The Good Lives Model of Offender Rehabilitation (GLM)

Note: The GLM program was not responsive to the CEBC's inquiry. The following information was obtained from publicly available sources.

About This Program

Target Population: Not Specified

Program Overview

The Good Lives Model of Offender Rehabilitation (GLM) offers a comprehensive, targeted, and individually meaningful framework for rehabilitative work with offenders. The ethical core of the GLM is that of human rights and it starts from the assumption that while offenders have obligations to respect other peoples' entitlements to well-being and freedom, they are also entitled to the same considerations. This is particularly so when it comes to the implementation of punishment and reintegration initiatives. Two fundamental intervention aims follow from this ethical starting point: the enhancement of offenders' well-being and reduction of their risk of further offending. According to the GLM, these goals are inextricably linked and the best way to create a safer society is to assist offenders to adopt more fulfilling and socially integrated lifestyles.

The GLM is grounded in the ethical concept of human dignity and universal human rights, and as such it has a strong emphasis on human agency. That is, the GLM is concerned with individuals' ability to formulate and select goals, construct plans, and to act freely in the implementation of these plans. A closely related assumption is the basic premise that offenders, like all humans, value certain states of mind, personal characteristics, and experiences, which are defined in the GLM as primary goods. These are defined as:

  • Life (including healthy living and functioning)
  • Knowledge (how well informed one feels about things that are important to them)
  • Excellence in play (hobbies and recreational pursuits)
  • Excellence in work (including mastery experiences)
  • Excellence in agency (autonomy, power and self-directedness)
  • Inner peace (freedom from emotional turmoil and stress)
  • Relatedness (including intimate, romantic, and familial relationships)
  • Community (connection to wider social groups)
  • Spirituality (in the broad sense of finding meaning and purpose in life)
  • Pleasure (feeling good in the here and now)
  • Creativity (expressing oneself through alternative forms)

Whilst it is assumed that all humans seek out all the primary goods to some degree, the weightings or priorities given to specific primary goods reflect an offender's values and life priorities. Moreover, the existence of a number of practical identities, based on, for example, family roles (e.g., parent), work (e.g., psychologist), and leisure (e.g., rugby player) mean that an individual might draw on different value sources in different contexts, depending on the normative values underpinning each practical identity.

Instrumental goods, or secondary goods, provide concrete means of securing primary goods and take the form of approach goals. For example, completing an apprenticeship might satisfy the primary goods of knowledge and excellence in work, whereas joining an adult sports team or cultural club might satisfy the primary good of community. Such activities are incompatible with dynamic risk factors, meaning that avoidance goals are indirectly targeted through the GLM's focus on approach goals.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for The Good Lives Model of Offender Rehabilitation (GLM).

Manuals and Training

Publicly available information indicates there is some training available for this program.
See contact info below.

Training Contact:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Gannon, T. A., King, T., Miles, H., Lockerbie, L., & Willis, G. M. (2011). Good Lives sexual offender treatment for mentally disordered offenders. British Journal of Forensic Practice, 13, 153-168.

Type of Study: Case studies
Number of Participants: 5


  • Age — Mean=42.4 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 100% Caucasian
  • Gender — 100% Male
  • Status — Participants were male mentally disordered offenders.

Location/Institution: Trevor Gibbens Unit, South-East of England

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This paper describes the content, structure, and preliminary evaluation of a new Good Lives sexual offender treatment group for male mentally disordered offenders. Results indicate the case study progress reports suggest that mentally disordered male patients made some notable progress with the Good Lives Model despite their differential and complex needs. In particular, attention to each patient's life goals and motivators appeared to play a key role in promoting treatment engagement. Furthermore, patients with lower intelligence quotient and/or indirect pathways required additional support. Limitations include lack of control group, non-randomization of participants, small sample size, and inconsistent follow-up.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: Varied.

Willis, G. M., & Ward, T. (2011). Striving for a good life: The Good Lives Model applied to released child molesters. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 17(3), 290-303.

Type of Study: One group pretest/posttest study
Number of Participants: 16


  • Age — 20-79 years (Mean=45.19 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — 100% Male
  • Status — Participants had served time in prison for sexually abusing children.

Location/Institution: Kia Marama Special Treatment Unit in New Zealand

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The aim of this study was to explore the practical utility of the Good Lives Model (GLM) with a sample of released child molesters, and investigate the relationship between primary goods attainment and overall re-entry conditions (in terms of accommodation, social support, and employment). Measures utilized include the Automated Sexual Recidivism Scale (ASRS), and the Good Lives Model questionnaire protocol. Semistructured interviews were conducted with child molesters at one, three, and six months following their release from prison. Results indicate that participants endorsed the majority of GLM primary goods with high importance, and positive re-entry experiences were associated with increased goods attainment. Limitations include the small sample size, lack of control group, and reliance on self-reported measures.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

Ward, T., & Mann, R. (2004). Good Lives and the rehabilitation of offenders: A positive approach to sex offender treatment. In P.A. Linley and S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 598-616), Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Ward, T., & Fortune, C. A. (2014). The Good Lives Model: A strength-based approach to offender rehabilitation. In D. Polizzi, M. Braswell, & M. Draper (Eds.). Humanistic approaches to corrections and offender treatment (pp. 115-130). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Yates, P. M., Prescott, D., & Ward, T. (2010). Applying the Good Lives and self-regulation models to sex offender treatment. Brandon, VT: Safer Society.

Contact Information

Tony Ward, PhD

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: March 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2015

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2015