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  • Author or Editor: Aaron Pycroft x
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Alcohol Treatment Requirement (ATR) is another treatment order available to the courts, to assist in sentencing an offender. This chapter looks at the author’s primary research of how the ATR model was used in an area, and how organised and efficient the model is within the context of coerced interventions and community punishment. The research also explores key themes such as partnership-working, referral, assessment and treatment delivery to highlight the conflicts between reoffending and risk of harm when organisations with different values are involved. The issue of whether alcohol problems are caused by the rise in population-level alcohol consumption is also considered.

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The research illustrates how substance misuse and mental health problems are not being addressed satisfactorily by the criminal justice system, as it is failing to keep pace with our understanding of these issues. The author argues for the development of therapeutic and social-work oriented knowledge in working with people in the criminal justice system. Complexity theory, Mimetics and Virtue ethics are identified as areas with the potential to develop interventions. If engagement with people with mental health problems and substance misuse is to be successful, there needs to be an increased awareness in our understanding of the factors that affect human behaviour.

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The whole system of criminal justice in the UK is in an unprecedented crisis, in part due to its over-reliance on private capital. The purpose of this chapter is to explore that crisis, its economic and ideological origins and to examine its significance for criminal justice practitioners. Key theoretical links will be made with sense making in organisations to enable the practitioner to understand themselves, their work and service users within the wider multi-agency context of the organisation and its practices.

When the first edition of this book was published in 2010 (Pycroft and Gough, 2010), my chapter focused on the development of the mixed economy of service provision (Pycroft, 2010) and the continuities between post war governments in developing the mix of public, private and charitable organisations in the development of public services. In preparing that chapter and editing the book as a whole we were in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis but we could not have foreseen the extent to which the incoming coalition government of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats (in 2010) would ideologically commit themselves to austerity policies across the public sector including criminal justice. Writing in 2018 the poorest sections of society have borne the brunt of the financial collapse brought about by casino capitalism and the decision by government to bail out financial institutions at the expense of some of the most marginal and vulnerable members of our society. The evidence for this assertion is stark. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (Portes, 2017: 30) states:

Overall the impact of policy decisions taken between 2010 and 2017 is significantly regressive, and particularly so for policy decisions taken in 2015–17 Parliament (the impacts of which, are for the most part, still to come). These reforms will actually boost the incomes of the top two deciles, while reducing incomes substantially for the bottom half of income distribution. Our analysis, while subject to refinement, also shows clearly that a number of protected groups will be significantly adversely impacted, with particularly adverse impacts on disabled families. There is also a particularly strong adverse impact for lone parent families as well as families with three or more children.

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Chapter Ten explores the changing nature of probation practice through a critical analysis of the multiple and complex roles of practitioners, who are required to be agents of public protection and enforcement, and rehabilitation. This chapter argues that the work of the Probation Service needs to be identified at three levels of a complex adaptive system: the policy system, the organisational system of the probation trust and the individual practitioner-probationer relationship. Within the context of complexity theory, arguments are made for the importance of creativity at all levels of the system and the need for positive feedback within those systems that allows organisations and practice to exist at the ‘edge of chaos’, which allows novel solutions to apparently intractable problems.

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Through introducing the key concepts that are foundational to an understanding of complexity theory and its relevance to criminal justice and social work, Chapter One provides important contextual information for the following chapters in the book. The chapter aims to familiarise readers with the vocabulary of complexity theory as a branch of the study of NDS, including notions of complex deterministic systems, attractors, non-linearity, chaos, self-organisation, emergent properties and adaptation. The chapter will also explore the background to key debates in the study of complexity by considering, for example, the highly contested relevance of mathematically derived notions of chaos to the reality of being human. Different approaches to these areas of study are (broadly) defined by positivism, post-positivism, and constructivism.

