Democratic therapeutic communities (DTCs) for offenders in the UK are found in both prisons and forensic psychiatric settings in high and medium security, as they represent a whole-system approach to treatment or rehabilitation. An early anthropological study attempted to summarize the operation of the DTC in four principles: democratization, permissiveness, reality confrontation and communalism. Whilst some DTCs include individual therapy, the emphasis is very much on group activity. As with TCs in the non-forensic health system, forensic TCs have a lengthy research history and, as an intervention aimed at long-term change of offenders, the TC would seem to be a promising approach. Whilst not a challenge for DTCs alone, offending rates are problematic as outcome measures: reconviction is not a wholly accurate measure of reoffending and lower rates could reflect more skilful rather than less frequent offending.