Mo­ti­vat­ing pris­on­ers

North Harbour News - - NEWS -

A crime lab­o­ra­tory re­search team at the School of Psy­chol­ogy in Al­bany aims to un­der­stand what mo­ti­vates pris­on­ers to turn over a new leaf and be­come re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zens once they leave jail.

The team of five post­grad­u­ate stu­dents is eval­u­at­ing as­pects of a mo­ti­va­tional in­ter­view­ing pro­gramme run by the Depart­ment of Corrections through­out New Zealand pris­ons.

Col­lec­tively they hope to iden­tify which el­e­ments of the pro­gramme are suc­cess­ful in re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing pris­on­ers, so they can make rec­om­men­da­tions that will ul­ti­mately curb re­of­fend­ing and re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple in pris­ons.

Stu­dents su­per­vised

by

are team leader Dr Mei Wil­liams, se­nior lec­turer and psy­chol­o­gist spe­cial­is­ing in crim­i­nal psy­chol­ogy, with the as­sis­tance of se­nior lec­turer in psy­chol­ogy Dr Dave Clarke.

Dr Wil­liams says that gen­er­ally of­fend­ers are not highly mo­ti­vated to change their be­hav­iour. The pur­pose of the oneon-one pro­gramme is to in­crease mo­ti­va­tion to ad­dress their of­fend­ing and en­gage in treat­ment. Hun­dreds of male and fe­male of­fend­ers have been through the pro­gramme in the past four years.

‘ ‘ Over­seas stud­ies show that the pro­gramme can help of­fend­ers to move be­yond crim­i­nal be­hav­iour and find pos­i­tive ways to live their lives. Our team aims to find out whether it can work here.’’

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