficiency Act. He was granted a Royal Pardon in respect of the sentence of death,and in 1998,the Court of Appeal quashed Bentley’s conviction for murder.

1. In an EU protest,the ambassador to the US wrote: “We consider the execution of people with mental disorders of all types is contrary to minimum standards of human rights”.

2. Contemporary opinion does not seem to learn from cases such as Bentley where the issue of Capacity and Aquiesence to crime is particularly of note with people who have learning disabilities.

Instead we have politicians who refuse to budge on giving a reprieve to what the rest of us consider as “unsafe” convictions.

In my opinion this flies in the face of human rights and ignores this womans vulnerabilities in the cause of ‘justice’ – I deplore this.

JARRATT, VA - NOVEMBER 10:  A correctional officer directs a driver outside the Greensville Correctional Center November 10, 2009 near Jarratt, Virginia. Condemned DC sniper John Allen Muhammad is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 9 p.m. at the center for the shooting death of Dean Harold Meyers at a gas station in the Manassas area of Virginia on October 9, 2002.   (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)




(* Sorry – ongoing tech problems prevent me labelling the post author correctly)

Universities, the new motorists?

woman in car

Everyone knows that successive governments have plundered the pockets of motorists to swell the National coffers. They know that we will not give up our cars to use overpriced, dirty and unreliable public transport.

It now seems that if something becomes a priority to people and high on their wish list then that too can become a valuable source of income. Higher education has become something which all people are beginning to realise will improve not only the lives of the individual but of society as a whole.

What was once considered the province of the upper and middle classes has become widely available to all. This importance placed on education by the people has opened it up to charges. Not only has public funding for Universities been plundered but now Vince Cable, the Business secretary, has come up with an even better cash cow. Let’s tax Graduates forever. Well, maybe not but it could seem like it. We can also means test them to ensure we get the most out of the process. Not only will this force higher education facilities to increase their bureaucracy to manage tax collection but will also increase the number of civil servants required.

Isn’t it about time that the value of higher education to the country was realised and the country properly funded it?

LONDON - OCTOBER 29:  A student takes part in a demonstration to protest over higher tuition fees on October 29, 2006 in London, England. Students are calling on the British government to reform the new student finance policy. Students who started degree courses in September 2006 will have to pay up to GBP3,000 a year towards their tuition costs.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Personalisation: Where are we going?

This post is by Mark Jukes Reader in Learning Disabilities at BCU – (technical problems are getting in the way of my being able to credit him properly)

In mental health and learning disability nursing what does Personalisation mean and what impact does this new wave of ideology and policy have on nurses? 

In the context of mental health and learning disability services, Personalisation accommodates mental health promotion and maintenance: having choice and control over one’s life contributes to well-being. Personalisation is about meeting the needs of individuals in ways that work best for them,(Carr, 2008)

In specialist mental health and learning disability nursing there appears to be a number of competing paradigms in terms of how our clients are perceived.  For those nurses who suscribe to a psychodynamic/behavioural school of practice how does personalisation fit, when after all, Carl Rogers has influenced person-centred practice?

So if determinism is part of your frame of reference for therapeutic relationships, where does the concept of freedom of choice feature in the eyes of mental health and learning disability nurses, who are required to promote individualism,where a full range of psychosocial interventions can be delivered?

Skills need to be developed by professionals so that genuine person-centred assessments incorporating the person’s own view of their needs become the norm.


a father and son sit on the floor and talk

Supplementary prescribing is another area where in developing clinical management plans – concordance of medication is strongly advised from such prescribers, but where the client may see things differently in terms of personal choice and not wishing to endure adverse side effects!

Additionally, how can we apply the concept of person-centred practice across secure settings, in prisons and young offenders institutions? where a balance is required to be achieved between order and freewill. There are particular concerns about the management of risk in certain situations for people choosing to opt for a personal budget,(Spandler,2007).

In communities, individuals who attain either individual or shared tenancies and therefore become tenants not clients in residential care – how do we safeguard against vulnerabilities where the evidence clearly identifies hate crime on the increase for individuals who are vulnerable,yet perceived by society as having equal status and rights when living independently?

I suggest we need to take seriously the fact that personalisation is now in the mainstream and as mental health and learning disability nurses. As a Profession we need to decide how best to move forward with our clients whilst developing new ways of working  across agencies (such as housing consortias) whilst remaining responsive to possible negative effects on clients in a variety of situations and environments.


Carr S (2008) “Personalisation: a rough guide” SCIE,

Spandler H (2007) Individualised Funding,social inclusion & the politics of mental health.Journal of Critical Psychological Counselling,7 (1): 18-27.