Process evaluation of an educational programme for preventing recidivism by adult firesetters

Dominic Pearson, Maria Merrick, Amie Dent, Shane Blampied

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Purpose - Fire-related offences are costly in human and financial terms. Fire education is widely used with juveniles and with adults in forensic psychiatric settings; however, with prison/probation clients there has been a lack of focus on its potential. This study asked participants of a structured fire education programme for adults how they experienced it and its impact on their feelings about firesetting.

Design/methodology/approach - Participants were 15 programme completers, including ten males and five females. All were adults that had attended the programme during their sentence, either in the community or whilst in custody.

Findings - Using an inductive thematic analysis this study interpreted the following themes: a supportive and responsive approach, impactful learning materials and methods, a new way of thinking, and picking up the pieces. This study proposes that the intervention may activate change through its powerful methods including fact-based arguments and support from legitimate experts.

Practical implications - Firesetters’ Integrated Responsive Educational Programme (FIRE-P) is a novel example of a specialist structured fire education programme for adult firesetters. This is the first paper to outline its structure and content. Understanding how change occurs in FIRE-P has implications for intervention design and delivery with this client group.

Originality/value - To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first qualitative study of a structured fire education programme for adults and provides researchers and practitioners with insight into the ingredients of a successful fire education programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice
Issue number3
Early online date20 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2022


  • arson treatmen
  • fire safety education
  • firesetting
  • realistic evaluation
  • treatment delivery


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