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Therapeutic Research in Prisons

Recidivism is an issue American felons battle every day. Once someone gets out of jail, they battle with whether or not they’re fall back into their old ways and re-enter into the corrections system.

Many legal communities have attempted to look into the idea of “healing” inmates per se while they’re in prison so that they can serve their time with peace and become productive citizens.

Along with Associate Legal Studies Professor Linda Keena, Graduate Assistant Kelly McCall is taking part in a research project to explore the world of therapeutic community evaluation within maximum-security prisons.

While visiting a prison in Missouri, both Keena and McCall learned a great deal of information about their research, including the instituting of military values to the inmates.

“They have access to a twelve step program and they follow a military routine everyday,” McCall said. “They’re up at 5:30 and their recreation consist of military march.”

Not all areas have advanced into therapeutic options for inmates. Some issues arise due to funding, space and other factors.

For Caddo Parish (Louisiana) District Judge Katherine Dorroh, there are more traditional means being used in her Parish.

“We have the more common options in Caddo Parish,” Judge Dorroh said. “Offenders have the general work release and reentry programs available to them.”

The unnamed prison in Missouri has taken major steps to aid the rehab participants.

“There are a lot of proponents that go into it,” McCall said. “Inmates are segregated from all of the negativity, drug use and gangs while they’re in rehab programs.”

One inmate told the research team the programs aren’t just about the curriculum, but also how everything is set up.

“It’s not like you just go to a class and go back to the yard, and there you are, right back into the mix,” he said. “You are in a nice environment that is dedicated to this change.”

According to the research, Keena and McCall found that creates a community within prison that the program such as intensive therapeutic research “provides opportunities to grow as a human being, body, mind, and spirit.”

Categories: Miscelaneous
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