From the moment of their arrest, offenders often go through a long process. They will come into contact with many professionals and institutions, such as observation clinics, treatment centres, probation staff and local government. The whole process is thus made up of a large number of links and transfer moments, which means that there is a real risk that continuity may be lost. But it is precisely this continuity that appears to be an essential success factor in reducing reoffending. In this line of research we focus on ways to improve continuity.
Focus on the professional aspects of continuity
Many institutions are involved in supervising and reintegrating offenders. And even within those institutions, the client often has to deal with multiple professionals and departments. These sometimes engage simultaneously with the client, and at other times one after the other. All these professionals carry out behavioural interventions, which contribute to the reintegration of the client. But for successful treatment, it is crucial that these interventions are delivered as seamlessly as possible. This requires good coordination between the different institutions, but also the right attitude and approach on the part of individual professionals. This research line focuses on those professional aspects.
Desistance as a starting point
In our study we assume that professionals - including those working within the existing administrative context - can improve the continuity of the treatment received by the client. One approach that corresponds to this assumption is that of desistance. This approach requires professionals to tailor their actions according to the ultimate goal from the outset, namely successful reintegration. This ultimate goal actually forms the starting point for the treatment and means that all the professionals involved share responsibility for the entire process. Neutralizing the criminal tendencies of the client is central, and the social environment also plays an important role in his or her return to society.
Focus on the wrap-around care model
Another model that plays an important role in this research line is the wrap-around care model. In this approach, all the care providers and agencies encircle the client. The client is in the centre and, together with a team of professionals, makes a plan for his or her reintegration. On this basis, the team and the client search for the assistance that is necessary to achieve that goal, involving the right agencies from the outset. One central supervisor remains constantly in contact with the client while the plan is being implemented.