Robinson, Garreth (2014) Drug treatment and desistance from crime. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This project examined desistance from crime for drug-using offenders, and explored the apparent disjuncture between what is known about desistance from crime and the work that is done with offenders in the criminal justice system. The project concentrated on three central theoretical ideas: first, the impact of social bonds on the process of desistance; second, the need for the development of a pro-social identity in order to desist; and, third, the importance of motivation in the process of change. In addition, the study explored the links between desistance research and the criminal justice interventions which aim to rehabilitate drug-using offenders.

The study used a qualitative approach and collected semi-structured interview data from ten members of staff working in criminal justice agencies, and ten drug-using offenders subject to a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement. The findings indicate that the desistance needs of drug-using offenders were broadly aligned to the theoretical frameworks of desistance and were concerned with forming or re-forming social bonds, adopting a prosocial identity, and maintaining motivation for change. The extent to which current drugs rehabilitation provides for those needs, however, remains variable.

The findings from the current study indicate that, in theoretical terms, there is a need to continue to investigate how, why and when offenders desist from crime, while in policy terms, the gap between criminal justice practice and knowledge of desistance from crime needs to be further addressed.

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