This book provides a comprehensive and up-to-date review of the relationship between psychology, moral reasoning theory and offending behaviour. It sets out the theory and research which has been carried out in the field, and examines the ways in which this knowledge has been used in practice to inform treatment programmes for offenders. This book pays particular attention to Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoning, providing a link between this theory and developmental psychology, along with a review of more recent critiques of this theory and an analysis of the difficulties of accurately assessing moral reasoning. The book goes on to assess moral reasoning as an explanation of offending behaviour, looking at how moral reasoning interacts with child rearing and family factors, social factors and social cognition. Offending is therefore presented as a complex phenomenon caused by an interaction of variables that are internal and external to the individual. The book concludes with a consideration of how knowledge and research in the area of moral reasoning and offending has been used in practice to inform treatment programmes for offenders, looking at a variety of different settings (prison, residential settings, and in the community).
Introduction 1. Setting the context: theories of offending behaviour 2. Theories of moral reasoning 1: Piaget and Kohlberg 3. Theories of moral reasoning 2: critiques of Kohlberg's theory 4. The measurement of moral reasoning 5. Moral reasoning and offending: theory and research 6. Placing moral reasoning in a wider explanation of offending 7. Interventions: implications for practice 8 What next: the future for research and practice