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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Counselling services in relation to prisoners' needs : a study of a sample group of inmates from the Westgate Unit of Oakalla Prison Farm in relation to programme planning for the Haney Correctional Institution, B.C., 1957 Penny, Harry L.


The purpose of the thesis is (1) to determine the social and psychological needs of a group of "more reformable" inmates of the type who will eventually make up the population of the new Haney Correctional Institution at Haney, British Columbia, and (2) to determine how custodial and casework staff might best meet these needs through the medium of counselling. In order to accomplish these objectives, a sample group of seventeen inmates from the Westgate Unit in Oakalla Prison Farm was selected on the basis of certain criteria set up by the Planning staff of the Haney Correctional Institution. These inmates were studied intensively by widely varied methods, including personal interviews, group sessions, review of case files, and interviews with staff. This research technique proved to be unusually effective and it was possible to get a very complete picture of each of the men studied. The findings indicated that most of the inmates had serious social and psychological problems that seemed to call for a concentrated programme of treatment. The custodial officer who has close daily contact with the prisoner was seen to be the 'key' person in the helping process. It was seen, too, that although the main share of counselling inmates must fall on the social caseworker, some inmates are not amenable to casework help but do need some kind of counselling. The custodial officer is the best person to give such lay counselling, which should therefore be considered a most important part of his job. Nevertheless, it was seen that he needs training, experience and supervision to play this role effectively. The need for team work of the highest order between the custodial officer and the social caseworker was seen as vitally important.

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