Astrid Birgden

Astrid Birgden
Deakin University · School of Psychology

MPsych (Forensic), Master in Advanced Mental Disability Law. PhD

About

48
Publications
39,574
Reads
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1,417
Citations
Introduction
I am a Consultant Forensic/Clinical Psychologist who develops policy, manages projects, and delivers services in corrections, human services and the courts, to serious offenders, including sex offenders, offenders with cognitive impairments, and established and managed a drug treatment prison. I apply strength-based approaches to offender rehabilitation, including offender human rights, the good lives model and therapeutic jurisprudence. I have also completed international projects on torture prevention (Asia), citizen-police mediation (New Orleans), community treatment of drug-related offenders (Seychelles), and treating and case managing sex offenders and drug-related offenders (St Kitts and Nevis). See: www.goodlivesmodel.com http://www.goodlivesmodel.com/profiles
Additional affiliations
January 2008 - present
Deakin University
Description
  • Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor
January 2008 - April 2016
Deakin University
Position
  • Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor
Education
March 2011 - July 2015
New York Law School
Field of study
  • Mental Disability Law
January 2004 - January 2008
Charles Sturt University, Australia, Bathurst
Field of study
  • Forensic Psychology
March 1990 - November 1994
Monash University (Australia)
Field of study
  • Forensic Psychology

