June 3, 2015 by Frank, V. A., Dahl, H. V., Holm, K. E., Kolind, T.
Filed under Probation
The purpose of this article is to employ a user-perspective on prison drug treatment. Based on data from 32 in-depth qualitative interviews with inmates and three months of observational studies in three Danish prisons, the article examines how drug treatment in prison is experienced and strategically approached by enrolled inmates. The analysis shows the broad range of reasons for entering as well as staying in treatment during imprisonment, including how the prison setting influences and constrains inmates’ experiences in different ways. By employing a user-perspective the article follows the research tradition, beginning in the 1990s, of including drug users’ perspectives on treatment. It adds important information to the drug treatment literature on issues such as organization, social relations and output of drug treatment. Including a user-perspective, we were able to uncover aspects and experiences of treatment services that differ from other actors in the field, e.g. counsellors, medical doctors, nurses, politicians, and officers. A user-perspective also challenges our understanding of what is at play in drug treatment as well as treatment in prisons.
Then and now: Revisiting policy, tasks, theories, skills and experience of probation work in the 1970s
Developments in probation work in the 1970s are considered: the theories, skills, organizational context, policies and practices of probation workers. Relevant literature is examined and the author’s perceptions and experiences as a male probation worker in a northern city are presented. Positive and negative aspects of probation work at that time are considered, along with some similarities to, and contrasts with, the present day. The movement from a court-based social work service to one more oriented towards punishment and the penal system is noted, as is the move away from the more autonomous, independent worker to a more restricted accountable role. In turn, probation agencies developed into larger, more centralized and more complex hierarchies, but with teams more locally based. The use of an eclectic theory base is analysed, linked to psychosocial and systems approaches, with an important focus on relationships, but also on practical resource finding focused on other agencies, the probation organization and influencing policy. The serious limitations of 1970s probation work are analysed, including the lack of openness with users, the neglect of offending behaviour, risk and victims.