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Forensic Psychology – Behavioural Explanations for Offending

2. Custody

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In this lecture, we think about how professionals working in a prison or hospital setting can help those in custody to live better lives upon their release, focusing in particular on: (i) some of the potential targets for interventions delivered to those in custody, including to reduce reoffending and better manage emotions; (ii) restorative justice, based on principles developed by indigenous communities around the world, discussed as being very helpful for both the victim and perpetrator; (iii) as a therapist, the importance of the therapeutic alliance/community in trauma-informed treatment, as this building of trust helps understand behaviours and environmental factors that were present prior to the offence being committed, in order that work can be done to avoid repetition of those after release.


In this course, Honorary Professor Dr Geraldine Akerman (Cardiff Metropolitan University) explores behavioural explanations for offending, contextualised in the experiences of a forensic psychologist working with people in prison and secure hospital environments. In the first lecture, we think about the concept of labelling and discuss the impacts it can have on an individuals’ self-perceptions and the way others perceive them. In the second lecture, we discuss interventions that are in place at these institutions to help ensure those in custody can lead better lives upon their release. In the third lecture, we attempt to answer the question ‘who commits which offences?’, as well as highlighting the issues with profiling in this way. Next, we delve into the role of attachment in offending behaviour. In the fifth lecture, we return to this in the context of case formulation, by using the psychodynamic model as a method of comprehensively understanding an individual’s criminal actions. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about research methods, specifically the person-centric considerations of performing research in the field of forensic psychology.


Honorary Professor Dr Geraldine Akerman is a chartered forensic psychologist, a doctoral researcher in the Department of Applied Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University, as well as a visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Buckinghamshire New University. Dr Akerman’s forensic psychology role involves working with adult males in a prison-based therapeutic community to help reduce the risk of reoffending. Some of Dr Akerman’s recent publications include 'The Development of a fantasy modification programme for a prison-based therapeutic community' (2008) and 'The Development of a Psychometric Measure of Current Sexual Interest' (Submitted).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Akerman, G. (2022, January 26). Forensic Psychology – Behavioural Explanations for Offending - Custody [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Akerman, G. "Forensic Psychology – Behavioural Explanations for Offending – Custody." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Jan 2022,

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