2020 – 03 – why prison psychologists don’t work
Why prison psychologists don’t work: don’t take my word…
Part 2 of a very short 2-part series. This is from last month’s Inside Time:
“Courses don’t work
A former head of the prison service has claimed that offending behaviour courses are a waste of time. Sir Martin Narey said that there was no firm evidence to show that programmes aimed at rehabilitating prisoners could make a difference. Instead, he said, prisons should simply focus on holding their residents in decent conditions and treating them with respect.
In a speech at the International Corrections and Prisons Association conference in Buenos Aires, he said: “The things we did to prisoners, the courses we put them on, the involvement of charities, made little or no difference… Stop fretting about rehabilitation. Politely discourage those who will urge you to believe that they have a six-week to six month course which can undo the damage o a lifetime. The next time someone tells you they have a quick scheme which can transform lives – transform is the word of which you should be particularly suspicious – politely explain that life isn’t that simple … Decent prisons in which prisoners are respected seem to provide a foundation for prisoner self-growth. Indecent, unsafe prisons allow for no such growth and further those who have to survive there.””
Prison reformer, Rob Allen, disagreed but I can’t be bothered to repeat his platitudes in favour of all things that have been proven, time and time again, not to reduce reoffending.
I feel the wind of change with a growing and ever more vocal campaign; from people with huge credibility, against the use of prison psychologists’ (so called) ‘offender behaviour courses’. Are their days of running their experiments on prisoners coming to an end? Yes, you read right – experiments. How else can you explain something which costs so much for so little return.
Be happy, be safe and be kind.
Graham Coutts, 5th January 2020