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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76800 Find in a Library
Title: Sociodrama - Alternative Training in Corrections (From American Correctional Association - Proceedings, P 261-267, 1981, Barbara Hadley Olsson and Ann Dargis, ed. - See NCJ-76771)
Author(s): M Gregoric; L Gregoric
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: American Correctional Assoc
Alexandria, VA 22314
Sale Source: American Correctional Assoc
206 N. Washington St., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper discusses the theory and practice of sociodrama and describes videotaped sociodramatic sessions with a group of prison inmates and a group of parole officers.
Abstract: Sociodrama combines principles from psychology, drama, and social work with its emphasis on field experiences. The first basic psychological principle of sociodrama is role playing; the second is reverse role playing, or assuming the role of a person who behaves considerably differently in order to understand how that person feels. Many inmates have had little experience in playing roles or in being the focus of listening attention. Sociodrama can perform an important task in allowing these persons to express themselves. Sociodrama consists of a three-way conversation among a role player, a reverse role player, and a videotape camera. Structure is limited to the development of open-ended problem scenarios with no scripts or solutions. With prisoner groups, white inmates usually play the central roles initially; however, after a few weeks, participation and evaluative discussion become widespread among the group and involve corrections officers observing the sessions. Sessions arranged with staff are in some ways more difficult than those arranged with inmates because there are more options, variables, and role players, and because outcomes depend more on personal style. In this context, the purposes of sociodrama are to stimulate discussion, establish communication among levels in the system, and refine skills. Staff are asked to act out their work roles, with other staff members playing the roles of parolees. Roles may be switched during the course of the sociodrama to allow the role playing participant to experience the reverse role in order to make an instructional point. The final act in any sociodrama is to make a record which can be refined and used as a training presentation for corrections staff. Training sessions with inmates in a Connecticut prison resulted in the development of a program of inmate poetry, drama, and music which a group of prisoners and participating corrections officers took to community organizations, colleges, and universities throughout the State during five tours. Sociodramatic training programs serving staff should involve the staff training officer as a resource.
Index Term(s): Correctional staff development; Inmates; Interpersonal relations; Probation or parole officers; Professional in-service education; Psychology; Role playing; Staff development training; Training
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