Offender experiences and opinions of mixed-gender group work in the community: a qualitative study

Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2011 Oct;55(7):1154-65. doi: 10.1177/0306624X10381063. Epub 2010 Oct 12.


The National Probation Service in England and Wales currently delivers community-based accredited offending behavior programs in mixed-gender groups. There is at present a lack of research on the potential impact of mixed-gender group work on female offenders, who are often the minority within the group. This study aimed to improve our understanding of the area using qualitative methods. Sixteen offenders who had participated in a mixed-gender offending behavior program were interviewed as part of this study. Themes from the interviews were analyzed using Grounded Theory techniques. The findings illustrated an overall preference among all participants for mixed-gender rather than single-gender group work. The specific advantages of mixed-gender group work included increased learning about the opposite sex and a more relaxed atmosphere within the group. Although this study reflects positive attitudes to mixed-gender group work, the findings need to be tested further using empirical methodology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Community Mental Health Services*
  • Crime / prevention & control
  • Crime / psychology
  • England
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Wales
  • Young Adult