Publications

Publications (48)
Article
One of the difficulties with the implementation of community maintenance programs (CMPs) for men who have sexually offended has been the lack of a definitive conceptualisation of maintenance and therefore no standardised theory or program. The aim of this study was one part of a broader attempt to develop an understanding of maintenance programs by...
Article
Although it seems community maintenance programs (CMPs) can play an important role in the desistance journey for those who have committed a sexual offence and there is increased recognition of the various factors that can impact behaviour change, there remains a paucity of research that considers the lived experience of those who have participated...
Article
Full-text available
Having sought 22 clinicians’ views of how rehabilitation was practised in a forensic mental health service, this study explores whether or not these views are consistent with claims that forensic rehabilitation can be hampered by the lack of a coherent rehabilitation framework. Two major, mutually influencing themes emerged from the participants’ n...
Chapter
Child sexual abusers (CSA) commit serious offences ranging from viewing child exploitation material to committing contact offences. Taking into consideration ethics (is it the right thing to do?) and evidence (will it work?), treatment is considered to be more appropriate and effective in reducing the likelihood of reoffending than punishment, dete...
Preprint
This research sought 22 clinicians’ views of how rehabilitation was practised in a forensic mental health service and whether such views were consistent with claims that forensic rehabilitation was hampered by the lack of a coherent rehabilitation framework. Two major mutually-influencing themes emerged from participants’ narratives, the first of w...
Article
The psychologist‐as‐organizational‐consultant ordinarily promotes appropriate staff selection and development, a safe and humane correctional environment, and a positive organizational culture. This chapter focuses on fidelity and responsibility, particularly in avoiding a conflict of interest. It provides a case example of where the American Psych...
Article
The majority of incarcerated sexual offenders will one-day return to the community. While a great proportion are likely to have participated in a custodial offence-specific treatment program, knowing what happens to this ‘acquired’ knowledge and skill once they are released and how this influences the desistance process remains unclear. Research on...
Chapter
Sex offenders have enforceable human rights protected by international law and codes. Therefore, they should be accorded the same rights as all human beings rather than being treated as means to an end by, for example, ineffective “tough on crime” prevention policies in order to garner public support. This essay argues that it is in the community’s...
Article
Full-text available
The law can be a systemically induced decision point for offenders and can act to help or hinder desistance. Desistance can be described as a change process that may be initiated by decisive momentum, supported by intervention, and maintained through re-entry, culminating in a citizen with full rights and responsibilities. Desistance within courts,...
Article
Full-text available
Due to the fact that prison-based educational research has been limited, Hughes presents a nice addition by particularly focusing on the distance learning dimension, even though some readers may find the lack of quantitative data analysis of Hughes' study curious. On a positive note, the book also provides many personal accounts of students, which...
Article
Case management is commonly regarded as the foundation of effective service provision across a wide range of human service settings. This article considers the case management that is offered to clients of community corrections, identifying the distinctive features of case management in this particular setting, and reviewing the empirical evidence...
Article
Full-text available
A Compulsory Drug Treatment Correctional Center (CDTCC) was established in Australia in 2006 for repeat drug-related male offenders. Compulsory treatment law is inconsistent with a therapeutic jurisprudence approach. Despite the compulsory law, a normative offender rehabilitation framework has been established based on offender moral rights. Within...
Article
Full-text available
Public policy is necessarily a political process with the law and order issue high on the political agenda. Consequently, working with sex offenders is fraught with legal and ethical minefields, including the mandate that community protection automatically outweighs offender rights. In addressing community protection, contemporary sex offender trea...
Article
Full-text available
The roles of forensic psychologists in coerced environments such as corrections include that of treatment provider (for the offender) and that of organizational consultant (for the community). This dual role raises ethical issues between offender rights and community rights; an imbalance results in the violation of human rights. A timely reminder o...
Article
Our aim in the special issue is to address some of the more abstract and fundamental ethical problems evident in the criminal justice system and to inquire into their significance for those individuals who assess and deliver rehabilitation programs to offenders. In order to provide an appropriate theoretical framework for an investigation of ethica...
Article
Full-text available
The question of how courts assess expert evidence—especially when mental disability is an issue—raises the corollary question of whether courts adequately evaluate the content of the expert testimony or whether judicial decision making may be influenced by teleology (‘cherry picking’ evidence), pretextuality (accepting experts who distort evidence...
Article
Full-text available
URRENT POLICY IN OFFENDER REHABILITATION ASSUMES THAT COMMUNITY protection can be achieved by overriding the offender's rights. How- ever, this article argues that community protection requires a balance between the rights of the community and those of the offender. Offenders should be able to choose whether to accept or reject rehabilitation witho...
Article
Full-text available
Recently Andrews and Dowden (2007) published an article proposing that both offender and victim well-being could be enhanced by utilizing the risk-need-responsivity model to guide the legal and court systems in crime prevention (rather than therapy). Consequently, crime-prevention jurisprudence (defined as a law-and-justice objective reflecting the...
Article
Full-text available
Community protection from offenders is addressed through punishment, deterrence, incapacitation, and/or rehabilitation. The current public policy debate about community protection refers to community rights as opposed to offender rights as if the two are mutually exclusive. However, in this article it will be argued that offender rehabilitation can...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives. There has been an explosion of interest in therapeutic jurisprudence as both a filter and lens for viewing the extent to which the legal system serves therapeutic or anti-therapeutic consequences. However, little attention has been paid to the impact of therapeutic jurisprudence on questions of international human rights law and the rol...
