The psychology of a failing jail: Jail as an abusive and sexually abusive foster 'family' for 'children' with multiple trauma - Implications for rehabilitation (1995)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. Psychology
This thesis considers the failure of the Washington, DC jail to rehabilitate its criminals. The data come from a diary kept during 25-months of participant jail observation. The theory is based on a synthesis of the following concepts: 1. the power differential between different social groups; 2. order, energy/mass, time and space, which are the basic concepts of physics; 3. the similarities between physical and psychological trauma; 4. the principles common to the care of all trauma and 5. the Death Spiral, a process in which severely injured people cannot behave safely and must, over time, either injure themselves and/or other people. The theory proposes that adult criminal behaviour is to a very great extent the expression of severe, neglected childhood psychological traumas, most of them arising from severe abuse. The theory further proposes that the DC jail's failure to rehabilitate criminals arises from its failure to provide a safe environment. This violates the first principle of trauma care. The theory is tested by comparing it to the data about the legal system, the jail administration, the employees and the inmates. The data show that the administration of the jail behaves like a well-intentioned but neglectful, abusive and sexually abusive head of an abusive foster family. The inmates are the jail family's foster 'children'. The jail fails to rehabilitate them because it recreates the very conditions that originally caused their unsafe behaviour. The data also show that many inmates are massively injured and thereby trapped in a Death Spiral. But hurting others, or oneself, remains a matter of personal choice and social permission. Inmates who survive by endangering and exploiting others had no motivation to change because the criminal system rewards them in many different ways. The thesis suggests that a safe environment and fairness are fundamental to all criminal rehabilitation and could be offered to every inmate as follows: 1) by outside supervision of the jail to ensure non-abusive jail 'family' function; 2) by providing special units for severely injured self-destructive criminals who have a strong motivation to change; 3) by providing criminals who endanger, harm and exploit others only with a safe environment, good modelling by jail employees and self-help opportunities; 4) by offering substantial support to employees who face many of the same problems that criminals face.
RightsCopyright Elizabeth Morgan
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Is it time to consider “good lives” for families? : an exploration of family experiences of using professional systems, family social support needs, and the implications for families whose sons have engaged in harmful sexual conduct. Evans, Nikki (University of Canterbury, 2020)The discovery that a young person has engaged in sexually harmful behaviour tends to become a significant, negative life event for parents, caregivers, or family members who have responsibility for raising that youth. In ...
Gobind, Teracia (University of Canterbury. School of Health Sciences, 2013)A prospective, exploratory study examined the relationships between birth family contact factors and long-term placement outcomes for children who are in foster or kinship care in New South Wales. The present study utilized ...
Integration of social and emotional information processing within an interview format for young children: age effects and associations with regulation and behaviour : a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Child and Family Psychology in the University of Canterbury by Rebecca Ann Dowling Dowling, Rebecca Ann (University of Canterbury. Health Sciences, 2014)The role of emotion within the reformulated Social Information Processing (SIP) Model of Children’s Social Adjustment (Crick and Dodge, 1994) has not been well investigated, particularly for young children. A developmental ...
Foster carers' perceptions of planned respite care and the perceived psychosocial effects for foster children. Cooper, Anna Katherine (University of Canterbury. School of Health Sciences, 2014)A qualitative study was carried out to explore foster carers’ perceptions of respite care and their perceptions of the psychosocial effects of this service for the children in their care. In order to achieve this aim an ...
Quake aftermath: Christchurch journalists' collective trauma experience and the implications for their reporting. Scanlon, Sean Kevin (University of Canterbury. School of Language, Social and Political Sciences, 2014)On February 22, 2011, Christchurch-based journalists were jolted out of their normal work routine by a large 6.3 magnitude earthquake that killed 185 people, wrecked the city and forced reporters to reappraise their ...
The role of dissociation in encoding and retrieval of an analogy trauma narrative : implications for understanding posttraumatic stress disorder. Clark, Tanja C. (University of Canterbury, 2021)Only a portion of people who experience a traumatic event go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One avenue to reduce the significant impact of PTSD is to understand the underlying mechanisms of the development ...