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Life after homicide: accounts of recovery and redemption of offender patients in a high security hospital – a qualitative study

Martha Ferrito, Arlene Vetere, Gwen Adshead & Estelle Moore


Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology. Available online: 27 Apr 2012.



This study explores accounts of recovery and redemption from the perspective of offenders with a history of mental disorder who have committed homicide. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven men who were residing in a high secure hospital. The interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Analysis of their accounts of their perpetration of homicide yielded a number of themes: the role of previous experience and its impact on their personal development; periods of loss of grip on reality; the reframing of events in their life via therapeutic interventions and internal integration, and roadblocks to the process of recovery. The findings highlight the importance of attending to offenders' narratives about their offending and the context in which it took place as an inevitable aspect of their search for meaning in the aftermath of the death they perpetrated. Themes generated contributed to future interventions to reduce risk.



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