Criminal and positive identity development of young male offenders: pre and post rehabilitation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The rates of offending and re-offending for young males are higher than any other population. Whilst the UK Ministry of Justice (2019) state that rehabilitation programmes should aim to build a positive identity, little is known about the subjective experiences of how this occurs. Various theories and models suggest that the development of a positive identity assists rehabilitation for young men with convictions (i.e., Johns et al., 2017). Therefore, the current study aimed to gather personal narratives from male, young offenders with the intention of understanding identity development.
Design/methodology/approach: Twelve interviews were conducted with young men with convictions aged between 18 and 25 years who had almost completed a rehabilitation process within the community. Narrative analysis was used to analyse the data. All were engaging with the rehabilitation service as a result of conviction for low to medium level offences, including burglary, harm of another person and drug related offences
Findings: Three plots were identified which explain identity when committing offences: ‘The Powerless’, ‘The Feared’ and ‘The Disconnected’. One plot was evident within the narratives which explained positive identity when rehabilitated: ‘The Connected’. The findings illustrate the importance of an approach which considers various aspects of a young offender’s life.
Originality: The current study further adds to knowledge base of young offender rehabilitation by providing a systemic understanding of how men with convictions’ identity develop pre and post rehabilitation. New implications for trauma informed practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Criminal Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 9 Nov 2022


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