Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Correctional Rehabilitation and Human Functioning: An Embodied, Embedded, and Enactive Approach

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Version 1 2021-12-08, 16:57
posted on 2023-09-22, 02:15 authored by Harry Dent

In order for correctional rehabilitation practices to be maximally effective, they should be grounded in well-developed psychological theory about the causes, development, and nature of crime. This thesis argues that these theories of crime should be based in an underlying perspective of human functioning, or how people work at a fundamental level. I argue that this level of theory has been neglected in theories of crime, as demonstrated through an evaluation of the Risk-Need-Responsivity model of rehabilitation, which currently stands as the most popular and widely used rehabilitation framework throughout much of the world. This perspective is understood to implicitly present a view of functioning which is reward-oriented, multifactorial, norm-based, and modular, resulting in limited explanatory value and diminished treatment efficacy. I then suggest an alternative model of functioning as being embodied, embedded, and enactive (3e). 3e places an emphasis on the individual as an embodied whole, in an adaptive relationship with their physical and social environment. 3e prioritises the affective experience and agency of the individual, with a commitment to viewing the person as a functional whole drawing on comprehensive multilevel explanations. I outline how this perspective could be used to inform the explanation of crime, before applying the model to an exemplar to demonstrate the potential treatment utility of a 3e approach to correctional rehabilitation, as opposed to an RNR approach.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-ND 4.0

Degree Discipline

Forensic Psychology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


Ward, Tony