Working with autistic individuals in prison-based interventions to address sexual offending

Vinter, L.P., 2020. Working with autistic individuals in prison-based interventions to address sexual offending. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

Research indicates that autistic individuals are no more likely to offend than anyone else in the general population. However, it has been suggested that when autistic individuals do offend, their offending behaviour can be contextualised by their autism. One of the most common forms of offending reported to be committed by autistic individuals are sexual offences, and research has outlined how autism can contribute to those offences. Additionally, recent research has also indicated that autistic prisoners may experience unique challenges and have specific support needs during their prison sentences, which potentially differ from their non-autistic peers. Despite this, little research has specifically explored how to work with, support and manage autistic individuals with sexual offence convictions (ISOCs) in prison-based interventions to address sexual offending.

This thesis details an exploratory sequential mixed method approach used to explore effective work practices with autistic ISOCs in prison-based interventions to address sexual offending. Specifically, this thesis explored the following research questions; 'How appropriate are current prison-based sexual offending interventions for autistic ISOCs?' And 'What is best practice when working with autistic ISOCs in prison-based sexual offending interventions?'. To answer these research questions, the thesis sought to: (i) identify challenges associated with prison-based sexual offending interventions for autistic ISOCs; (ii) identify beneficial features of prison-based sexual interventions for autistic ISOCs; and (iii) to generate evidence-based, practical recommendations on how to work with autistic ISOCs in prison-based sexual offending interventions.

This thesis is constructed of six chapters. Chapter 1 provides a broad introduction to the topic background and rationale of the thesis, concluding with the overarching research questions and aims. Chapter 2 provides a discussion of the methodological issues that were relevant to the empirical studies of the thesis, including a rationale for the mixed method design. Chapter 3 reports Study 1, which was a qualitative narrative exploration of the life stories of autistic ISOCs (N= 4). This study incorporated an inclusive, participatory autism research approach, and discusses how diversity and similarities in those life stories may be relevant for interventions. Chapter 4 reports Study 2, a multi-perspective qualitative study that utilised a phenomenologically informed thematic analysis to explore the issues surrounding working with autistic ISOCS in prison-based interventions to address sexual offending, from the perspectives of autistic ISOCs (N= 12) and staff (N= 13). Chapter 5 details Study 3, a quantitative study that sought to confirm qualitative findings reported in Chapter 4; relating to the relationships between autistic traits, the prison social climate, mental wellbeing and readiness to 6 engage with interventions in a sample of ISOCs serving prison sentences (N= 177). Finally, Chapter 6 provides a synthesis and general discussion of the collective findings from the empirical studies. Chapter 6 also details practical recommendations for working with autistic ISOCs in prison-based sexual offending interventions, directions for future research, highlights the original contributions of the thesis, considers broader limitations of the research, and offers a final conclusion.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Vinter, L.P.
Date: December 2020
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 in the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 05 Aug 2021 13:08
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2021 13:09
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/43802

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