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Title: Sex offenders and the probation officers who supervise them : how relevant are the strengths-based approaches?
Author: Smith, Andrew
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis explores the supervisory relationship between sex offenders and supervising probation officers, now called offender managers, and whether strengths-based approaches to rehabilitation and risk management can be usefully utilised. The strengths-based approaches considered are: desistance, the Good Lives Model, motivational interviewing, narrative therapy and solution-focused therapy. One-off in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 probation officers and 15 sex offenders, mainly across two probation areas, with one sex offender coming from a third area. A qualitative research approach was taken, with the intention of gaining insight into the subjective experience of officers and sex offenders involved in community supervision. The research is also influenced by positive psychology, focusing on what can be learnt from offenders who, to varying extents, have successfully taken part in probation supervision and have not re-offended. The thesis illustrates how sex offenders face significant challenges in overcoming stigma and establishing a non-offending, pro-social identity and a satisfying lifestyle in the community, twin foci of much strengths-based thinking. Also illustrated is how probation officers' experience significant anxiety about supervising sex offenders in a risk-averse society which renders it problematic to focus on potential strengths rather than on potential dangers. However, it is argued that, despite these difficulties, it is possible for probation officers to employ strengths-based approaches. It is posited that existing risk management systems and cognitive-behaviour groupwork, informed by the Risk, Needs Responsivity Principle, can be valuably augmented by a renewed valuing of the one-to-one therapeutic relationship, a core component of the strengths-based approach.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available