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A survey of the women's division, Oakalla Prison Farm, B.C., 1958 : the beginnings of a treatment program Butterfield, Jenifer Grace (Munday)

Abstract

There has been considerable dissatisfaction among prison authorities and other interested persons concerning the work and recreation programs of prisons in that they do not result in the rehabilitation of the delinquents incarcerated, but rather, that approximately 70 per cent return to prison. A correctional prison program must satisfy the needs of both society and the individuals concerned. This thesis undertakes a review of the total program at the Women's Division, Oakalla Prison Farm, B.C., to assess how far progress has been made in (a) providing an overall atmosphere of treatment while, at the same time, (b) meeting the custodial requirements of a provincial gaol. The method followed includes a detailed study of (a) the facilities and staff, (b) the inmate population, and (c) the routines of work and recreation. Their relation to the current administrative philosophy is historically and empirically assessed. Some case studies have been examined in order to demonstrate what effect, if any, the program has had on individual women. Although there have been studies and experiments of programs in correctional institutions, little attention has been paid to the peculiar needs of women in prison. The problem is to set up a program which at its simplest level will help the women to take responsibility for their own lives, to develop emotionally and socially and to provide them with education and skills that will enable them to take an acceptable place in the community. It is the conclusion of this study that, at the Women's Division, excellent use has been made of the existing facilities in the planning of a full program. The majority of the staff are interested in their work and with adequate leadership could function under a treatment scheme. What seems to be lacking, however, is a conscious structuring of the program and use of staff in accordance with accepted principles of treatment. There is a need for communication among administration and staff and inmates of the purposes and goals of institutional procedures.

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