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.
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.’’