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Title: Alcohol misuse and coercive treatment : exploring offenders' experiences within a dialogical framework
Author: Ashby, Joanne Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 3559
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2011
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In the UK there has been growing concern about the relationship between levels of alcohol consumption and offending behaviour. The Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR) was introduced to the UK in 2007 and was piloted in a District in the north of England in July 2007. The ATR is a coercive form of treatment delivered jointly by the probation service and the National Health Service (NHS) and was funded by the NHS. The ATR centres on supporting offenders to cease their offending behaviour and reduce or end their alcohol misuse. Two female alcohol treatment workers have been appointed to specifically deliver the ATR. Therefore this study aimed to investigate the delivery of the ATR, and more specifically, aimed to explore what impact the ATR might have in relation to positive behaviour change and rehabilitation for offenders with alcohol problems. In order to meet the expectations of producing 'outcome' data for the NHS funders, and indepth theoretical data worthy of an academic PhD, this research took a pragmatic methodological approach which enabled different social realities of the ATR to be explored. To this end, a mixed methods design was employed involving quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. The data for this research was generated in three phases with Phase One aiming to explore quantitatively the characteristics, impacts and outcomes of those sentenced to the ATR. This phase revealed that the ATR is being delivered to predominantly young, male, alcohol dependent, violent, persistent offenders. This analysis further revealed that the ATR was effective in bringing about positive treatment outcomes and in reducing reoffending. In order to explore further how this positive change was occurring, Phase Two consisted of qualitative participant observations of the treatment interaction involving the female alcohol treatment workers and the male offenders. By drawing on positioning theory, the analysis considered the complexity of the gendered interactions that occurred during these encounters. It was found that the two female alcohol treatment workers resisted positions of 'feminine carer' offered up by these young men in order to occupy positions of control. Indeed this analysis provided great insight into the constant flow of negotiations and manoeuvring of positions that occurred between the alcohol treatment worker and the offender, argued to be vitally important in working towards positive behaviour change. During Phase Three ten offenders were interviewed in order to explore through a dialogical lens (Bakhtin, 1982) how they constructed and experienced treatment on the ATR. In exploring the offenders' stories dialogically, the analysis highlighted how the ATR was enabling, in that it offered a 'space' for these offenders to engage and internalise a dialogue that draws on the authoritative voice of therapy. Therefore it was revealed that through dialogue with the 'other', offenders were able to re-author a more 'moral' and 'worthy' self. Moreover, the ATR has been found to be successful in enabling the offenders' hegemonic masculine identities to be both challenged and protected as a result of the multilayered interactions that occurred during these treatment encounters. This research therefore concludes that coercive treatment, rather than being a concern, should be embraced as a way of enabling change for offenders with alcohol problems. Furthermore, this research has highlighted the value of the relational aspect of treatment in bringing about positive behaviour changes. Finally this research has shown that community sentences offer a more constructive way of engaging with offenders than those who receive a custodial sentence.
Supervisor: Horrocks, Christine ; Kelly, Nancy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Alcohol misuse ; Alcohol consumption ; Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR) ; National Health Service (NHS) ; Persistent offenders ; Alcohol dependent offenders ; Treatment outcomes