ways in which activities can reduce offending
- Taking part in activities
can reduce opportunities for committing offences.
might see a mixture of 'work' and 'play' as a fair deal, and be more
willing to 'work' when 'play' is part of the deal.
- Activities can help to
develop relationships with workers. Better relationships, in turn,
increase the range and quality of work that is more directly related to
- Activities can assist
group functioning and development, which in turn can improve the
quality of group discussions about offending.
- Doing activities with
police officers or other authority figures, can change attitudes all
round. This can help to reduce offending and helps to avert or defuse
any future confrontations.
- Activities provide more
opportunities for positive assessment, and can surprise workers about a
person's capabilities and good nature. This can reverse the 'labelling'
effect: damaging labels such as 'troublemaker' get replaced by more
- Experiences of success in
activities can help to develop self-esteem. This can affect offending
behaviour in which low self-esteem is a contributory factor.
- If a person gains
self-esteem both from activities and offending, then lawful activities
can become a substitute for esteem needs which were previously met
through unlawful activities.
- The reviewing of positive
experiences in activities can help to establish reviewing itself as a
positive experience. Reviewing skills can then be applied to offending
- The reviewing of negative
experiences which arise during activities can provide useful insights
into difficulties that are related to offending.
- When clients/learners are
involved in the organisation and design of activities they become more
capable of influencing events around them. They may be less likely to
get 'caught up' in offending as a result.
- Through 'social action',
people can benefit both from the process of making things happen and
from the results of their efforts. Living in a less hostile, and better
resourced neighbourhood they may have changed some environmental causes
- Activities can be set up
as skills training exercises. Improved skills in, for example,
decision-making, problem-solving, planning, assertiveness, or
self-control can reduce the chances of further offending.
- Action replays of
situations which cause difficulty is an active approach to 'exploring'
offending. This can be prepared for by each person drawing a strip
cartoon 'script' of events which led up to their offence. Acting out
the situation with others, changing roles, or directing their own
'replay' can be followed by discussing or trying out alternative
courses of action, such as being more assertive or opting out early on.
- An activity can be
related to the offence by making amends for the offence in some way,
whether directly or indirectly. For example: making gifts for victims
of crime; coaching a football team following street fighting; repairing
or redecorating following vandalism.
- Sponsored activities from
litter clean-ups to parachuting can be used to raise funds for causes
chosen by people, such as victim support groups.
- By organising activities
for helping to keep others out of trouble, people may themselves become
more motivated to stay out of trouble.
experiences (similar to spiritual conversion) which result in
ex-offenders dedicating themselves to working for others (e.g. involved
in social work with offenders). This in turn creates role models who
demonstrate to others that dramatic changes in lifestyle are possible.
- Loosening up 'personal
constructs' (Kelly) or 'unfreezing' (Lewin) so that people are more
open to learning (e.g. their sense of freedom and curiosity is
- Direct experience of an
alternative culture or lifestyle so that people are aware of
alternatives which they may then choose to adopt or adapt.
- Using activities as a
basis for values clarification work.
- Choosing, designing, or
activities in ways that highlight connections with
offending situations before doing the activity (e.g. in order to create
fresh insights or to rehearse alternative courses of action and
Numbers 18-22 have been added since the
publication of More Than Activities.
Number 22 takes you into the carefully
designed parallel worlds of frontloading, programming,
pre-scripted metaphors and isomorphic framing. You will find detailed
examples of this strategy
(or family of strategies) in the Book of Metaphors
by Michael Gass.
Even more strategies? Take a look at these books, articles and research
studies about adventure and offending