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A hermeneutical narrative will be used in this chapter to enable both a critical appreciation of the dynamics of the drug use industry in ultramodern1 democracies and also solutions to its inherent and real institutional violence. A hermeneutical narrative ‘seeks to bring new resources to our criminological perspective through occupying liminal spaces … and seek(s) to engage with diverse thinkers and traditions who have the potential to offer significant insights to criminology and the practices of justice’ (Pycroft & Bartollas, 2018, p. 234). In particular, an examination of the relationship between the practices of justice and theology will provide a focus of suspicion. This approach will reveal that the ultramodern rationalizations that enshrine the utilitarian calculus and the forms that they take in the technologies of new public management, (e.g. outcome monitoring, drug testing and risk profiling2) that pre-criminalize drug users are theological in nature and an ultramodern concealment of sacred scapegoat mechanisms that arise from our anthropological heritage. The rationality of these mechanisms effectively ‘lock in’ the punitive practices that are ontotheological in nature but hidden in plain sight and that justify transcendental violence through the metaphysics argued to be foundational to social order. The hermeneutical narrative, as unconcealment (aleithia) will seek to apprehend the ding an sich (‘the thing in itself’3) of institutional violence that is locked in to the criminal justice system. With respect to the drug use industry, our critical suspicion is enabled through arguing for recovery as an example of the non-places that have come to define super modernity.

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Paul of Tarsus has become a key figure in post-modern philosophical debates. Whilst an object of scorn for Nietzsche in the death of God debate, Paul has re-emerged as a locus of inquiry within the religious turn in continental philosophy and the ‘death of the death of God discourse.’ This chapter, in examining some potential relationships between philosophy, theology and criminology, addresses the question of what Paul’s own experience of grace offers in addressing the aftermath of crime. Further, it is argued that an analysis of Pauline theology and its context challenges dominant and punitive narratives and is an essential resource for critical criminology to speak at a collective level.

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This chapter discusses the nature of risk, how it is applied to criminal justice and how this fits with ideas of rehabilitation. The authors discuss the organisational dynamics of risk, drawing on complexity and evolutionary theory to analyse developments in organisational theory. A focus for discussion on the understanding of evolutionary processes is also included, in order to explore developments in studying risk and risk management. Other methodologies include a case study to highlight the arguments in the chapter.

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The concepts of ‘dual diagnosis’, ‘co-morbidity’ and ‘complex needs’ are still sources of consternation and confusion in psychiatric medicine and community services, despite a significant amount of research and policy making over the last 30 years. We have argued elsewhere (Pycroft and Green, 2015) that the effective void still exists in policy terms and to the significant detriment of people who experience dual diagnosis; this despite the Bradley Report (Department of Health, DOH, 2009) saying that:

Throughout the course of this review it has become apparent that the issue of dual diagnosis … is a vital component of addressing the issue of mental health and criminal justice. In fact … stakeholders (have) sent out a clear message that no approach to diverting offenders with mental health problems from prison and/or the criminal justice system would be effective unless it addressed drug and alcohol misuse. (DOH, 2009: 21)

In this chapter, we briefly revisit the structural challenges in working with service users who have a dual diagnosis and come into contact with the secure and forensic (S&F) services, to make and reinforce the argument that people working within a fractured and fragmented system have to hold the tension of working with vulnerable people while at the same time making the arguments for systemic change. In particular with respect to supporting people who have concurrent mental health and drug/alcohol problems we argue that every practitioner should have the core skills to work with service users experiencing these problems, including in the forensic population; this is especially important within case management models where a number of different agencies might be involved in the supervision of one service user.

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The introduction sets out the structure of the book, and examines the issues and debates surrounding them that the various authors discuss in their essays. As a result of the difficulties of working with these issues and the number of people who present them, criminal justice sanctions have come to be viewed as a solution. The discussions within the book are introduced as relevant, due to the Coalition government’s plans for the criminal justice system and the inclusion of the contributors’ own personal practice experiences make the book pioneering in its approach.

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