Dynamic Security: The Democratic Therapeutic Community in Prison

Dynamic Security: The Democratic Therapeutic Community in Prison

Dynamic Security: The Democratic Therapeutic Community in Prison

Dynamic Security: The Democratic Therapeutic Community in Prison

Synopsis

Dynamic Security describes the inner workings and dynamics of democratic therapeutic communities (TCs) in UK prisons. TCs in prisons were formally accredited and accepted by the National Offender Management Service (formerly the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel) as offending behavior programs that help reduce re-offending in March 2004. Chapters on theory, practice, management and on outcome and evaluation of work in TCs in prisons are linked with clinical examples. The contributors explore the complexities of working in therapy with the powerful emotional impact generated in the process of therapy in the forensic setting. In particular, they focus on the previous life history of offenders in therapy and on the effect of former relationship experiences on offenders? behaviors.

Excerpt

This important book should be read by anyone who has an interest in crime, the prevention of crime, or in prisons. It could also usefully be read by those who are interested in the social origins of crime. It should be required reading for both politicians who purport to take an interest in crime and those in government who are responsible for the allocation of research funds and who at the moment shamefully neglect matters crucial to the public wellbeing such as criminology, psychology and psychiatry.

Murray et al. in Chapter 1 give an overview of the external factors leading to crime with useful references to some of the research behind current social theories of crime. Ormsby rightly draws attention to the poor mental health of prisoners, their high suicide rates, and the strong association between drug dependency and crime. The social factors and the psychiatric factors behind crime have been known for many years, for example in repeated surveys in my old department (Gunn et al. 1978; Gunn et al. 1991). We pointed out, on more than one occasion, these excesses and the need for at least one-third of the prison population to have active psychiatric treatment and for well over 1000 prisoners to be transferred to hospital beds in the National Health Service (NHS). Very little has been done to tackle either the social problems outlined or the psychiatric factors, even though recently the NHS has taken over responsibility for prison healthcare.

One very important counterbalance to this gloomy picture has been the development of therapeutic communities (TCs) within British prisons. As the three chapters of this book outlining the history of the TC in prison indicate, this development has hardly been an overkill. Grendon prison opened in July 1962 and as far as I know remained the only TC in British prisons until the opening of a second TC at Wormwood Scrubs prison . . .

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