A Deliberative Inquiry to Evaluate and Progress a Community Sentence Work Order Project


This case is a report of the final study in a series of five. The purpose of this final study was to revisit the strengths and limitations of a female-only, nature-based, unpaid, community-sentenced work project. It was a study whose primary goal was to facilitate ‘genuine’ service user engagement. Service-user engagement has been a challenge for those working with offenders in the criminal justice system. The evaluative nature of the study meant that a purposefully selected sample of project users and providers was required. The objective was for participants to collectively discuss a number of issues raised by their colleagues, in earlier phases of the research. The specific challenge was to identify which of the issues raised should be recommended to funding bodies for project development. In essence, a ‘moving forward’ strategy was required to maximise positive outcomes for all those engaged in the project. In addition to making recommendations for project development, this final study provided an opportunity for triangulation and verification across the research series. The use of a deliberative inquiry with service users and service providers helped meet an overarching research objective, the production of robust and authentic mixed-methodology research.

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