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Moving On after Getting Out: Support and Accountability for Convicted Sex Offenders

Thompson, David (2015) Moving On after Getting Out: Support and Accountability for Convicted Sex Offenders. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The reintegration of convicted sex offenders has become a major social and political issue. Current approaches by the criminal justice system have traditionally sought containment of risk over reintegrative aspects. Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) hereafter CoSA or 'Circles’ is a voluntary organisation which seeks to support the safe reintegration of convicted sex offenders. This PhD thesis examines the role of CoSA in the reintegration of convicted sex offenders into the community. CoSA is a voluntary initiative which uses 4-6 trained volunteers to work with a convicted sex offender in a ‘Circle’. They provide support to the sex offender - or Core Member - by assisting with practical skills, advice and work to reduce stigma. Accountability is provided by the volunteers questioning and challenging the Core Member about thinking patterns or by passing information related to a risk of harm to the police or probation service. In total, 30 Core Members were interviewed to examine their perceptions and experiences of participating in Circles of Support and Accountability as well as their experiences of living life as a convicted sex offender. Interviews were conducted using the appreciative inquiry approach and were supplemented with questionnaire data and administrative data from CoSA. To better examine the role of CoSA this thesis focuses on how the volunteers work with Core Members to reduce stigmatisation, what temptations are experienced by Core Members and how they self-control. The thesis examines how webs of control are created by the police and probation services as well as CoSA and how they are experienced by Core Members. The role of these agencies is further explored through the lens of change, specifically how Core Members change and where they attribute the cause of change. CoSA provided substantial aid to Core Members who were seeking to distance themselves from their conviction. The Circle was found to support Core Members to overcome some of their perceptions of stigma, assist and facilitate in providing a degree of control in Core Members lives and promote positive changes to support Core Members to achieve a greater distance from their offending lifestyle.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Circles of Support and Accountability; Sex Offenders; Reintegration
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds) > Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.689235
Depositing User: David Thompson
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2016 13:33
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2016 14:42
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13410

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