Use of Drama in the Rehabilitation of Violent Male Offenders

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This study examines male criminal violence; its causes and explanations; and how creative drama-based criminal justice programs can respond to working with violent men. It will serve as a guide to innovative creative arts work in criminal justice settings, as a discussion of research methods, and as a series of recommendations for professional practice. It provides practical examples of how theory, empirical research and multi-disciplinary professional practice can be integrated to develop more innovative creative responses to male violence. Drawing on five years of programme experience with offenders, five sections provide step-by-step instruction on how to use drama based interventions in programmes dealing with violent behavior. It will interest scholars and practitioners in the fields of criminology and criminal justices, arts therapies, psychology, and the performing arts.


“This is resilient writing on a subject of social significance. Balfour takes full account of psychological studies as well as of previous publications on the uses of drama within the penal system. This book is knowingly a contribution to an ongoing debate/ Balfour usefully explores the history of prison theatre, crucially treating the innovative use of masks by Geese Theatre Company….It is an enthralling story, told with great honesty. Balfour approaches his subject with the scrupulousness that it demands and merits.” – Peter Thomson, Emeritus Professor of Drama, University of Exeter

“… there is nothing of this quality in the field. Dr. Balfour writes about the meeting of research and practice across diverse disciplines, and is forging new ways for practitioners and academics to enter into dialogues that matter. There is urgency and clarity in this work…. There is detailed specificity in the writing and a broad reach in the research that maps ways of thinking about the possible interventions of performance…. The questions that Dr. Balfour asks through this book are at the centre of the doubts and uncertainties that haunt so many contemporary enquiries.” – Paul Heritage, Professor of Drama and Performance, Queen Mary, University of London

Table of Contents

Table of contents (main headings):
1. The Theoretical Territory (overview of the criminological territory, multi-causal explanation of violence)
2. Drama with Offenders (role-playing, role-reversal, social skills training; case study of award-winning Geese Theatre Company)
3. Testing Theories in Practice (principal theories about violent men; Novaco’s anger treatment model; practical applications)
4. Indicating Outcomes (concerns and criticisms about methodology)
5. Conclusions (conclusions and recommendations for future development)
Appendix; Bibliography; Index

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