‘ChAnges’ program focuses on rehabilitation

In an effort to reduce recidivism rates and promote rehabilitation for high-risk offenders, the Department of Community Rehabilitation announced on Monday that it is starting a program called Change Agents in Community Supervision, an adapted program based on the existing Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision.

Dubbed “ChAnges,” the program method focuses on the development of interpersonal skills and therapeutic intervention techniques, according to government.

“In order to give clients an opportunity to change their antisocial behaviors, we have to understand the attitudes and thoughts that feed the behavior, and help them develop prosocial attitudes and thoughts,” said Lisa Malice, the acting director of the Department of Community Rehabilitation. “With this training initiative, DCR’s probation officers will be equipped to model behaviour that supports prosocial attitudes, and to identify, evaluate and discourage thinking patterns and attitudes that promote pro-criminal behaviour.”

A group of 12 probation officers completed a five-day training session on the new program last month.

The training was facilitated by Dr. Stephen Haas, Dr. Guy Bourgon, and Tanya Rugge. Government stated that the trainers will provide ongoing support to the probation officers through monthly meetings, individual feedback sessions, and refresher workshops in the months following their participation in the training, to ensure that they are effectively applying the newly learned strategies and techniques.

Probation Officer Keristin Scott, one of the two officers working on Cayman Brac, said that the new method will help her rehabilitate potential offenders on the Sister Islands.

“The training will allow myself, as well as my colleagues, to apply the risk-need-responsivity models with probationers to reduce recidivism of our clients within the Cayman Islands, as it is a generalised programme that targets many diverse populations,” she said.