PRISON PSYCHOLOGY

RISK ASSESSMENTS

Over the past few years, I have been assessed with various diagnostic tools. It is important to note that some of these assessments will be based around my wrongful conviction and the resulting hyperbole. However, in spite of these shortcomings, the results speak for themselves, which came as no surprise to me or my friends and family. Although you cannot get a lower category of risk than ‘low risk’ (there is no @no risk’ category), were they to base their assessments on the truth, as opposed to so much erroneous information the results would be even better.

OFFENDER ASSESSMENT SYSTEM (OASys)

This is a voluminous computer based system which is updated every 1 or 2 years by the prisoner’s Offender Supervisor (OS). They type in information to the computer which, amongst other things, interprets the date to predict future offending in 3 different categories.

OVP risk level: low

OGP risk level: low

OGPS3 risk level: low

RISK MATRIX 2000 (RM2000)

The RM2000 assesses risks of sexual reconviction. Please note, I have never been arrested, charged, cautioned, convicted, or had a finding for any sexual offence. To be clear, I am not a sex offender, not in reality and not in law. Despite these facts, prison psychology manage me as such – go figure.

Risk level: low

CLINICAL PSYCHOPATHY ASSESSMENT (PCL-R)

Not an actual risk assessment. I tested negative for psychopathy.

PERSONALITY DISORDER ASSESSMENT (IPDE)

Not an actual risk assessment. There are 10 different personality disorders, including: paranoid; schizoid, schizotypal; antisocial,borderline; histrionic; narcissistic; avoidant; dependent;

and obsessive compulsive. I tested negative for all of these.

EMOTIONAL RECOGNITION

Not an actual risk assessment. Sometimes called the ’empathy test’, it involves you looking at head shots of various people who exhibit a number of different emotions. Your task is to identify these emotions from facial expression alone. Some are exaggerated but others are micro-subtle. The emotions include anger; fear; disgust; sadness; happiness; surprise; and an impassive face (which they don’t warn you about).

Historically male offenders score low of this text as they seem to have difficulty in recognising visual cues. I’m not sure if this si the same for female offenders (I am aware of a general gender imbalance when it comes to emotional recognition from visual cues alone). The psychologist split the participants into 3 groups: sexual offenders; violent offenders (which was the group they put me into); and a control group (this was made up of prison officers.

I scored 103/110 (93.6%). Only one person scored higher (104/110). My score is indicative of an empathetic non-offender.

Intriguingly, many of the prison officers scored really low and some lower than many in the offender groups. This is an important piece of data as many prison reports are written by officers who have to interpret prisoner behaviour. If they are deficient in the areas of emotional recognition there exists a danger that their reports could be inaccurate and damaging (actually, this happens all to often.

Graham Coutts 22nd October 2014

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