Therapeutic Correctional Relationships: Theory, research and practice, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Therapeutic Correctional Relationships

Theory, research and practice, 1st Edition

By Sarah Lewis


172 pages | 19 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-06-16
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The relationship between offender and criminal justice practitioner has shifted throughout rehabilitative history, whether situated within psychological interventions, prison or probation. This relationship has evolved and adapted over time, but interpersonal processes remain central to offender work. However, little work has critically focused upon the challenging task of developing and sustaining positive relationships with offenders.

This book addresses this gap, providing an in-depth exploration of the processes which underpin correctional relationships within probation. Through an innovative methodology, it examines how practitioners can enhance their practice by understanding how relationships form, deepen and end effectively. For the first time, it draws on the experiences of offenders and practitioners to uncover the darker side to relationships, identifying how they can rupture and break down. From this exploration, it presents alternative ways in which relationships can be repaired and safeguarded within correctional practice. In essence, this book assists practitioners in becoming successful supporters of change.

In an increasingly competitive and politicised climate, this book outlines how political and organisational tensions can impact upon the flow of relationships across the criminal justice system. Uniquely, this book examines how these tensions can be overcome to produce transformative changes. Lewis suggests that therapeutic correctional relationships can thrive within a number of correctional settings and presents the core principles of relational practice and dynamic model of therapeutic correctional relationships to assist in achieving quality and sustainable practice. This book will appeal to criminological and psychological scholars as well as students studying probation and prison practice, offender rehabilitation and desistance.


"Anyone who has worked with involuntary clients appreciates the importance of the professional relationship, but what does it involve? How are relationships established and sustained and what is to be done when things go wrong? Sarah Lewis has written a wise and insightful book, solidly grounded on theory drawn from a range of disciplines and enlivened by the views of practitioners and users of probation services taken from her own original research. With many well-judged reflections on emotion, power and legitimacy, this is an invaluable contribution to effective and ethical practice."

—Rob Canton, Professor in Community and Criminal Justice, De Montfort University

"This book provides important and illuminating insights into the crucial process of facilitating positive change with individuals through therapeutic correctional relationships. The innovative nature of the research study, together with the breadth and depth of the analysis of the findings, makes this a significant and timely contribution to this area."

—Jill Annison, Associate Professor in Criminal Justice Studies, Plymouth University

"Therapeutic Correctional Relationships is a much needed corrective for rehabilitation research. Rather than mysterious talk about offender "treatment," conjuring doctors in white lab coats calibrating precise dosage of moral medicine, Sarah Lewis explores rehabilitation work for what it really is: human relationships. In doing so, we get a much more realistic and even more optimistic vision of what works and how it works in the complicated business of personal transformation. It is just what the doctor ordered!"

—Shadd Maruna, Dean, Rutgers School of Criminal Justice

"Sarah Lewis has captured the essence of the ‘relational revolution’ in corrections with a perfectly pitched blend of scholarly discourse and insightful analysis of both offender and practitioner perspectives. Her qualitative study of the features of the ‘good relationship’ in a correctional context goes much further than others before her and she develops an engaging framework for understanding not just the rhythm and flow of that relationship but the processes that affect it. Importantly, she clarifies that if therapeutic change is to emerge, it will not just fall out of the relationship. It will occur because of the right mixture of skills, qualities and values of practitioners in keeping the relationship on track and repairing ruptures. If you are a correctional professional committed to helping offenders transform their lives, a probation or prison service manager, a volunteer, or even just an interested observer, you need to read this book."

—Frank J. Porporino, Ph.D., T3 Associates Inc. and International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology, Ottawa, Canada

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Retracing Relationships in Criminal Justice 3. Researching Relationships in Correctional Practice 4. Introducing the Dynamic Model of Therapeutic Correctional Relationships 5. The Journeys of Correctional Relationships 6. Relationships and Ruptures: Safeguarding the Therapeutic Correctional Relationship 7. Future Directions: Theory, Training and Practice

About the Author

Sarah Lewis is a Senior Lecturer in Criminal Psychology at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth. Sarah worked for Hampshire Probation Trust and has experience of working and researching in prisons and the community. Sarah’s research interests include: correctional relationships, relational-focused treatment, desistance, prisons and punishment and participatory research.

About the Series

International Series on Desistance and Rehabilitation

In recent years there has been a dramatic growth in the attention given to the end of the criminal career. Prior to the 1980s, research on why people stopped offending and the processes associated with ‘leaving crime behind’ was a small and embryonic field of research. The literature on reform following a period of offending was patchy and did not constitute in any way, shape or form a body of knowledge which could be considered as ‘key’ to the criminological enterprise. This situation has now changed. The study of desistance in particular has now become an important aspect of the criminological enterprise with several UK and European research studies now focussing on this topic. Further afield (in the US and Australia for example, but certainly not limited to these

countries) there are also a number of scholars who are exploring desistance (and by association rehabilitation and reform) and the processes by which these occur amongst particular communities and for key groups of offenders. This is domain of research is therefore fertile ground for the production of a series of monographs.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology