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The sequencing of interventions with offenders: views of offender managers and supervisors

Zoe Stephenson (University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Jessica Woodhams (University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Leigh Harkins (University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada)

The Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 2050-8794

Article publication date: 22 June 2018

Issue publication date: 7 November 2018




The purpose of this paper is to explore the views and opinions of offender supervisors and offender managers regarding the sequencing of interventions for prisoners in England. More specifically, the research aims to gain an understanding of any barriers to implementing desired practice.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten participants located across four HM prisons in the West Midlands. Questions were designed to gather information and views regarding: current practice in the area of sequencing of interventions; opinions on the potential importance of coherent sequencing of interventions; views on how interventions should be sequenced; and what, if any, issues impacted upon coherent sequencing. Thematic analysis was used to identify, analyse and report themes within the interviews.


Participants discussed current practice regarding the sequencing of interventions and made suggestions regarding tailoring the sequence of interventions to the individual offender. The issue of readiness to change was emphasised (i.e. engagement with interventions will increase where offenders are able to participate in an intervention when they feel ready to do so). In addition, participants commented that they felt there to be insufficient resources at their disposal which led to barriers to the coherent sequencing of interventions (e.g. waiting lists for treatment programmes).

Practical implications

Suggestions were made by participants regarding the coherent sequencing of interventions; for example, providing prisoners with experience of a generic group intervention prior to an offence-specific intervention, prioritising motivation to change and being responsive to the needs of individual offenders.


The study provides insight regarding the sequencing of interventions from the perspective of offender supervisors and offender managers who are involved in the planning of treatment programmes across the course of an offender’s sentence.



Stephenson, Z., Woodhams, J. and Harkins, L. (2018), "The sequencing of interventions with offenders: views of offender managers and supervisors", The Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 257-267.



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