Offender Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Communities: Enabling Change the TC way

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Routledge, Nov 12, 2012 - Social Science - 240 pages
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Offender rehabilitation has become increasingly and almost exclusively associated with structured cognitive-behavioural programmes. For fifty years, however, a small number of English prisons have promoted an alternative method of rehabilitation: the democratic therapeutic community (TC). These prisons offer long-term prisoners convicted of serious offences the opportunity to undertake group psychotherapy within an overtly supportive and esteem-enhancing living environment.

Drawing upon original research conducted with ‘residents’ (prisoners) and staff at three TC prisons, Offender Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Communities provides a uniquely evocative and engaging portrayal of the TC regime. Individual chapters focus on residents’ adaptation to ‘the TC way’ of rehabilitation and imprisonment; the development of caring relationships between community members; residents’ contributions towards the safe and efficient running of their community; and the greater assimilation of sexual offenders within TCs for men, made possible in part by a lessening in ‘hypermasculinity’.

By analyzing residents’ own accounts of ‘desistance in process’ in the TC, this book argues that TCs help offenders to change by enabling positive developments to their personal identity and self-narratives: to the ways in which they see themselves and their life. The radically ‘different’ penal environment allows its residents to become someone ‘different’.


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offender rehabilitation and therapeutic communities
1 Therapeutic communities and prisons
tightrope walks and emotion work
commencing change the TC way
4 Care trust and support
5 Responsibility accountability and safety
6 Vulnerability unmasking and deothering
7 Pursuing change the TC way and beyond

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About the author (2012)

Alisa Stevens is Lecturer in Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Kent. Her main areas of research interest are the correctional services (prisons and probation), offender rehabilitation, and desistance from crime.

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