To explore how Occupational Therapy interventions in prisons reduce recidivism
Prisons are failing to equip prisoners with the necessary skills, information and resources in to prevent recidivism. Prisons in the United Kingdom have poor records for reducing recidivism with 48% of adults reoffending within one year of their release. Prisons can be a challenging environment as there are constantly changing policies and legislations which affect what interventions can be carried out. Working in this environment also requires professionals to be creative as resources and staffing are limited. Occupational Therapists have the unique expertise to work effectively in this restrictive environment and to enable prisoners to learn the necessary skills to help prevent them from returning to crime. Through a literature review, the researcher examines Occupational Therapy interventions in prisons in various countries. Existing literature claims that interventions reduces recidivism, however, they fail to support these claims as there is little or no follow-up research conducted when people are released from prison. The literature reviewed identified a gap in the literature relating to ex-offenders lived experiences of being offered choices through Occupational Therapy interventions within prison. This generates aims and objectives for research which the research proposal attempts to address. These experiences are proposed to be most effectively understood by using IPA and conducting semi-structured interviews. This research would attempt to understand lived experiences while addressing the objectives of gaining knowledge about change in decision making skills and motivations to potentially prevent recidivism. Occupational Therapy science has an opportunity to contribute to this gap in the literature about understanding ex-offenders experiences by using a holistic and person-centred approach which aligns with Occupational Therapy’s values.