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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82632 Find in a Library
Title: Participation of Inmates in Decisions About Placement in Certain Institutional Areas
Journal: Monatsschrift fuer Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform  Volume:63  Issue:6  Dated:(December 1980)  Pages:322-330
Author(s): J Baumann
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: Programs allowing inmates a degree of self-government and a say in the selection of co-inmates within a correctional living group are permissible under West German law and have been successfully tried at the Berlin-Tegel institution.
Abstract: The correctional plan prescribed at placement for each offender specifies the type of institution, but leaves options for choice among inmate programs available at the facility. Advantages of inmate self-governing living groups are higher self-esteem and responsibility derived from involvement in decisions concerning one's own and the life of the group. Furthermore, given a say in the admission of new members, inmates are likely to choose persons compatible with their group, its activities, and therapeutic goals. Decisions concerning the composition of a group are made jointly by treatment and correctional staff as well as by inmate peers. Justice authorities retain the right to intervene. The pilot program was instituted in a separate wing of the facility, where 60 to 65 residents were accommodated in four living groups with their own communal areas. Inmates had a choice of therapies with an analytic or group dynamic orientation, social training, citizenship education, arts and crafts, and sports activities. Entering the program was voluntary, but firm commitments were required of individual members regarding personal therapy, work and study goals, and the communal rules. The program involved volunteers from a citizen group who lobbied intensively for maximum inmate self-determination. Inmates, volunteers, correctional administrators, therapists, and justice department representatives negotiated and finally agreed upon a detailed set of living-group regulations delineating the rights and responsibilities of everyone concerned. These state that the goal of the correctional living group is to achieve a treatment-oriented correctional setting based on democratic self-determination, mutual tolerance, and shared responsibility. Footnotes, references, and the text of the contract are given.
Index Term(s): Germany; Group therapy; Inmate self-government; Inmate social programs; Prisoner's rights; Treatment/Therapeutic Community
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