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How do drug-involved incarcerated and recently released offenders and correctional treatment staff perceive treatment? A qualitative study on treatment needs and motivation in Belgian prisons

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The research seeks to identify the most common problem areas and associated treatment needs of incarcerated and recently released offenders, to determine the importance of prison-based treatment and to assess the motivation of offenders towards treatment. Interviews were scheduled with representatives of three participant categories: drug-involved incarcerated offenders ( n =18), recently released prisoners ( n =15) and treatment staff members ( n =18), resulting in 1971 statements. Using the qualitative software package WinMAX98, these expressions were categorized in a tree structure, after a codification process of the raw material. The results suggest that there is a difference in opinion between offenders and service providers with regard to the most important problems related to incarceration and re-entry. The findings further indicate that released offenders struggle more often than incarcerated offenders with problems concerning their psychological status. Therefore, the need for continuous through-care and aftercare is apparent, as is the necessity to assess the participants' support expectancies and their individual needs. Motivating offenders to take part in (prison-based) treatment initiatives and aftercare is a major challenge, which can be accomplished by cooperation and partnerships between the criminal justice system and community-based treatment providers.

Keywords: Offender rehabilitation; correctional establishments; drug-involved offenders; prison; treatment needs

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Ghent University, Department of Orthopedagogics, H. Dunantlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium & Hogeschool Gent, Department of Social and Community Work (SOAG), Voskenslaan 362, B-9000, Ghent, Belgium 2: Ghent University, Department of Psychoanalysis & Clinical Consulting, H. Dunantlaan 2, B-9000, Ghent, Belgium

Publication date: June 1, 2006


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