Criminal Justice Sanctions and Services
: Exploring Potential

  • Trish McCulloch

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Social Work


    This thesis presents a body of work for the award of the Professional Doctorate in Social Work. Presented as three discrete but connecting projects, it is united by a broad interest in criminal justice sanctions and services and by a particular interest in the progression of participatory, person-centred and progressive approaches within that space. Project one consists of a recognised prior learning claim for 50% of the award and draws on four peer-refereed published papers. The first three papers contribute to developing criminological and professional debate on ‘what works?’ in supporting desistance from crime. The final paper locates recent justice ‘developments’ within Bauman’s analysis of consumerism and related debates about the commodification of public services.

    Project two reports on a funded study that set out to evaluate the impact of a staff training programme on the practice of community service supervision within a Scottish local authority. The commission and focus of this project reflects sustained attention to questions of what works in reducing re-offending and supporting desistance within community sanctions, and the reconsideration of these questions in spaces traditionally constructed in punitive rather than rehabilitative terms. The findings suggest that community service can provide people who offend with important opportunities for progression, desistance and change and that staff training has an important contribution to make to the progression of these outcomes. However, the findings also indicate that staff training is one of many important variables in this complex and multi-dimensional endeavour.

    Connecting with the above themes, the final and most substantial project presented explores the place and potential of those sentenced within criminal justice sanctions and services. Specifically, it explores the potential of co-production within this complex, contested and constrained space. As will be demonstrated, this is an important and topical area of inquiry, as are the methods used to progress it. The conclusion of this project is that co-production matters in justice. The detail and implications of this conclusion for justice policy, practice and research are discussed and explored.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorTim Kelly (Supervisor) & Fergus McNeill (Supervisor)


    • Criminal justice
    • community sanctions
    • community service
    • co-production
    • offending
    • desistance

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