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The Practice of Positive Criminology: A Vipassana Course in Prison

Natti Ronel, Noa Frid, and Uri Timor

International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology; February 2013, vol. 57, no. 2, 133-153.



Positive criminology is a new term for a perspective associated with theories and models that relate to socially inclusive, positively experienced influences that assist individuals in desisting or refraining from criminal and deviant behavior. A qualitative phenomenological study of prisoners who were in recovery from substance dependency and who participated in a Vipassana course in a rehabilitative prison introduces features of positive criminology. A total of 22 male prisoners participated in a 10-day Vipassana course run by volunteers in prison. Deep interviews were conducted with participants before, immediately after, and 3 to 4 months after the course. The findings describe components of positive criminology that had meaningful impact on the prisoners in rehabilitation: perceived goodness, positive relationship with the prison staff, positive social atmosphere, and overcoming an ordeal. Implications for practice and further research are outlined.



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