Time to contemplate change? A framework for assessing readiness to change in offenders

Nina Burrowes, Adrian Needs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An improved understanding of offenders' readiness to change would enhance our ability to assess and engage such readiness. This paper provides a critique of the Stages of Change Model (SCM) which is widely used to assess readiness to change with offenders. We argue that the SCM does not provide a sound theoretical basis for understanding offender readiness to change. We highlight problems measuring constructs with the SCM accurately and question the theoretical coherence and level of explanation of readiness to change offered by the model. The second section of the paper presents the Readiness to Change Framework (RCF) as an alternative theoretical framework for understanding readiness to change. The RCF has been designed as a generic framework for understanding readiness to change for multiple behaviors. The two models within the framework are described, and examples of how they may be useful to practitioners working in the area of readiness to change are presented. Finally, strengths, limitations, and potential further developments of the framework are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number1
Early online date22 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Offender readiness to change
  • Offender readiness for treatment
  • Stages of Change Model
  • Treatment motivation


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