Offender Health Research Network (OHRN)

People in contact with the criminal justice system are generally a socially excluded population with multiple health and social care needs. OHRN is a Department of Health funded initiative, and is a collaboration between several universities, based at the University of Manchester. It was established in 2004 to develop a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency network focused on offender health care innovation, evaluation and knowledge dissemination.

The OHRN focuses on health care work streams pertinent to offenders including:

  • mental health
  • primary care
  • public health
  • substance misuse


Our projects include core research, PhD studentships and research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) via competitive tendering programmes. Our portfolio of research focuses on a range of topics, such as:

  • the health and social care needs of people in contact with the criminal justice system
  • screening and identification of health needs and risks
  • pathways of care in the criminal justice system
  • implementing and evaluating novel health services and initiatives to improve the health of offenders

For further details, see: Projects


We disseminate our research findings as freely available OHRN reports, in peer reviewed journals and at national and international conferences. For further details, see: Publications

Informing policy and practice

We support evidence-based practice by producing high-quality research on aspects of offender health. We have also undertaken commissioned work to inform key policy documents, including The Bradley Report, Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system.

Conferences and training

The OHRN regularly holds conferences to disseminate the latest research evidence and bring together the leading authorities in research, policy and clinical practice. We also provide training to develop the skills of front-line prison and healthcare staff, researchers and students. We have developed the Researcher’s Handbook and OHRN toolkit, which outline a clear pathway to successfully undertaking health research in the criminal justice system.

Our people

The OHRN is jointly led by Professor Jenny Shaw (Professor of Forensic Psychiatry) and Dr Jane Senior (Network Manager). For more information about our team of researchers and their research experience, publications and contact details, see: Our people


The latest news about the OHRN can be found on the News Page of the Centre for Mental Health and Safety. To receive our monthly OHRN e-newsletter which includes details of new policy, research and forthcoming events, please see: OHRN website