The Elasticity of Rehabilitation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper contributes to a debate on what constitutes rehabilitation. Current criminal justice practice tends to focus on lowering recidivism by utilising strategies geared towards cognitive behavioural modification and educational/vocational skill development. The paper focuses on the perspectives of custodial educators in a Juvenile Justice Centre in Northern Ireland. Their definition of rehabilitation is less concerned about lowering recidivism and instead focuses more on meeting the needs of the young people entering custody, more so than preparing them for their return to the community. Education staff present a model of rehabilitation that is fundamentally about improving the lives of young people. Despite expecting young people to return to custody Education staff contend that young people’s lives improved because they were exposed to a welcoming, caring and pro‐social environment which has helped the young people transform inttody.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-116
Number of pages19
JournalThe British Criminology Conference: Selected Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • rehabilitation, juvenile, custodial, education


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