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Problem Solving in Courts

Research and dissemination consultancy with the University of Plymouth for Plymouth Crown Court Service

Working with the University of Plymouth, a study was undertaken using conversation analysis to explore how ‘problem-solving sessions’ provided during court procedures, might help to identify wider life concerns that might lead people to repeatedly offend.
The project provided an example of how research based learning could be transformed into meaningful training for professionals involved.


There are multiple repeat offenders for petty offences such as minor theft or drug related offences. This group of people often also face extreme life challenges and so it is suggested that including a session trying to identify challenges for people and to signpost them to appropriate support would be beneficial. However, these sessions are sometimes more helpful than others, and beyond the idea, it was not clear what really made the difference in terms of whether people were able to effectively use these sessions.

Our Response

Data was collected by an experienced team at Plymouth University, and specialist support was then brought in contribute to finalising the analysis and to transform the learning into accessible workshops.
This training was run with the police and charity workers, and guidance provided as to how best to interact and manage challenges experienced during these sessions.

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