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Advancing Corrections Journal – Edition 5

This 5th Edition is devoted to an exploration of evidence-informed ways to improve practice. The papers we are publishing come from around the world – Scotland, Australia, Singapore, Ireland, the United States, the Netherlands, the UK, Canada, Argentina and Norway. To begin the Edition, we feature a special contribution from professor Fergus McNeill. The next 4 Research Articles present data supporting change in practice in a number of particular ways, followed by two papers from Singapore that are more specialized but yet important. The Views and Reviews section of this Edition includes papers that provoke some important new thinking about issues we should be addressing in corrections. As usual, the final section of each Edition of Advancing Corrections tries to present one particular countries’ Practice Innovation in Corrections. In this issue, Marianne Vollan, the Director General of the Norwegian Correctional Service and a consistently inspiring correctional leader, gives us a cogent presentation of how her system tries to realize their underlying principle of ‘normality’.

 

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FEATURED ARTICLE
ARTICLE 1 – “REHABILITATION, CORRECTIONS AND SOCIETY”: THE 2017 ICPA DISTINGUISHED SCHOLAR LECTURE

Fergus McNeill

Last October, I was honoured to provide the Distinguished Scholar address to the ICPA conference in London. This short paper summarises my talk, in which I tried to unravel the knot of inter-related meanings of rehabilitation and reintegration. The paper explores how these different forms of rehabilitation and reintegration relate to the roles and purposes of ‘correctional’ agencies (i.e.prisons, probation, parole). Through this exploration, I aim to show that these agencies of the state (or commissioned by the state) have an important but ultimately limited role to play in rehabilitation and reintegration; both processes require a broader engagement with individual citizens and with civil society. It follows that correctional agencies need to focus as much on engaging with communities as on preparing people who have offended for integration or reintegration into those communities.
RESEARCH ARTICLES
ARTICLE 2 – ENVIRONMENTAL CORRECTIONS: AN APPLICATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORIES TO COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS PRACTICES

Lacey Schaefer

The Environmental Corrections model of probation and parole applies the tenets of environmental criminological theories to community corrections practices. This model works to reduce recidivism by addressing the two causes of crime: opportunity and propensity. First, officers work to limit supervises’ access to chances to commit crime, redesigning offenders’ routine activities so that risky settings are avoided and replaced with pro-social influences. Second, the nature of officer-offender meetings is reoriented so that the criminogenic needs relevant to opportunity-avoidance and -resistance are addressed. This article describes the results of a 6-month evaluation of a pilot test of the Environmental Corrections model.
ARTICLE 3 – CHANGES TO HOME DETENTION IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA: EVALUATION DESIGN AND EARLY IMPLEMENTATION FINDINGS

Hilferty, F., Lafferty, L., Valentine, K., Cale, J. and Zmudski, F.

In 2016 the South Australian Department for Correctional Services (DCS) began implementing a series of legislative and program reforms to expand the use of home detention and improve outcomes for those subject to the sanction. The multiple reforms included the introduction of Court Ordered Home Detention as a sentencing option, the expansion of Release Ordered Home Detention, and the development and implementation of an innovative service to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders on home detention. As part of their efforts to implement evidence-based reforms, DCS commissioned a team of evaluators to assess the effectiveness and impact of the changes to home detention. This article outlines the methodology developed to measure program outcomes and evaluate effectiveness. The article also presents early evaluation findings that describe the context and challenges of implementing system-wide reform.
ARTICLE 4 – PATHOLOGICAL PERSONALITY AND VIOLENCE RE-OFFENDING: FINDINGS AND APPLICATIONS FROM SINGAPORE

Yasmin Ahamed, Yong Zhihao Paul, Rashida Binte Mohamed Zain & Natasha Lim Ke Xiu

While there is extensive information available on personality pathology and violent individuals, there is a need to understand the impact of personality traits on vio lent re-offending among the local correctional population. Hence, a study was conducted to explore which personality constructs, as operationalised by the 14 MCMI-III personality scales, were most associated with violent re-offending among Singaporean male offenders with past violence convictions. The study found that collectively the Aggressive (Sadistic) and Antisocial personality scales were significantly associated with the risk of future violence convictions. The findings from the study were then used to develop a guide to be used during risk assessments to help psychologists from the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) identify and integrate personality pathology into the violence risk assessment.
ARTICLE 5 – INTERVENTION NEEDS OF HIGH-RISK SEXUAL OFFENDERS IN SINGAPORE

