Violent offenders pilot programme a success
A programme targeting recidivist violent offenders could be introduced in prisons across the country after a trial run at an Otago jail.
Nine men who undertook the short violence prevention programme graduated at the Otago Corrections Facility at the end of last month after completing 25 three-hour group sessions along- side individual counselling.
Corrections senior psychologist Ryan Perkins said he would soon hold a debriefing with the two clinicians involved before a new cohort was taken on in August.
Perkins would then scrutinise the pilot programme’s merits with Corrections management. The initiative was aimed at high- risk offenders serving sentences too short to give them access to intensive therapy.
“One of the critical initial steps is to develop insights into which sort of challenges and emotions and thinking patterns tend to go along with that sort of violent response,” Perkins said.
Once they understood potential triggers, it was about teach- ing the inmates skills to deal with those situations. “It can be quite confronting for the men to see the link between their thinking . . . that led to their behaviour.”
He said the perspectives of other prisoners could provide them with key insights that oneon-one counselling may not.