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Social cognition is a prominent feature of explanations of crime, particularly violent crime. This paper aims to report a study that compared several aspects of the social cognition of convicted violent and non‐violent offenders.
Measures of social cognition were administered to 156 offenders, classified as violent and non‐violent according to index offence.
Analysis showed few significant differences between the violent and non‐violent offenders, although differences in thinking styles and social problem solving strategies were evident between high‐risk and low‐risk violent offenders.
The differences between high‐risk and lower risk violent offenders suggests that not all violent offenders function at the same level and so more precision is required in classifying offenders.
The current study is an exploratory study examining the relationship between the abuse histories of 89 sexual offenders and the constructs of locus of control, sexual…
The current study is an exploratory study examining the relationship between the abuse histories of 89 sexual offenders and the constructs of locus of control, sexual attitudes, general empathy, and denial. Of the 89 offenders, 14.6% were sexually abused, 13.5% physically abused, and 9% both sexually and physically abused, with 61.5% having no abuse history. Analyses indicated that motivation to change was higher for abused versus non‐abused offenders, and that those who were sexually abused had significantly more cognitive distortions about children than those who experienced physical abuse. Although no differences emerged in locus of control scores, our findings indicated that physically abused offenders were more able to take on the perspective of others than those who have not experienced physical abuse. The findings provide several avenues to pursue in examining the longstanding effects of abuse in the thinking and cognitions of sexual offenders.
Sex offenders who refuse a place on a sex offender treatment programme are estimated to make up about half the prison sex offender population in England and Wales. It is…
Sex offenders who refuse a place on a sex offender treatment programme are estimated to make up about half the prison sex offender population in England and Wales. It is important to motivate refusers to participate in treatment to reduce the likelihood of their re‐offending. In this pilot study we used the Personal Concerns Inventory‐Offender Adaptation (PCI‐OA), a semi‐structured motivational assessment, further adapting it for treatment refusers. We examined the effectiveness of the PCI‐OA (TR) with nine prisoners who had refused sex offender treatment (the treatment group) compared with nine refusers who received no intervention (the control group). The treatment group were at least 0.6 times as likely to show a positive motivational shift towards sex offender treatment as the untreated group. The practice implications of these results are discussed, and further evaluation of the PCI‐OA (TR) is recommended.
This article seeks to explore the historical context of government policy in relation to mentally disordered offenders. The article will relate this context to the work of…
This article seeks to explore the historical context of government policy in relation to mentally disordered offenders. The article will relate this context to the work of the Probation Service, in particular the development of the Offender Management System (OASys), risk assessment and the implications and challenges that face the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). The key question to be assessed is whether NOMS and OASys can lead to a better service for those with mental disorder, and therefore reduce their risk.
This study explored the attitudes of prison officers, forensic staff and members of the public towards and male and female sex offenders. Participants were provided with a…
This study explored the attitudes of prison officers, forensic staff and members of the public towards and male and female sex offenders. Participants were provided with a vignette depicting a specific sexual offence committed against either an adult or a child, by either a male or a female perpetrator, and were then asked to complete a scale assessing attitudes to sex offenders based on the offender depicted in the vignette. Forensic staff emerged as having the most positive attitudes to sex offenders, viewing them as individuals who could be rehabilitated. Prison officers emerged as having the most negative attitudes, in that they were supportive of harsh and untrusting attitudes. Overall, females emerged as viewing sex offenders in more positive terms, whereas males were more supportive of harsh attitudes to sex offenders. Respondents did not have a more negative attitude to female sex offenders than to male sex offenders.
Young offenders are disproportionately represented in the Irish Prison Service (IPS) and are a population with complex needs and highest risk of re-offending. Subsets of…
Young offenders are disproportionately represented in the Irish Prison Service (IPS) and are a population with complex needs and highest risk of re-offending. Subsets of young offenders in IPS are placed on Protection for their own and/or other’s safety. There is limited research regarding the experiences of young offenders, and there is none on the subjective experiences of young offenders on Protection that could be identified. This study aims to address a limitation of a previous study on the experiences of young offenders in an Irish prison (Hughes et al., 2017) by providing insight into experiences of young offenders on Protection in Mountjoy Prison.
Using a non-experimental, qualitative, semi-structured interview design, a purposive sampling method was used, and six young offenders participated. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim with potentially identifiable information removed to ensure anonymity. An interpretative phenomenological analysis was applied to interpret the data.
