Offender Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Communities: Enabling Change the TC way

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Offender rehabilitation has become increasingly and almost exclusively associated with structured cognitive-behavioural programmes. For fifty years, however, a small number of English prisons have promoted an alternative method of rehabilitation: the democratic therapeutic community (TC). These prisons offer long-term prisoners convicted of serious offences the opportunity to undertake group psychotherapy within an overtly supportive and esteem-enhancing living environment. Drawing upon original research conducted with 'residents' (prisoners) and staff at three TC prisons, Offender Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Communities provides a uniquely evocative and engaging portrayal of the TC regime. Individual chapters focus on residents' adaptation to 'the TC way' of rehabilitation and imprisonment; the development of caring relationships between community members; residents' contributions towards the safe and efficient running of their community; and the greater assimilation of sexual offenders within TCs for men, made possible in part by a lessening in 'hypermasculinity'. By analyzing residents' own accounts of 'desistance in process' in the TC, this book argues that TCs help offenders to change by enabling positive developments to their personal identity and self-narratives: to the ways in which they see themselves and their life. The radically 'different' penal environment allows its residents to become someone 'different'.