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August 04, 2003

Teach a man to fish and he steals your rod ...

So much for rehabilitation:

TEACHING prisoners how to think and giving them social skills has failed to stop them returning to a life of crime, according to Home Office research. The Prison Service had invested £200 million in the courses which aim to cut reconviction rates.

Prisoners who attended the courses were just as likely to reoffend as inmates who did not attend. Among medium to high-risk offenders, the reconviction rate was actually higher ...

The courses, which cost an estimated £2,000-£7,000 per place, aim to control “impulsivity, develop greater empathy with others and improve thinking skills”. They were adopted after research in Canada suggested they were successful and about 32,000 prisoners have so far completed them.

Groups of eight to ten prisoners are taught to address self-control, problem-solving and moral behaviour. Some courses include role-playing exercises involving an argument over a woman in a pub. The prisoner is shown how to think his way out of the situation rather than assaulting the other person.

The study suggests that the early success of the programmes were successful because the staff and prisoners attending them were more highly motivated. Quality may also have been undermined when they were rapidly expanded after 1998.

Posted by jason_s at 02:59 PM

Yes, the legacy of New Labour - wont be forgotten in a hurry. Incidentally, has anyone read about the Prison sentence handed out to a farmer for shooting at two burglers at Night?


We are living in strange times in this country.

Posted by: Peter Phillips at August 4, 2003 03:43 PM

yes, i think everyone in the conservative/libertarian blogosphere knows about that case....

Posted by: razib at August 4, 2003 04:28 PM

"The courses...aim to control “impulsivity, develop greater empathy with others and improve thinking skills”..."

Maybe instead they should focus on teaching them some skills that are useful for making a living. Not that empathy etc isn't important but being able to get a decent job helps a lot.

Posted by: Katy at August 5, 2003 11:45 AM

Interesting posts!

Empowering has to be regulated. It is the thought behind ethics of every aspect of our businesses today.

If you have to give power to someone, teach him or distill into him the thoughts of the consequences to that power!

- Kaleem.

Posted by: Kaleem Aziz at August 11, 2003 03:00 PM