Article
This paper outlines the current literature on what is known about the processes by which individuals utilize the Internet for child sexual abuse. First, three ways in which the Internet is utilized are outlined: (1) by dissemination of sexually abusive images of children for personal and/or commercial reasons; (2) by communication with other indivi...
Article
Full-text available
Although violent offenders are widely considered to be difficult to engage in therapeutic change, few methods of assessing treatment readiness currently exist. In this article the validation of a brief self-report measure designed to assess treatment readiness in offenders who have been referred to violent offender treatment programs is described....
Article
Full-text available
There has been an explosion of interest in therapeutic jurisprudence as both a filter and lens for viewing the extent to which the legal system serves therapeutic or anti therapeutic consequences. However, little attention has been paid to the impact of therapeutic jurisprudence on questions of international human rights law and the role of forensi...
Article
The formulation of human rights theory and policies represents an ethical advance and promises to supply a framework for resolving ethnic, social, and individual conflicts. Ethics is essentially a means for coordinating the conflicting interests of peoples and nations and human rights provide a strong foundation to do this in multiple domains. Our...
Article
Full-text available
Human rights create a protective zone around persons and allow them the opportunity to further their own valued personal projects without interference from others. All human beings hold human rights and that includes sex offenders, although some of their freedom rights may be legitimately curtailed by the State. In this paper we apply the concept o...
Article
Human rights create a protective zone around persons and allow them the opportunity to further their own valued personal projects without interference from others. All human beings hold human rights and that includes sex offenders, although some of their freedom rights may be legitimately curtailed by the State. In this paper we apply the concept o...
Article
Full-text available
In May 2005, the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005 (Vic) was enacted to enable up to 15 years of conditional supervision and treatment to occur subsequent to the expiry of a criminal sentence or parole. Such legislation reflects changes occurring in other parts of Australia and New Zealand regarding increased community protection. The artic...
Article
Full-text available
Treatment readiness is a construct which appears to have clinical utility in the rehabilitation and management of offenders. In this paper we provide an overview of recent work conducted largely by our group of Australasian researchers which has sought to further articulate and develop this construct. Some implications and applications of treatment...
Article
Full-text available
Societal response to sex offenders is marked by uncertainty about whether punishment or treatment should occur. The distinction between punishment, prevention, and protection is useful to determine how best to assess, treat, and manage sex offenders within the criminal justice system. Once convicted, both law and psychology are concerned with sex o...
Article
Full-text available
Correctional systems worldwide are currently undergoing a shift towards rehabilitation. Underpinning rehabilitation are the principles of risk, need, and responsivity. Responsivity includes internal responsivity (offender characteristics) and external responsivity (staff and setting characteristics). The responsivity principle has been neglected in...
Article
There has been a resurgence of interest in the rehabilitation of offenders. Research has consistently shown that rehabilitation programs for offenders, when they adhere to general principles of program design and delivery, will achieve significant reductions in recidivism. In this paper, we suggest that even greater reductions in recidivism can be...
Article
Full-text available
Correctional systems worldwide are currently undergoing a shift towards rehabilitation. In the Victorian correctional system, substantial funding has been provided to develop a best practice strategy to reduce re-offending. In addition to risk management to address community protection and justice principles, enhanced wellbeing to address autonomy...
Article
Full-text available
Although previous research has reported that the incarceration of sex offenders does not significantly reduce re-offending, there is no adequate theory guiding remedial programs for this population. The aim of the present study was to examine whether normal personality variation provides useful theoretical insight into the nature of sex offences ag...
Article
In Australia, the community response to sexual offenders is marked by uncertainty as to whether offenders should be incarcerated as punishment or provided treatment in order to reduce the likelihood of re-offense. The incarceration of sexual offenders results in particular management, ethical, and political issues. Nevertheless incarceration can pr...
Article
Full-text available
Guidelines for mental health professionals regarding an assessment of fitness to stand trial procedure that is functional, context‐dependent and pragmatic (Grisso, 1988) are clearly required; no published tool exists in Australia. This article addresses Victorian legal criteria as outlined by the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried)...
Article
Full-text available
Pragmatic psychology is a psychological framework developed to advance pragmatic principles and ideas in various domains of applied psychology. It involves adopting a holistic, pluralistic, and dynamic approach to knowledge generation and proposes that psychological methods and strategies should be evaluated in terms of their ability to solve probl...
Article
The question of how courts assess expert evidence - especially when mental disability is an issue - raises the corollary question of whether courts adequately evaluate the content of the expert testimony or whether judicial decision making may be influenced by teleology (‘cherry picking’ evidence), pretextuality (accepting experts who distort evide...

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Cited By

Projects

Project (1)
Project
To fathom how the APA endorsed the illegal use of torture in detention centers in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, and “black sites” operated by the CIA in Europe and elsewhere. The APA preferenced US domestic law over international law by trumping detainee rights and using them as a means to an end- an ethical slippery slope which is a warning for all of those who work in secure settings..