The good lives model and conceptual issues in offender rehabilitation
There has been a profound shift in attitudes toward offender rehabilitation in the last two decades from a conviction that nothing works to the confident announcement that certain kinds of treatment strategies reliably reduce reoffending rates. The treatment approach currently dominant in the corrections area is the risk-need model where dynamic risk factors associated with recidivism are systematically targeted in treatment and the intensity (i.e. dose) of treatment delivered is related to each offender's assessed level of risk. It is our view that despite the undoubted virtues of the risk-need model there are a number of important conceptual issues that are not adequately addressed by this approach. In this paper we consider four such issues: the importance of adopting a positive approach to treatment; the relationship between risk management and good lives; causal preconditions of therapy; and the impact of therapists' attitudes toward offenders. We propose that the Good Lives Model (GLM) of offender rehabilitation has the conceptual resources to resolve the above issues in a constructive and fruitful manner. We outline each issue in turn and discuss the capacity of the GLM to deal with these problems in a way that is clinically useful and theoretically coherent.
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