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Exploring forensic service users’ experience of participating in a community life skills and work-readiness programme

McKenzie, Chloe and Tarpey, Emma (2019) Exploring forensic service users’ experience of participating in a community life skills and work-readiness programme. Journal of Forensic Practice, 22 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 2050-8794

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the experiences of individuals with a criminal history of participating in a community life skills and work-readiness programme. Design/methodology/approach – Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven individuals that have a criminal history who were participating, or had previously participated, in a community life skills and work-readiness programme. This data was analysed by interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings – Four superordinate themes emerged, these were: “need to change”, “changing identity”, “giving back to the community” and “a sense of belonging”. These themes are discussed in relation to desistance literature and the Good Lives Model. Practical implications – This research identifies through the participants’ narratives that engaging with the programme appeared to facilitate the desistance process. The importance of community programmes that provide participants skills and social integration must be acknowledged. Originality/value – There is limited research on the experiences of forensic services users’ experiences of community programmes, especially those that are not aimed specifically at ex-offenders. The results of this research can be used to enhance services and identify further research areas.

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