Who climbs the Sycamore Tree? An exploration of the offenders choosing to engage in a prison based victim awareness programme

Storey, Katie (2010) Who climbs the Sycamore Tree? An exploration of the offenders choosing to engage in a prison based victim awareness programme. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    The overall aim of this study was to explore which types of prisoners attended and benefited from The Sycamore Tree Programme, during the year 2009-2010 at one UK male prison. With the Criminal Justice System moving towards the commissioning of interventions for offenders, interventions need to be evidenced as both cost efficient and effective in reducing re-offending, the current study is pertinent. Previous evaluations of the programme indicated it could be beneficial for offenders and produced positive attitudinal changes on short-term measures of victim empathy (Feasy et al, 2009). However, there is a lack of specific knowledge regarding who benefits from attending the programme and for whom it is ineffective. The case study involved firstly reviewing relevant research literature and policy documents to establish existing knowledge and research methods appropriate in this area. This in turn led to a documentary analysis of the 34 participants OASys assessments to gather information pertaining to their static and dynamic risk factors. CRIME PICS change data completed pre and post programme was analysed to explore if any changes, both positive and negative, could be linked to identifiable risk factors or treatment needs. The key findings from the study were that as a whole sample, the 34 participants showed positive changes on all attitudinal scales except victim empathy. When scrutinised, the group of participants who did improve in victim empathy scores were medium to high risk offenders with drug, theft or violent offences with low or no responsivitiy issues. In addition, these offenders possessed an identifiable treatment need linked to lack of victim awareness or accountability. The results of the study suggest that the programme is least effective for prisoners with robbery offences and for those who have responsivity needs such as literacy difficulties, self-harm and mental health issues. The study also highlighted that the programme appears to be less effective for prisoners with static low risk of re-offending and could lead to deterioration in empathy. Implications from the study centre on a more structured approach by the Sycamore Tree providers in the selection of prisoners to attend the programme and to OASys assessors when setting sentence planning targets involving the programme.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:49
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:16
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/917

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