Rehabilitation: Beyond the Risk Paradigm

Rehabilitation: Beyond the Risk Paradigm

Rehabilitation: Beyond the Risk Paradigm

Rehabilitation: Beyond the Risk Paradigm


Over the last two decades, empirical evidence has increasingly supported the view that it is possible to reduce re-offending rates by rehabilitating offenders rather than simply punishing them. In fact, the pendulum's swing back from a pure punishment model to a rehabilitation model is arguably one of the most significant events in modern correctional policy. This comprehensive review argues that rehabilitation should focus both on promoting human goods (i.e. providing the offender with the essential ingredients for a 'good' life), as well as reducing/avoiding risk.

Offering a succinct summary and critique of the scientific approach to offender rehabilitation, this intriguing volume for students of criminology, sociology and clinical psychology gives a comprehensive evaluation of both the Risk-Need Model and the Good Lives Model.

Rehabilitation is a value-laden process involving a delicate balance of the needs and desires of clinicians, clients, the State and the public. Written by two international leading academics in rehabilitation research, this book argues that intervention with offenders is not simply a matter of implementing the best therapeutic technology and leaving political and social debate to politicians and policy makers.


No one but an academic simpleton will even use the word
“rehabilitation” without apprehension.

Richard Korn (1992, p. 4)

There are not many subjects as sexy as criminology and criminological psychology. Step into a taxi, sit down for a haircut, or get chatting to a stranger on an airplane, and when you are asked, “So what do you do?” try responding: “I’m a psychologist who studies crime.” Watch their eyes light up. Getting inside the mind of the serial killer? Assisting police officers on their toughest cases? Outsmarting the smartest criminal masterminds? People love that stuff! Even the more mundane areas of criminology – prisons, prostitution, corporate crime, cop culture, gangs, sexual violence, political economy of crime, heroin markets – are all fascinating stuff.

But wait for the follow-up question, “What sort of research?” and try answering: “Offender rehabilitation.” First, there is a pause (always a pause), sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for as many as ten or fifteen. They know the phrase, but it has been a while since they last heard it.

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