Corrections

Therapeutic jurisprudence examines the impact on wellbeing of a broad range of legal actors. In the criminal process, it ranges from the actions of police in investigating and prosecuting crime to the actions of corrections officers in relation to those who are imprisoned for criminal conduct, subject to parole or under supervision in the community.

From the 1990s onwards, corrections has been moving from a risk management approach based on a then widespread understanding that 'nothing works' in promoting offender rehabilitation to one that promotes offender rehabilitation while at the same time managing risk of offending. This move is based on research finding that certain rehabilitation programs ' particularly cognitive behavioural programs ' used for the right offenders in the appropriate context are effective in promoting decreased offender recidivism.

At the same time, more comprehensive models of offender rehabilitation are emerging such as the 'good lives' model which sees an essential aspect of rehabilitation as the promotion of a good life for individual offenders based on their motivations and needs through appropriate internal and external supports.

Parallels have also emerged between the correctional literature and that of therapeutic jurisprudence, particularly in the areas of motivation to change behaviour and the significance of concepts such as self-determination, voice, validation and respect.

Australian work in this area has been pioneering ' as can be seen in the references in the resources section. It has suggested how corrections officers can promote offender motivation to change, to engage in rehabilitation programs and how they can support offenders through the process. Work has also described an approach to correctional work that integrates therapeutic jurisprudence, work on responsivity of offenders to rehabilitation and good lives theory.

These developments are relevant to the work of judicial officers, lawyers and other legal system professionals and can through a process of cross-fertilisation contribute to the development of their work. Indeed, work in the application of therapeutic jurisprudence to corrections has already been discussed in the Australasian literature on therapeutic judging and problem-solving court programs.

Resources