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Two-Tiered Humanistic Pre-release Interventions for Prison Inmates

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 25 Issue: 1/2 Dated: 1997 Pages: 115-128
Vicki E. Bowman; Louis Lowrey; Jane Purser
Date Published
14 pages
This article provides a rationale for a more humanistic approach to prerelease programming that involves a two-tiered educational and counseling program for prison inmates.
Based on the need for more humanistic and comprehensive prerelease programming, a model intervention program was developed and pilot-tested at a medium-security facility in Louisiana. Under the two-tiered approach, one tier delivered educational and skill-based material, and the second tier provided inmates with an opportunity for personal and interpersonal exploration in a group counseling format. The volunteer counselor (a former Federal inmate) had participated in a prerelease program. His prison experiences provided useful insights to inmates and ready identification for group members. Research supports the ability of therapists who have a prison background to provide insights into the values and beliefs of inmates and stimulate the belief in inmates that they can be successful on the outside. This two-tiered approach was chosen because many of the problems faced by inmates in reintegration are due to ineffective interpersonal skills and a denial of personal responsibility. Inmates can therefore benefit from the facilitation of therapeutic factors such as socializing techniques and interpersonal learning. Also, inmates are often skeptical of formalized counseling and respond better to peer support and challenge. Participant self-reports indicate that the program was effective in reaching its goals, and several participants commented positively on the experience. 20 references