Ink Spots and Ice Cream: A framework and method for building recovery capital

Dr. David Best

April 12 2022 Hyatt Regency Main Ballroom 9 am

Session Description

The presentation will be split into three sections. In the first section, the presentation will focus on theories and models of recovery and recovery capital, with a particular focus on challenges and barriers to recovery and how they are overcome, based on international evidence. The second section will provide a theoretical framework, drawing on two models – desistance theory and macrocriminology – to make sense of the social and community components of recovery. Finally, the third section will examine one approach to mapping and building recovery capital in individuals and communities, based on the REC-CAP and its translation into My Recovery Plan

Learning Objectives

  • To provide an understanding of the current evidence base around recovery capital
  • To provide an insight into new theoretical approaches to the dyadic and hyperdyadic spread of recovery
  • To provide an understanding of how the My Recovery Plan model can support building systems and communities for recovery capital growth


Best, D. (2019) Pathways to desistance and recovery: The role of the social contagion of hope. Policy Press: Bristol.

Best, D. & Colman, C. (eds)(2019) Strengths-based approaches to crime and substance use: From drugs and crime to desistance and recovery. Routledge: London.

Best, D., Hamilton, S., Hall, L. & Bartels, L. (2021) Justice capital: A model for reconciling structural and agentic determinants of desistance, Probation Journal, 1-18.

Best, D., Higham, D., Pickersgill, G., Higham, K., Hanckock, R. & Critchlow, T. (2021) Building recovery capital through community engagement: A hub and spoke model for peer-based recovery support services in England, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 39(1), 3-15.


Dr. Best is Professor of Criminology at the University of Derby and Honorary Professor of Regulation and Global Governance at The Australian National University. He is also chair of the Prisons Research Network of the British Society of Criminology. Trained as a psychologist and criminologist, he has worked in practice, research and policy in the areas of addiction recovery and rehabilitation of offenders. He has authored or co-edited seven books on addiction recovery and desistance from offending, and has written more than 200 peer-reviewed journal publications and around 70 book chapters and technical reports. In 2019, he has produced a monograph entitled “Pathways to Desistance and Recovery: The role of the social contagion of hope” (Policy Press) and a co-edited volume entitled “Strength-based approaches to crime and substance use” (Routledge). His research interests include recovery pathways, recovery capital and its measurement, social identity theory and its implications for recovery, recovery and desistance, addiction treatment effectiveness particularly in prison settings, prison and community connections, and family experiences of addiction and recovery.

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