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Research and publications

This research was the first that was designed and conducted according to the principles of positive criminology (Elisha, Idisis, & Ronel, paper in preparation). The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the internal and external factors that assist imprisoned  sex offenders to recover and change their way of life.

Most participants reported that they had experienced personal and social changes during their current imprisonment, attributed to the support they received from various sources both inside and outside the jail, particularly spouses, parents, therapists, and religious figures. Participants reported that those who supported them expressed their social acceptance of them; note that this does not refer to unconditional acceptance, but one that requires taking responsibility and making a significant change by the side of the offender. It might be referred as conditioned love, where the conditions are for the benefits of the loved ones. It contains components similar to those included in the re-integrative shaming mechanism. Research findings also suggest that positive changes can be achieved even under harsh conditions such as imprisonment, through the encounter with human strengths.

Elisha, E., Idisis, Y., & Ronel, N. (paper in preparation). Classification of imprisoned sex offenders: Demonstration of a criminal spin and a way out through acceptance relationships.

Elisha's dissertation (2009) was the first that was designed and conducted from the perspective of positive criminology. The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the internal and external factors that assist imprisoned sex offenders to recover and change their way of life. It was found that most participants reported that they had experienced personal and social changes during their imprisonment, attributed to the support they received from various sources both inside and outside the jail, particularly spouses, parents, therapists, and religious figures. Research findings also suggest that positive changes can be achieved even under harsh conditions such as imprisonment, through the encounter with human strengths.

Elisha, E. (2009). A window of opportunity? Examining positive factors among imprisoned sex offenders and their influence on the perception of imprisonment as an opportunity for transforming their life. Doctoral Dissertation. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University. (in Hebrew).

Aspects of positive criminology can be seen in various circumstances in society, including political discourse. A study carried out by Maya Ben-Aharon (2011) examined the Israeli discourse surrounding the use of force during the first war with Lebanon (1982). The research analyzed media reports that supported or criticized the use of military force during the war, from the perspective of different political groups.
Findings indicated a spin of aggressive and violent discourse that was directed by members of any of the two leading political camps towards those who represent the other camp. These camps were in a state of intense rivalry as they disputed political and ideological beliefs, and generated negative emotions which led to an aggressive discourse that deepened the resentment and widened the distance between the camps. The result was an extreme process of demonizing and de-humanizing of the other group and its members. In conclusion it was suggested that components of positive criminology in the political discourse can serve as a powerful instrument to deliver a message that will enhance the inclusion and integration vector. A positive, integrative discourse might strengthen and encourage values such as social tolerance and acceptance while avoiding de-legitimizing or labeling other discourses or different groups. Such a discourse might also represent a decrease in social self-centeredness in the public sphere, in favor of mutual acceptance and social unification as valid targets.

Ben-Aharon, M. (2011). Discourse Analysis Surrounding the Legitimation of the Use of Force in the First Lebanon War. Doctoral Dissertation. Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel (in Hebrew).

The impact of volunteers on those they help | Natti Ronel and Natti Ronel et al.

Two studies that examined the impact of a personal encounter with perceived goodness, as represented by volunteers who are perceived as altruistic by those they help. The studies focused on the encounter between lay volunteers and either: (1) at-risk street youths in a mobile outreach service (a qualitative study) (Ronel, 2006) and (2). at-risk youth in drop-in centers for youth at-risk in Israel (a qualitative and quantitative study) (Ronel, Haski-Leventhal, Ben-David & York, 2009). The results show that the beneficiaries knew that volunteers were servicing them, perceived volunteers as true altruists, were satisfied to the degree of preferring their services over that of paid workers, and were positively affected by the encounter with volunteering. Meeting the volunteers raised their awareness of giving without expecting a reward, which sharply contradicts their view of the world as a battlefield. In some cases, the example set by the volunteers inspired the young people to consider volunteering themselves. Finally, they were able to generalize the altruistic image to the entire service and overcome their initial objections to a service run by the establishment. Volunteers set a living example of the possibility of human goodness via personal encounters and demonstrated the existence of a responsive society with mutual, unconditional caring. The proposed explanation refers to the contrast between the example of the volunteers and the self-centeredness of at-risk youths, which shifted slightly as a result. These results exhibit practical implications for innovative interventions with youth at-risk and illustrate the significance of the science of goodness.

Ronel, N. (2006). When good overcomes bad: The impact of volunteers on those they help. Human Relations, 59(8), 1133-1153. Haski-Leventhal, D., Ronel, N., York, A.S., & Ben-David, B.M. (2008). Youth volunteering for youth: Who are they serving? How are they being served? Children and Youth Services Review, 30(7), 834-846.

. Many philosophers such as Appleton, Aristotle, Nietzsche and Spinoza, already discussed the importance of using positive human components for creating a better human society. They also argued that the ability for human kindness is not predetermined but can be changed by external interventions, such as through exposing the individual to positive encounters that may lead to appropriate changes in the person and the surroundings. A study carried out by Tahel Uzan (2009), was conducted on young offenders in Israel, who participated in volunteer activity of helping needy persons in the community. It was found that participants perceived this activity as most significant, leading to a process of introspection which included a decision to change their way of life. It seems that participation in altruistic activities develops and strengthens internal virtues (e.g., responsibility, caring for others, goodness), that motivate the offenders to adopt pro-social attitudes and behaviors.

