3: Pre-release interventions: staff and offender perspectives

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In this chapter we explore staff and offender experiences of, and views about, the pre-release stage of the Resettlement Pathfinders, with particular attention to the FOR programme. This includes the experiences of treatment managers, programme tutors and prisoners. Post-release experiences will be discussed in Chapter 4.

In addition to frequent informal interaction with them, the evaluation team conducted a total of 24 formal interviews with all the treatment managers and tutors across the three sites. These included five staff members (four of them in Lewes) who were interviewed twice in order to get a clearer picture of progress over time. (A further 13 interviews were conducted with outside probation officers and others linked to FOR who were responsible for the community stage: their views are discussed in Chapter 4.) As well as exploring staff views about the programme in general and their experiences of delivering specific sessions, the semi-structured interview schedule was designed to elicit information relating to a range of practical, organisational and delivery issues. The programme staff were also asked about the nature of other pre-release work carried out with the prisoners and the integration of the FOR programme within the prison, with particular reference to linkage with in-house services.

The following discussion focuses mainly on staff experiences of delivering the programme and their views about its style and content. It is structured under the following headings:

  • Comparison with other treatment programmes.

  • Session content.

  • Programme applicability.

  • Workbooks.

  • Programme effectiveness and quality of delivery.

Staff with experience of other prison-based treatment programmes were asked how they thought FOR compared.

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