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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78213 Find in a Library
Title: Who Needs Whom? Social Therapy on a Trial Basis
Journal: Monatsschrift fuer Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform  Volume:63  Issue:5  Dated:(October 1980)  Pages:263-277
Author(s): P Albrecht; F Lamott
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 15
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: The effectiveness of the experimental social therapeutic institution for offenders with particular personality problems in Erlangen is assessed by analysis of patient selection criteria, treatment methods, and institutional problems.
Abstract: The purpose of the study is to establish whether the West German law requiring special treatment for disturbed offenders can be realized in practice. The study findings are derived from patient records and from the reactions of institutional personnel to the results of the data analysis. Study findings suggest that patients selected and retained for treatment are predominantly middle-class. Problem cases that need special treatment because of socieconomic disadvantages in their background are less likely than educated and trained individuals to receive social therapy. Staff members argue that if the law were carried out to the letter, they would only deal with therapy-resistant offenders with little hope of rehabilitation. These selection criteria are influenced by political and administrative authorities' aversion to failure and persistent conflicts between custodial and treatment personnel. Specific treatment methods have scarcely been developed, and differences in treatment are quantitative rather than qualitative. Families are rarely involved in treatment. The personnel appear resigned to the institution's resemblance to an ordinary corrections institution and to their inadequate methods. This situation has a negative effect on the professional and institutional identity of the therapeutic staff. Principal problems are the general confusion surrounding the goals of the institution and the tendency of therapists to blame failure on custodial staff. The custodial personnel face the difficult task of balancing control and therapy functions without a clear picture of what either entails. As the Erlangen institution does not provide real social therapy, no empirical results about treatment effectiveness can be provided. Rather than developing methods to fit the disturbed clientele, the institution seeks to recruit 'ideal' clients who may help the institution solve its problems. In the end, the question of what severely disturbed offenders need for rehabilitation is ignored. A bibliography of approximately 30 entries is supplied.
Index Term(s): Correctional facilities; Correctional Officers; Custody vs treatment conflict; Germany; Involuntary treatment; Offenders; Program evaluation; Social classes; Social reintegration
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