A prison-based model of circles of support and accountability: exploring core member and volunteer experience

Kitson-Boyce, R.J. ORCID: 0000-0001-9600-1830, 2017. A prison-based model of circles of support and accountability: exploring core member and volunteer experience. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) have been established in the UK since 2002. Their aim is to support individuals convicted of sexual offences in their reintegration, whilst at the same time holding them accountable for their behaviour. The CoSA model used within the UK has, until recently, been a community one with CoSA beginning once the Core Member (ex-offender) has been released from prison. In 2014, the first UK prison-based model of CoSA was established at HMP Whatton by the Safer Living Foundation charity. The CoSA are designed for elderly (55+) and Intellectually Disabled (ID) individuals convicted of sexual offences, who are assessed as high to very-high risk of reoffending. The research in this thesis was the first to consider a CoSA of this type. The empirical studies provide an in-depth exploration of the experiences of the Core Members as they progressed through the new prison-model CoSA. In addition, how the Core Members construed their self and others was considered along with the volunteers' perspectives of being involved in the prison-model CoSA. Studies one, two and three focused on the Core Members’ journey on a prison-model CoSA. Data were collected at three time-points; just before they started the CoSA and continuing with them through the transitional period of release. A semi-structured interview and repertory grid was conducted with each participant at each time-point. This was the first time the triangulation of these methods had been used with any model of CoSA.

The analysis from the first study (n=9) indicated a turning point in the participants' journeys with regard to how they construed themselves and their previous offending behaviour. This signified the first stages of the desistance process according to the Gӧbbels, Ward and Willis' (2012) Integrated Theory of Desistance from Sex Offending (ITDSO). The identity change and cognitive transformation identified within the first study had developed further by the second study (n=6). A reconstruction of the self, said to represent the second phase of the ITDSO, was evident within the Core Members in this study. Despite the support of the CoSA, however, anxieties remained, or even increased slightly, the closer they came to leaving prison. The findings from the third study (n=7) indicated that, once in the community for a few months, the participants appeared to be within the re-entry phase of the desistance model. Barriers to successful reintegration were present however, which threatened to strip away their newly developed sense of agency. At this stage, therefore, it could not be determined whether the participants would reach the final stage of the ITDSO model; 'normalcy/reintegration' whereby an individual is able to maintain their commitment to change. The fourth study involved semi-structured interviews with the prison-model CoSA volunteers (n=10). The findings provided further evidence for how the prison-model CoSA may be best placed to support Core Members, in their progression towards desistance, over the transitional period of release from prison. Research to explore this further is now required.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Kitson-Boyce, R.J.
Date: December 2017
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 03 May 2018 11:41
Last Modified: 03 May 2018 11:41
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/33427

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