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A Journey Beyond the Bars: Participants' Experiences of Psychological Treatment in a Prison Setting

This study explored the experiences of high-risk male offenders at varying stages of a prison-based residential rehabilitation programme. Information was elicited by means of 1:1 semi-structured interviews with three adult offenders: one programme completer, one approaching completion and one non-completer. The opinions of three members of unit staff (two programme facilitators and one custodial officer) were also included. Having identified a lack of process-focused qualitative research in the criminological literature, this thesis has attempted to provide an insight into the lived experiences of offenders undergoing a residential rehabilitative intervention. The results are presented through a combined postmodernist, social constructionist discourse. They identify a series of coherent themes which emphasise the importance of numerous contextual, linguistic and communicative variables in dictating the participants’ self-perspectives and engagement with treatment. I will examine in particular, the role of motivation, the importance of the therapeutic bond established between participants and therapists, the relevance of the therapeutic environment, and the impact of both bi-cultural therapy and notions of individual stigmatisation. The overall findings are related to the broader penological literature in order to inspire further experiential analyses of offenders undergoing treatment, and to offer points for consideration in the application of prison-based rehabilitative interventions.
Type of thesis
Terrill, D. J. (2010). A Journey Beyond the Bars: Participants’ Experiences of Psychological Treatment in a Prison Setting (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5371
University of Waikato
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