Two superordinate themes provided an overview of the young offender’s experiences of Protection in an Irish prison: ‘Social Order on Protection’ and ‘Adjustment on Protection’.
Even though it is a relatively small sample size, this study contributes to existing literature and considers sentence management and clinical implications.
This study helps to address a gap in literature by providing insight into the overall experiences of young male offenders (aged 18–21) on Protection in an Irish prison. The findings are in line with most researches, which highlight additional negative consequences of “restrictive prisons regimes” such as Protection. This study provides information to prisons for the development of best practice guidelines and better sentence management and delivery of services to young offenders on Protection.
This chapter aims to demonstrate that the fundamental human rights principle that no one should be subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment should be interpreted…
This chapter aims to demonstrate that the fundamental human rights principle that no one should be subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment should be interpreted to take into account terminal illness of the offender. It should be applied both during imposition of the sentences and also during execution of already imposed sentences.
In order to reveal whether this principle takes into account serious medical conditions, including terminal illness of the offender in the calculus of the proportionality of punishment and whether it is applicable at the execution stage of sentences, this chapter examined the roots of the fundamental human rights principle of proportionality of punishment by briefly surveying the penal theory, jurisprudence, court cases, laws, and legislative history from the U.S. federal and state jurisdictions and from Europe.
There is a consensus among surveyed theories that terminal illness of the offender is an element of the principle of proportionality of punishment. Thus the fundamental human rights principle must be interpreted to take it into account. The principle should be observed not only at the imposition stage, but also at the execution stage of already imposed sentences.
This chapter re-examines the roots of the fundamental human right to not being subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment. It does so in order to demonstrate that the right should be interpreted to take into account terminal illness of the offender and that it should be observed not only at the imposition stage, but also at the execution stage of already imposed sentences.
Purpose – To develop a new model of restorative reparation that attempts to capture the dynamic role of shared identity perceptions.Design/methodology/approach – Drawing…
Purpose – To develop a new model of restorative reparation that attempts to capture the dynamic role of shared identity perceptions.
Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on recent advances in restorative justice theory (Wenzel, Okimoto, Feather, & Platow, 2008), we explore the theoretical proposition that a greater understanding of the identity relations between victims, offenders, and the groups in which they are embedded is key to understanding a victim's underlying motives toward justice, and thus, predicting when victims will react favorably to restorative justice processes and prefer them over traditional retributive justice interventions.
Findings – We argue that a perceived shared identity between the victim and the offender determines the extent to which the victim understands the transgression as requiring a revalidation of the rules, values, or morals undermined by the offense. Moreover, we propose that these identity relations are dynamic in that they both affect and are affected by the experience of injustice. Thus, identity is also shaped by the transgression itself through, inter alia, processes associated with positive social identity maintenance. Importantly, these shifts in identity determine how injustice victims are likely to respond to constructive approaches to conflict resolution such as restorative justice.
Originality/value – We offer a series of testable hypotheses aimed at engendering future research in the domain of constructive justice restoration in groups. Moreover, this work suggests that to develop effective resolution strategies, we must consider how an injustice event shapes the relations between the affected parties over time rather than simply assuming identity relations are static.
This chapter looks at the role qualitative evaluation can play in the external review of the Probation Service, the development of an evaluation framework for ongoing assessment and how it can be used to develop new elements of the service. How is this different from the use of existing data by the service?
This takes us to the kind of information that is used by the probation service, to make judgements about the effectiveness of its programmes and the impact on offenders. The main contention is that this is in the main quantitative data, and reports on levels of re-offending. The data is standardised so that it can be used to make comparisons between different types of sentence and criminal justice intervention.
Our contention is that this information is limited in what it says for two main reasons. Firstly, quantitative data tends to report on impact, that is whether an offender has committed another crime after engagement with the probation service, or whether there are patterns of behaviour between offences, individual circumstances and the likelihood or re-offending. In short, the data is a snapshot of whether an offender has changed his or her behaviour or not. However, this chapter will illustrate how quantitative data misses an understanding of how behaviour changes and why behaviour does not change. As a result, this leaves the service with a limited understanding of how it is working.
Secondly, the chapter will argue that the existing probation framework itself creates quite specific definitions of which data is relevant and which data is not relevant. We will give examples of narratives that offenders offer in group sessions that provide rich material about their lives, pressures and offence. But evidence suggests that this information is not used to inform programmes, re-assess and review an offender's own progression towards re-offending or a life without crime.