Posts Tagged ‘cookie cutter program’

programmingA guest blog from … call him ‘Donald,’ a federal prison inmate in British Columbia. Donald has blogged here twice before. He’s a prison leader, a quiet man who makes a difference with his thoughtful approach to everything.

Often I overhear inmates talking to each other about having to get their stupid program done so that they can get support for parole, going to a minimum prison, etc. It is this attitude towards programming that makes it difficult for others who are sincere to really get involved in the program materials.

Another one of the problems with the current programming model is that it is fashioned for efficiency rather than effectiveness. In saying this, I mean that the CSC is trying to get as many people through programs as possible to satisfy the parole board so that they are not criticized for not preparing cases for consideration. The programs do not really take into account individual needs and instead run a group of men through a “cookie cutter” program whose effectiveness is questionable at best.

The program model in place in the federal prisons is the ICPM moderate or high intensity. There are no separate substance abuse programs, anger management, cognitive skills, just ICPM. The idea was that incorporating everything into one “superprogram” would be more efficient. The problem is that many are not relating to the material as this thinking programprogram model is not geared to specific needs.

Many inmates are merely playing the game by taking programming and are not shy to say so to other inmates outside the programs classroom. What effect does this have on those who are sincere about change? In my experience it makes it more difficult for someone to express themselves, if they know the majority of people taking the program are not sincere. It is hard to be open when the minds of those you are surrounded by are closed.

programmingSo while the CSC is able to quote numbers that say that they are getting inmates through programs to aid in their reintegration the truth is that the model they are using is not effective. I am not trying to say that there should not be programming. That would be worse than the ineffective model in use right now that does get through to some people. What need to happen is that the CSC needs to take an in depth look at programming and get input from outside agencies and perhaps even inmates to build a model that is more effective in achieving the goal of successful community reintegration.

Do you agree with Donald? Do you think prison programs are ineffective?


Images courtesy of: