Rehabilitation, risk management and prisoners’ rights




Elaine Genders and Elaine Player

Criminology and Criminal Justice

September 2014





The expansion of prison treatment programmes for personality disordered offenders as part of the ‘Rehabilitation Revolution’ in England and Wales raises significant questions about the ways in which inherent concepts of risks, rights and rehabilitation are selectively perceived and employed. Current policy supports rehabilitative opportunities that address the risks offenders pose to the public, yet remains inattentive to the risk of harm that rehabilitative programmes can pose to offenders. Examination of the risk of personal harm intrinsic to one rehabilitative intervention for personality disordered prisoners – the democratic therapeutic community – illustrates how the selective acknowledgement of human rights in contemporary penal policy, whereby prisoners’ rights are routinely tied to a status of less eligibility, has important consequences that both undermine the integrity of programme delivery and seriously jeopardize the positive duties that are inherent in the duty of care owed to prisoners by the State.








Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee