The role of a social worker in the secondary prevention of drug addiction at correctional facilities: the context of a rehabilitation group as a secondary social network

Vilma Žydžiūnaitė, Raimonda Minkutė, Remigijus Bubnys, Rasa Gražulienė


The article analyzes the scientific problem involving two questions: what is the role of a social worker in the secondary prevention of drug addiction of prisoners when mobilizing the secondary network (a rehabilitation group) and what is the influence of the secondary network on the changes of significant relations of prisoners? The search for the answers to these questions was performed by applying a semi-structured interview for data collection and the interpreted phenomenology for data analysis. The research data disclosed that in the secondary prevention of drug addiction at imprisonment places social work involves work with a network. Different roles of a social worker are performed in it as intervention: of a consultant, mediator, mobilizer and capacitator. Participation of prisoners in a rehabilitation group as the secondary prevention of drug addiction changes the important prisoners’ relations with their relatives (relations improve, relatives start to trust in a prisoner, friendly relations are renewed) as well as with the employees of an imprisonment institution (employees show more trust in prisoners, prisoners do not react with anger to employees’ anger) in a positive sense. The changes of prisoners participating in the rehabilitation depend on their motivation to change (which is not uniform); however, their motivation gets stronger when they participate in the rehabilitation. Personal features of the prisoners participating in a rehabilitation group change: their anger decreases, strategies of decision-making invoke rational decisions, they start to believe in God’s help, acquire artistic abilities, want to improve as persons, and the manifestations of their ‘criminal’ thinking diminish.


integration of prisoners; experiences of prisoners; a rehabilitation group; the role of a social worker; social network

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789