Vi­o­lent of­fend­ers pi­lot pro­gramme a suc­cess

Wanganui Chronicle - - Nation -

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.

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