Joylynn Quek, Priyathanaa Kalyanasundram, & Ng Kend Tuck

As etiological theories of sexual offending and research on treatment for sexual offenders are primarily founded in Western literature, this study aims to elucidate the intervention needs of sexual offenders in Singapore, as well as to investigate if they are consistent with offenders in a Western culture. A mixed-methods research study was undertaken to identify the intervention needs of high risk sexual offenders in Singapore (n=34). While results confirmed that high-risk sexual offenders in Singapore presented with similar intervention needs as in Western countries, the cultural distinctions surrounding these factors are discussed. Findings from this study have been used to enhance the effectiveness of sexual offender interventions in the Singapore Prison Service (SPS).
VIEWS AND REVIEWS
ARTICLE 6 – DARING TO ASK “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?” – WHY CORRECTIONAL SYSTEMS MUST BECOME TRAUMA-RESPONSIVE

Jane Mulcahy

Drawing on qualitative interview data collected during the author’s ongoing PhD research, this paper argues that the findings of many mainstream criminological studies and the dominant Risk/Needs/Responsivity (RNR) model of offender rehabilitation might be reinterpreted in the light of the evidence from epidemiology studies and neuroscience evidence that exposure to an overdose of trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in infancy arrests normal brain development and leads to catastrophic health, relational and social impacts over the life-course. The focus of prison-based services, in particular, should be redirected towards trauma-responsive practice in order to assist unrecovered trauma survivors with offending behaviour to make better sense of themselves and their multiplicity of personal struggles. Criminality and the consequent loss of liberty may, for many prisoners, be a minor aspect of their personal adv ersity stories. Offenders tend to come from communities where ACEs are all around them; in their homes, on their streets, in their schools, doctor’s surgeries and emergency rooms. Criminal justice agencies that are not trauma-informed and which omit to train specialized staff to ask offenders about childhood trauma are overlooking important information relevant to continued offending behaviour. If prisons and probation become trauma-responsive and help people to understand their childhood adversity and its enduring magnitude, they will be more likely to buy into participation in both personal development and offending behaviour interventions.
ARTICLE 7 – HOW CAN RESEARCH ON CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS HELP THOSE WHO WORK IN CORRECTIONS?

Megan Sullivan

The upsurge in people incarcerated in the United States since the late 1970s has meant that many people in prison and jail are parents. Currently 2.7 million children in the United States have incarcerated parents, and more than 10 million children have had an incarcerated parent (Johnston, 2010). Given these numbers, researchers have examined how a parent’s imprisonment can impact a child’s growth and development. The history of this research and researchers’ findings can be useful to the corrections community. While much of the information below is specific to the United States, this article also has implications for children internationally.
ARTICLE 8 – THE IMPOVERISHED PRISON ENVIRONMENT AND THE PRISONER’S BRAIN

Jesse Meijer

This paper summarizes the results of a thesis aimed at studying the potential influence of the prison environment on executive functions and self-regulation. Executive functions include such aspects as attention, planning, working memory and inhibition for self-regulation, i.e. the ability to have autonomous and long-term goal-directed behavior. The prefrontal cortex is crucial for these functions. Antisocial populations such as prisoners often suffer from executive dysfunction and reduced prefrontal functioning. While an enriched environment consisting of physical activity, cognitive challenges and social interaction may have a positive influence on the prefrontal functions of the brain, prison is a typical impoverished environment, potentially further attenuating executive functions and self-regulation of prisoners.
ARTICLE 9 – THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY IN OFFENDER REHABILITATION

Elison-Davies, S., Davies, G., Ward, J., Dugdale, S. & Weekes, J.

