A number of progressive administrators and policy makers realize the importance of teaching emotional intelligence skills to police officers. This is because, as studies have shown, an officer’s job is only 5% apprehending suspects and the rest involves report writing, investigations and interacting with the public.
Many say we have a serious police problem in America. But, this is not true. Our police are doing what we have asked of them, even though they are neither trained nor equipped to perform many of those tasks.
Law enforcement agencies are under intense pressure to change; corrections for its inability to significantly reduce recidivism and its high costs; police agencies because of over aggressive officers and their hostile relationship with minority communities.
What makes the PPS invest two and a half years in this training? We will answer these questions and how other prison systems can establish this kind of ongoing training.
The security and safety of any correctional facility is directly and inextricably linked to the health and maturity of its internal working culture. The culture of a facility describes how staff interact with each other, with inmates, with outside people, etc. The more mature the internal culture, the higher the morale, productivity, creativity, teamwork [trust and cooperation], communication and institutional control.
To understand the process by which the immersive-experiential methodology impacts attitude, it may be helpful to explain how the brain works [as we understand it today] and how attitudes are developed. An external [or internal] event or stimulus occurs and the brain first processes it subconsciously in the amygdala, our fight-flight-freeze center, which determines if there is danger.
One training design has proven itself with staff development training as well as inmate rehabilitation; it is the Attitude Transformation Model Training. Research proven, this model has been shown to be effective in a number of prison systems. The rationale for its success and examples of its impact are reviewed in this article.
The Alternatives to Violence Project [AVP] has been very effective at changing attitudes and behaviors, reducing anger, increasing empathy and reducing recidivism. Focusing on this last outcome, reducing recidivism, it is generally accepted that there are nine criminogenic risk factors that are predictors of recidivism.
The Pennsylvania Department of Correction’s (PA DOC) did a Parole Violator Study. The study showed the critical importance of pro-social/emotional intelligence skills for successful re-entry. The Immersive-Experiential © training design has proven very effective as an Emotional Intelligence inoculation.
Excerpts from “What Works in Corrections; Reducing the Criminal Activities of Offenders and Delinquents” A meta-analysis of thousands of studies by Doris Layton MacKenzie.