Creativity and Rehabilitation: What Else Might Work in Changing Sex Offenders’ Behaviour?

Charlotte Bilby*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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This chapter will examine the manner in which sexual offenders are rehabilitated while in prison and will question whether there are forms of ‘alternative’ activity that might have a positive impact on behaviour. ‘Sexual offenders’ behaviour is addressed and challenged within many criminal justice systems through the use of cognitive-behavioural treatment programmes. These interventions are primarily group-based activities and are manualized programmes, aimed at encouraging offenders to understand the triggers for their behaviour and to act to change it. These programmes sometimes require a reasonably high level of cognitive function and verbal sophistication of the participants. If we accept that offenders’ levels of educational attainment and emotional intelligence are lower than the general population, then might these programmes be demanding much of a population who find it difficult to engage? Artistic and spiritual activities should be considered as important elements in varied and diverse responses to offenders’ needs: they value humanity and seek well-being. This chapter will examine the role of interventions delivered to prisoners that do not fit within the categories of psychology, education or training (for examplee.g., pastimes such as visual and performance arts, meditation and yoga), and will map an alternative terrain to traditional concepts of rehabilitation and treatment. While acknowledging the need to evidence effectiveness in order to satisfy policymakers, victims and the wider public, the chapter will explore the constraints of quantifying the impact of these activities. In summary, the chapter will map the history of psychological programmes aimed at addressing offending behaviour and will consider the evidence to support their continued use. It will suggest the use of alternative forms of interventions and endeavours that are provided within the criminal justice system and will consider their impact on behaviour. It will address the question of providing robust evaluative work on this type of work and will query how we can be sure of what works creatively with sexual offenders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResponding to Sexual Offending
Subtitle of host publicationPerceptions, Risk Management and Public Perception
EditorsKieran McCartan
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9781137358134
ISBN (Print)9781137358127
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


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