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Long-term recovery from addiction: criminal justice involvement and positive criminology?

Best, David; Aston, Elizabeth Vivien


David Best


Natti Ronel

Dana Segev


The positive criminology perspective looks at positive life influences that distance individuals from offending, and enable the growth of personal and social strengths. Within a recovery model for alcohol and drug addiction, as part of a strengths-based approach to understanding sustainable change, ‘recovery capital’ is the currency for measuring the personal and social resources available to achieve and sustain change, and the community factors that help or hinder these efforts (sometimes referred to as community capital). However, it has been argued that adverse experiences, particularly chronic mental health and serious criminal recidivism, are barriers to change, and constitute ‘negative recovery capital’. Based on secondary analysis from the Glasgow Recovery Study, and two other studies of pathways to recovery, this chapter examines the impact of prison history on recovery outcomes. The paper concludes that a ‘better than well’ model of change can explain the ‘rebound effect’ from serious adverse life events. This is embedded within a social identity model of recovery transformation, which fits well with the positive criminology perspective of personal transformation in developing a new ‘non-offending’ identity.

Publication Date 2015
Deposit Date Jun 5, 2015
Publicly Available Date Dec 31, 2015
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Pages 177-193
Book Title Positive Criminology: the good can overcome the bad
Keywords Criminology; offending; recovery capital; community capital; prison history; recovery outcomes; positive criminology;
Public URL
Contract Date Jun 5, 2015