Uzan, T. (2009). The descent into crime and the experience of volunteering as reflected in life stories of youth at risk. MA Thesis, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel (in Hebrew).

Ronel, N., Jaishankar, K., & Bensimon, M. (eds.)(2008). Trends and issues in victimology. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Ronel, N. (2008). The experience of spiritual intelligence. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 40(1), 100-119.

Ronel, N., & Lebel, U. (2008). Beyond restoration: The role of non-forgiveness for bereaved parents. In M.S. Sundaram, P.K. Jaishankar & S. Ramdoss (Eds.), Crime victims and justice: An introduction to restorative principles (pp.107-121). New Delhi: Serial Publications.

Ronel, N. (2009). Spirituality-based therapy with recovering victims: Challenges and opportunities. In O. Hagemann, P. Schäfer & S. Schmidt (eds.), Victimology, victims assistance and criminal justice (pp.175-189). Mönchengladbach: Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences.

Ronel, N., Haski-Leventhal, D., Ben-David, B.M., & York, A.S. (2009). Perceived altruism: A neglected factor in initial intervention. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 53(2), 191-210.

Ronel, N. & Haimov-Eyali, R. (2009). Under an addiction's shadow: Adolescents with an addicted parent. Kiriat Bialik, IL: Ach. (Hebrew).

Ronel, N. (2010). Criminal behavior, criminal mind: Being caught in a criminal spin. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. DOI: 10.1177/0306624X10384946.

Ronel, N., & Haimov-Eyali, R. (2010). Risk and resilience: The family experience of adolescents with an addicted parent. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 54(3), 448-472.

Ronel, N., & Levy - Cahana, M. (2010). Growing-up with a substance-dependent parent: Development of subjective risk and protective factors. Substance Use & Misuse. DOI: 10.3109/10826084.2010.527417.

Ronel, N., Chen, G., Timor, U. & Elisha, E. (2011). Retorno: An orthodox Jewish therapeutic community for addiction treatment. Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press (Hebrew).

Ronel, N., & Elisha, E. (2011). A different perspective: Introducing positive criminology. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 55(2). DOI: 10.1177/0306624X09357772.

Ronel, N. (ed.)(in print). Gone with the spirit. Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press (Hebrew).

Ronel, N. (accepted for publication). From a criminal spin to positive criminology. In K. Jaishankar & N. Ronel (eds.). Global criminology: Crime and victimization in a globalized era. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

The impact of generosity and mediating factors on distressed youth - Ms. Tahel Uzan

Subjective risk and resilience of youth coming from a disturbed neighborhood - Ms. Ofer Zemmel

The adaptation of the 12-Step as a professional model in domestic violence - Ms. Michal Faradis

The Integrative model of stigmatization process: Mechanisms of direct, inclusive, exclusive and positive labeling
    - Mr. Rostislav Bershedski

The recovery experience of women who were sexually abused: Towards a positive victimology - Ms. Yaara Toren

The "third floor" intervention for drug addicts

Street work and harm reduction for drug addicts

The impact of making good: Prisoners performing pro-social behavior

A self-help group for male batterers

Sex addiction and recovery in SA groups

Empowering youth living within except home by volunteering cross borders

Integration of a self-help approach for drug addicts in professional settings (1995)

Self-help groups as a spontaneous Grace Community (1998)

Narcotics Anonymous: Understanding a bridge of recovery (1998)

Grace therapy: A new approach to the treatment of male batterers (1999)

World-views transformations of Narcotics Anonymous members in Israel (1999-2000)

World-view transformation of Overeaters Anonymous members in Israel (2001)

The intoxication and sobering of a young alcoholic: Making choices and drifting in the alcoholism career and recovery
   process (2002)

Grace therapy: Meeting the challenge of group therapy for male batterers (2003)

Elem’s Vans: An outreach service for street youth (2003)

Volunteering works: Research on volunteering and volunteers in youth drop-in centers "Hafuch-al-Hafuch" (2004)

Factors in the integration process of adolescent immigrants: The case of Ethiopian Jews in Israel (2005)

The spiritual experience of OA members in the process of overcoming overeating (2005)

The impact of volunteers on those they help (2006)

Youth volunteering for youth: Who are they serving? How are they being served? (2008)

Vipasana workshops in jail (2008)

Volunteering for adolescents in a boarding children village: The influence of volunteering on the beneficiaries (2008)

A model of rehabilitation after heart attack – between powerlessness and recovery (2008)

Grace therapy for recovering victims: A restorative 12-step based therapy (2008)

The application of the 12-Step program in treatment centers for addicted clients (2008)

Perceived altruism: A neglected factor in initial intervention (2009)

The recovery experience of men who were sexually abused (2009)

The descent into crime and the experience of volunteering as reflected in life stories of youth at risk (2009)

Risk and resilience: The family experience of adolescents with an addicted parent (2010)

An adaptation of the 12-Step program by professionals in the addiction field (2010)

Positive characteristics among prisoners who are sexual offenders and their impact on the perception of incarceration as an
    opportunity for change and reform of lifestyle (2010)

Emotional recovery of overeating women in Overeaters Anonymous (2010)

Discourse analysis surrounding the legitimization of the use of force in the first Lebanese war (2011)

A caring school culture and its implications on the progress of children at-risk (2011)

Retorno: An orthodox Jewish therapeutic community for addiction treatment (2011)

Spirituality and therapy: The Twelve-step program (2011)