Nine men at Wellington Prison have completed a programme to help prevent them re-offending.
The Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme (MIRP) is designed to help offenders examine the causes of their offending and to help them to develop specific skills to reduce the likelihood of them re-offending.
Wellington Prison Unit Manager Simon Hicks, says MIRP participants learn to identify patterns in their thinking, emotions and behaviours that lead them to offend. They then develop their own personalised programme plan that identifies risk factors linked to their offending and provides them with pro-social alternatives to offending.
Simon says the 13-week programme has resulted in some positive changes among the participants.
“Some of the offenders said the programme helped them really understand their previous actions and identify areas they needed to work on to avoid returning to prison.”
One offender in particular made real progress, at the beginning he was very shy and was really concerned about what other people thought of him, but by the end he had really advanced personally and had emerged as a leader of the group.
Simons says one important aspect the group demonstrated is they didn’t believe they needed to wait until they were released from prison to apply the skills they learnt, instead they set about using them straight away.
They became aware of their antisocial attitudes, identified when these occurred, and in turn developed strategies to manage their related emotions and subsequent behaviours in a pro social manner. As a result of their new learning they were better equipped to handle relationship and communication issues, particularly in regards to criminal associates who may encourage them to commit crime.
The men are able to communicate in a more adaptive way now and they even wrote a song about their experiences on the programme.
“The song’s lyrics talk about ‘trying to move on in life and trying to do better’, by doing the programme they know they need to change and they’re committed to doing this now.”
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