The contribution of volunteer mentoring in criminal justice

Merriam, Marilyn (2014). The contribution of volunteer mentoring in criminal justice. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis explores the potential of volunteer-based mentoring of offenders and victims in criminal justice in England and Wales. The research was based on four case-study organisations and involved analysis of the recruitment and training of volunteers and of their contribution in comparison with standards defined for mentoring as practiced in more generic professional mentoring circles.

Key findings from the research were of limited appreciation of the nature of mentoring among the four organisations; of significant reliance on college students as volunteers seeking work experience for their CVs (and who therefore were not always available to provide longer-term mentoring support); of rudimentary training programmes; and of supervisory staff who often seemed reluctant to empower volunteers to engage in proper mentoring roles. Indeed, rather than mentoring, the contribution of the volunteers was better described as a mix of practical assistance provision, coaching and clerical/administrative support.

Despite this, the main conclusion of this research was that volunteer-based mentoring does appear to offer valuable potential in criminal justice for both offenders and victims of crime. However, more strategic approaches to recruitment and more rigorous training in the principles and skills of mentoring are needed, as well as greater support from supervising staff.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Government and Society
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
K Law > KD England and Wales


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