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'I am the person now I was always meant to be': identity reconstruction and narrative reframing in therapeutic community prisons

'I am the person now I was always meant to be': identity reconstruction and narrative reframing in therapeutic community prisons
'I am the person now I was always meant to be': identity reconstruction and narrative reframing in therapeutic community prisons
Drawing upon semi-ethnographic research, this article explores desistance in process among serious offenders residing in democratic therapeutic communities. It is argued that offender rehabilitation in therapeutic communities involves a process of purposive and agentic reconstruction of identity and narrative reframing, so that a ‘new’ and ‘better’ person emerges whose attitudes and behaviours cohere with long-term desistance from crime. This is possible because the prison-based therapeutic community, with its commitment to a radically ‘different’ culture and mode of rehabilitation, socially enables, produces and reinforces the emergence of someone ‘different’. The article therefore develops existing understandings of change in forensic therapeutic communities, and reaffirms theories of desistance which emphasize the importance of pro-social changes to the offender’s personal identity and self-narrative.
desistance, identity, prisons, rehabilitation, self-narrative, therapeutic community
1748-8958
527-547
Stevens, Alisa
204c7128-dbc8-465d-ae12-875632c76cf4
Stevens, Alisa
204c7128-dbc8-465d-ae12-875632c76cf4

Stevens, Alisa (2012) 'I am the person now I was always meant to be': identity reconstruction and narrative reframing in therapeutic community prisons. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 12 (5), 527-547. (doi:10.1177/1748895811432958).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Drawing upon semi-ethnographic research, this article explores desistance in process among serious offenders residing in democratic therapeutic communities. It is argued that offender rehabilitation in therapeutic communities involves a process of purposive and agentic reconstruction of identity and narrative reframing, so that a ‘new’ and ‘better’ person emerges whose attitudes and behaviours cohere with long-term desistance from crime. This is possible because the prison-based therapeutic community, with its commitment to a radically ‘different’ culture and mode of rehabilitation, socially enables, produces and reinforces the emergence of someone ‘different’. The article therefore develops existing understandings of change in forensic therapeutic communities, and reaffirms theories of desistance which emphasize the importance of pro-social changes to the offender’s personal identity and self-narrative.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 9 January 2012
Published date: November 2012
Keywords: desistance, identity, prisons, rehabilitation, self-narrative, therapeutic community
Organisations: Social Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 341210
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/341210
ISSN: 1748-8958
PURE UUID: 4905f2f1-2227-457e-88dc-3e710c1064a1

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Date deposited: 17 Jul 2012 15:25
Last modified: 14 Aug 2019 18:49

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