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Palgrave Macmillan

Emotional Literacy in Criminal Justice

Professional Practice with Offenders

ISBN 9781137273192
Publication Date February 2014
Formats Paperback Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Emotions remain largely invisible in the management of criminal justice practice. This book seeks to uncover some of the underground emotional work of practitioners and make visible the impact of both positive and negative emotions, which play a crucial role in practitioner-offender relationships.

Exploring how practitioners understand, regulate and work with emotion, Knight argues that the 'soft skills' of emotion are more likely to achieve motivation and change in offenders than the 'hard' skills of punishment, monitoring and surveillance. The book examines some of the gendered implications of this practice and develops an argument for the explicit building of emotional resources within organizations to sustain the development, enhancement and support of emotional literacy in the workforce.

Using practice examples, Knight reveals how practitioners can benefit from having an understanding of their own emotions and how these can impact on their practice. This unique and accessible book will be a valuable resource to practitioners across the criminal justice sector including probation officers, youth justice workers, police and prison officers, social workers, policymakers and managers, as well as scholars working within criminology, criminal justice and probation.



Charlotte Knight is an Associate Researcher at De Montfort University, UK. In 1998 she established the Division of Community and Criminal Justice from which probation and police training are delivered through under-graduate and post-graduate degrees in criminology. She previously worked as a probation officer and her research interests include emotional literacy and diversity in criminal justice practice.

1. Introduction: the Challenge of Uncovering and Using Emotions in Criminal Justice
2. Emotions and Criminal Justice
3. Diversity, Power and Emotions
4. Values: Positive and Negative Emotional Control in Work with Offenders
5. Developing Emotional Literacy in Practitioners
6. Building Relationships with Offenders
7. Using Emotional Literacy to Manage Risk and Change in Offenders
8. Emotions in Organizations
9. Strategies for Sustaining Emotional Literacy in the Workplace
10. Conclusion

Reviews

"In this path-breaking study Charlotte Knight integrates research data and explanatory theories in order to cast fresh light on the operation of emotions in the criminal justice system. She focuses on the ways in which experienced probation practitioners understand and manage their own emotions, as well as those of the offenders for whom they are responsible, and the extent to which the use of 'emotional literacy' may serve to promote change in offenders. This concise and clearly written book is a shining example of the way perceptive scholarship and conscientious research may be combined to illuminate some important consequences that flow from the more subtle aspects of professional work practices. An admirable achievement." - Derek Layder, University of Leicester, UK
"In this study of the emotional literacy of probation officers and probationers, Charlotte Knight skillfully lays out a variety of pathways for innovative practice and service delivery. Through engaging interviews, she describes a significant range of issues related to a heretofore obscure topic of criminal justice attention. Knight gives depth to sentiments that offenders and practitioners alike tend to shake off rather than explore. She provides an information-rich roadmap for exploration. - Russ Immarigeon, Editor, Women and Girls in the Criminal Justice System, Vols. 1 and 2, USA
"In this profound and thought-provoking book, Charlotte Knight reaffirms the critical importance of emotion in working to support processes of personal change. With many well-chosen direct quotations from participants in her original research, her work begins to redress the preoccupations of recent scholarship with thoughts and behaviour and shows that emotional literacy - an awareness of one's own feelings, the feelings of others and how these must be managed for therapeutic benefit – is a fundamental skill and personal quality for criminal justice workers. This wise and timely book can be warmly recommended to students and practitioners." - Rob Canton, De Montfort University, UK
"A new definition of emotional literacy is posited, drawing to the fore the ethical base for this model of work. The thorough rooting of this definition in probation practice is an ambitious goal in the current climate, but the skill in Knight's work is in just how achievable she makes it seem." - Chloe Rogers, European Journal of Probation, 6(3)
"This book would be a useful resource for any probation service, and would speak to different levels of staff, from policy-makers to probation assistants. It would be especially useful for probation students, to help them to start their career positively. Staff working in other related professions and sectors would also benefit, including those in secure settings, social work and youth justice" - Kathy Hampson, Criminology and Criminal Justice 15(2)
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