The New Rehabilitation: ‘What Works’ and Corrections at the End of the Twentieth Century
The previous chapter has shown how practitioners and correctional services adapted to the doctrine that ‘nothing works’ — sometimes by developing new roles or new understandings of their task; sometimes by trying to develop more effective forms of practice; sometimes by looking for beneficial outcomes through changes in sentencing patterns rather than through changes in offenders’ behaviour; and mostly, perhaps, by not regarding the ‘nothing works’ research as the conclusive verdict on their efforts. As we saw in Chapter 4, a tendency towards lack of interest in research on outcomes was one of the less helpful traditions of the social work profession, but it did provide a way for practitioners to keep going when the research seemed to be consistently against them. The price, perhaps, was a greater difficulty in promoting an interest in research and in research-led practice when more helpful research began to be available.
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