2019 – 67 – psychology

Psychology: A Culture of Deceit

Hello friend,

Two articles caught my eye recently in Inside Time. Firstly, it emerged at an employment tribunal that the MoJ were told in 2012 that its Sex Offender Treatment Programmes (SOPT) made sexual offenders more likely to reoffend. The MoJ blocked Kathryn Hopkins’ report from being published – even after her report passed a peer review and was recommended for publishing. It was another 5 years before another group of researchers vindicated Ms Hopkins’ findings – her name was left off the published report because, it was claimed, ‘she would tell everybody about the history of the report’.

Let me see if I understand, instead of suspending SOPT until Ms Hopkins’ findings could be verified, the MoJ carried on regardless of the consequences to the future victims of offences perpetrated by ‘graduates’ of this dangerous ‘offending behaviour programme’ (OBP). Further, at the same time. they were continuing to block prisoners’ progression (mine included) for the reason that they had not reduced their risk by engaging and completing SOPT. This is scandalous and people within the MoJ and the psychologists themselves should be held accountable.

It gets worse: the second article exposed further deceit. The charity Transfer Justice, announced that many OBPs have not been checked to see what their outcomes are, i.e reoffending. Between 2010 and 2018, 16,434 prisoners attended 25 non-evaluated OBPs; plus, over 100,000 serving community sentences.

As above, prisoners are being blocked from progressing and returning to their families on the basis that their risk has not been reduced from attending a OBP which may not have even been evaluated. Like SOTP, these courses could actually be increasing risk and creating more crime.

Psychologists use a term to describe a certain type of lifestyle: parasitic lifestyle. If you move in with a girlfriend or have a period of unemployment and rely on benefits, they label you as having a parasitic lifestyle. It’s a very misleading and deeply offensive term. I ask them this: what do you call someone who takes money and gives nothing of any worth in return? You don’t need me to supply the answer.

I hope Scottish Prisons will be more progressive in their approach.

Be happy, be safe and be kind.
Graham Coutts, 27th October 2019

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