Do Prisons Work Essay

2910 words - 12 pages

Do Prisons Work? Can Individuals be Reformed or Rehabilitated through Incarceration and Treatment Programs. Critically examine the Current Treatment Programs offered and Subsequent Impact on Recidivism upon Individuals being released globally and WA specifically.

This study will examine the effectiveness of current prison treatment programs in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, United States of America in rehabilitating or reforming an individual and coinciding recidivism rates upon a prisoners release. Prison based treatment programs for sex offenders in Western Australia, New South Wales and New Zealand are examined and recidivism rates compared. Treatment programs for ...view middle of the document...

Incarceration deprives the prisoner of opportunities to commit crime, usually through detention in prison or in some states capital punishment (McKenzie, 2006). Rehabilitation is based on the premise that people can change, and if assessment is to contribute to rehabilitation it must be capable of measuring change (MacKenzie, 2006). The Static 99 risk assessment measure is an International Tool that is currently used to assess recidivism levels of sex offenders (Hoy & Bright, 2008). Rehabilitation orientated treatment programs include education, cognitive skills and employment (MacKenzie, 2006).
Correctional educational programs are seen to have optimistic results in lowering levels of recidivism in prisoners (Stevens & Ward, 2007). Kaki Bukit Prison School based in Singapore is seen to be successful in reducing recidivism by aiming to creative a learning environment based on Peter Senge’s book “The Fifth Discipline” (Senge, 1990). Part of the discipline involves inmates engaging in the “The Reflective Thinking Process” (Oh, 2007), an education programme which aims to assist prisoners in reflecting on past destructive behaviour and to encourage appropriate restitution. The school is supported by a multidisciplinary team of teachers, prison officers and counsellors who work together to help students in their studies and in their journey of change to become responsible, thinking citizens (Tam, 2007). For inmates who completed their studies at Kubit Bukit Centre and were released in 2000 and 2001, the 2 year recidivism rate was 24% (Oh, 2007).
Acacia, Western Australia’s only private run prison, is operated by Serco and aims to bring service to life (Needham, 2009). Storybook Dads is an example of this and aims to rehabilitate prisoners, break the cycle of reoffending and close the gap between a child and his father (Needham, 2009). The program opens up a broad range of educational opportunities ranging from writing their own stories to learning how to use a computer (Needham, 2009). The main objective of the program is to empower fathers and for children to feel loved, which then improves the lives of the prisoner’s children (Needham, 2009). Prisoners are given the opportunity to record their child’s favourite bedtime story on a CD with sound effects, personal message and CD cover (Needham, 2009).
Current research indicates that fathers who have been imprisoned tend to withdraw from life outside the prison and subsequently lose contact completely with their children (Needham, 2009). Statistics show that six out of ten children whose father is a current or ex- prisoner become involved in criminal activities and consequently find themselves in similar situations to their father’s in prison (Needham, 2009). The Storybook Dad’s program runs in eighty prisons in the United Kingdom and maintains family connections and reduces reoffending (Needham, 2009).
The National Fatherhood Initiative runs a similar...

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