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Substance related offending behaviour programme (SROBP): exploring male prisoner’s experiences of treatment and application of learning

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Darren JohnsonORCiD


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© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: Cognitive-behavioural interventions, such as the substance related offending behaviour programme (SROBP), are being implemented across forensic contexts in an attempt to address the detrimental economic, social and personal impacts of substance use and offending. Whilst support exists for the effectiveness of such treatment, there remains to be limited knowledge of offenders’ experiences of treatment and factors that promote treatment efficacy and support desistance. This study aims to develop an idiographical understanding of those processes. Design/methodology/approach: Six prisoners who had completed the SROBP were interviewed via a semi-structured schedule to collate their individual experiences of engaging in treatment. Interviews transcripts were analysed by the lead researcher using interpretative phenomenological analysis, and external auditing analysis was conducted by the research supervisors. Findings: Three superordinate themes resulted: “Therapeutic processes and relationships,” “Therapeutic outcomes” and “Threats to post treatment recovery.” Participants identified factors which facilitated the effectiveness of treatment and were effective in meeting their needs, although there were other factors that required improvement. Practical implications: The important role of motivation at various stages of treatment as this engenders commitment to treatment aims and longer-term recovery. Treatment efficacy is linked with perceived relevance and value of treatment outcomes in supporting desistence from substance use. Pro-social peer relationships are important for effective application of learning and recovery. Attentiveness to participants specific needs is required. The lack of post-programme support has the potential to threaten therapeutic alliances and reinforce experiences of rejection and abandonment. The management of the exit phase from programmes is critical. Originality/value: Results are discussed in light of their implications for future working practices in supporting therapeutic processes and rehabilitative culture.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Howie P, Johnson D, Taylor A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

Year: 2021

Volume: 7

Issue: 3

Pages: 197-208

Print publication date: 03/09/2021

Online publication date: 09/08/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 2056-3841

ISSN (electronic): 2056-385X

Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited


DOI: 10.1108/JCRPP-06-2020-0042


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