The Economic, Social and Political Context of the Local Community Approach to Integrated Offender Management: Theory and Practice, Rhetoric and Reality

Published 14/09/2011
Type Article
Author(s) Dr Nick Flynn
Corresponding Authors Nick Flynn, Division of Community and Criminal Justice, De Montfort University

Recent proposals for a new approach to criminal justice policy have been heralded by the coalition government as ‘radical’ and ‘revolutionary’. This article assesses the validity of the claims in relation to the intended shake-up of offender rehabilitation. In considering the wider economic and social context of the reforms, various drivers of change are discussed, including increasingly high rates of re-offending and reimprisonment, the ambition of the government to create a so called ‘Big Society’, and the cuts in public spending detailed in the recent Comprehensive Spending Review. It argues that, in emphasising notions of civic responsibility and by seeking to introduce a ‘reducing re-offending market’, the government has absolved itself from directly addressing important structural problems, which inhibit many offenders from successfully giving up crime. It concludes that, rather than signal a paradigm shift in approach to offender rehabilitation, the proposals constitute a repackaging of measures rooted in strategies of risk, containment and crime prevention