Groupwork with Offenders
Groupwork, whilst much talked about, has until recently not had a massive impact in actual probation practice. The dominance of an individualised approach at all levels has possibly contributed to a reluctance to widen the scope of work with offenders. Probation officers themselves have not universally embraced teamwork approaches which at their best can emphasise sharing and collaborative work. If they are unwilling to genuinely develop their work in a group-oriented manner, this will in turn inhibit the commitment to and credence for work with groups of offenders. This chapter will look at groupwork developments in the context of a socialist approach to probation work, and discuss the possibilities for the development of positive potential in groupwork from that perspective. The limitations of groupwork for the socialist will emerge from this analysis, which will include consideration of the legal context and the appropriateness of conditional attendance. I will conclude by looking at the links to be made between the personal situation and the political and economic position of the offender, an essential but difficult task for the socialist.
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