This commentary paper discusses the increasingly significant role new technologies, specifically digital technologies, are playing in the rehabilitation of offenders. From the feelings of connection to the outside world which television and telephones-calls home can provide for offenders in prison, and the sense of agency self-service kiosks can provide in allowing such offenders to have more control over the lives during their sentence, these ‘rehabilitative technologies’ are changing the landscape of the criminal justice system. This paper also discusses the ways in which digital technologies are increasing access to evidence-based interventions to support offenders to overcome some of the difficulties they face that often underpin their offending, including interventions for substance misuse, violent behaviour, and thinking skills programmes. The role of telehealth is also discussed, and the ways in which videoconferencing applications are connecting offenders with the professionals that provide support to them for their health and social care needs, in addition to discussion around recent developments to digital infrastructure in prisons, such as in in-cell technologies. And once released from prison, there are also now new technologies that follow offenders on their path to rehabilitation through the prison gate, and so some discussion is provided around how technologies may be utilised. Although these advancements in rehabilitative technologies provide much cause for optimism, there are still many barriers to the widespread implementation of these technologies – including funding, political ideologies, infrastructure and staffing, concerns around security and safety, and trepidation amongst both criminal justice professionals and the general public. It is hoped that this paper sets-out a vision for how new technologies might transform the criminal justice system for the 21st Century and offers some solutions around how the barriers to this transformation might be overcome.
ARTICLE 10 – ‘4-4-3’ GENDER-RESPONSIVE GUIDELINES FOR WORKING WITH FEMALE OFFENDERS IN SINGAPORE

Tsz Wing Kok, April Lin Liangyu, Gabriel Ong

With growing awareness and increased efforts to incorporate gender-responsive approaches in correctional practices, it is an opportune time to examine the current progress of gender-responsive practices in the Singapore Prison Service (SPS). This paper considers gender-responsive literature on female offending overseas and reviews local research and evidence-based practices. From there, integration of the findings is used to develop the ‘4-4-3’ guidelines for working with female offenders in Singapore.

Keywords: female offenders, gender-responsive needs, gender-responsive approach

ARTICLE 11 – PEER MENTORSHIP IN CANADIAN FEDERAL WOMEN OFFENDER INSTITUTIONS

Stephanie Chalifoux-Taylor & Marie-Christine Pépin

This article describes the Peer Mentorship Program currently available for offenders in the Correctional Service of Canada’s women’s institutions. Although some research on the effectiveness of peer counselling programs has been conducted within men’s prisons, there is little literature available on the effectiveness of peer counselling with women in prison. However, of the few studies that do exist, there is a strong suggestion that peer-counselling programs are beneficial for incarcerated women.
ARTICLE 12 – PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION IN THE ARGENTINE FEDERAL PRISON SERVICE

Emiliano Blanco

As highlighted by the UN Handbook on anti-corruption measures in prisons (2017), there are several factors about prison environments which pose challenges for the prevention of corruption. The purpose of this paper is to present a brief general discussion of corruption in prisons and to review some of the anti-corruption policies implemented by the Federal Penitentiary Service of Argentina, with special focus on the Intervention to reduce corruptibility indexes (IRIC, by its initials in Spanish) system, the role of compliance and dynamic security systems. Finally, we present the main results of the 2017/18 staff survey on corruption perception.
PRACTICE INNOVATION IN CORRECTIONS: THE NORWEGIAN CORRECTIONAL SERVICE
ARTICLE 13 – CORRECTIONAL PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES IN NORWAY

Marianne Vollan

Correctional work is about handling dilemmas. The most common of th ese is the perceived opposition between security and rehabilitation. But are they really opposites or contradictory? In my view, they represent two sides of the same question – one must never compromise security during the sentence, but rehabilitation will also reduce recidivism and thereby create more security after the sentence is served. The Norwegian Correctional Service is encouraged to give equal attention to both these aspects. Our mission statement tells us that we are: “…responsible for carrying out remands in custody and penal sanctions in a way that takes into consideration the security of all citizens and attempts to prevent recidivism by enabling the offenders, through their own initiatives, to change their criminal behavior”. This gives us direction on what to do and how to do it in our daily work in all parts of the organization.