MAC3 Criminogenic Programme

During October, November and early December, HMA is delivering the criminogenic section of the MAC3 programme for Te Puna Wai (Child, Youth & Family). Our two people working on this project are Lawrence Seinafo and Matt Williams, and we hope this will be the first of many programme deliveries for Youth Offenders.The programme caters for ten young offenders (aged 15-17) who have a variety of charges ranging from arson to aggravated robbery to unlawfully taking motor vehicles. The foundation for the programme content was an existing HMA Youth offending programme which has been used successfully in the past. After having done ten very thorough assessments we were able to get a firm grasp of what the main issues were, and from this information we modified the content of the existing programme, to ensure it met the needs of the group of young people currently in residence.

 

As this programme is a first at Te Puna Wai (part of the government’s new initiative for high-risk youth offenders), we are expecting the process to be an iterative one, so some changes will be inevitable as we move through the six weeks.

So far, staff have been enthusiastic about the programme content and the way in which it has been put together (in consultation with the young people and staff). The programme itself will include a different theme every week and will follow a self-awareness, understanding and possible solutions type format.

As most of the boys will be released during early December, we will also be focusing on their release and the real issues that will arise over the holiday period. This will allow us to capture the essence of the work done prior to this date and allow the boys to come up with practical, realistic plans they can put into place over this high risk time. The end result, we hope, will be a reduction in offending!

Session One of the programme kicked off on 26 October and was a huge success for both the facilitators and the young people. We made the wise decision to split the young people into two groups of five as we felt managing a group of ten may become a little hectic. This ratio seems to be working well as during the first session both groups of boys contributed well and commented on how they enjoyed the relaxed nature and pace of the session.

As we weren’t quite sure what to expect from the group regarding their motivation to complete the programme, we felt it was hugely important to engage well with the boys in order to make the best possible start, and get them excited and willing to give the remaining sessions 100%. This approach seemed to have paid off as several times we heard comments like “this is really different” and “I’m keen on doing more”. In addition to this we were also told that staff may need to step in if the group got unruly, but as the group was engaged and interested we never even came close to incident. All in all, we couldn’t have been more pleased with the initial session and feel the best possible start has been made to what will be a challenging programme.

Session Two of week one will follow the same theme of engagement and relationship building and will also look at hopes, dreams and goals for the future. During this session we hope that the group will be able to identify what it is they want to do in the future as well as think about the type of people they want to be, both for themselves and for the people they are close to. Part of this session will also discuss existing strengths as well as skills and strengths that will need to be developed in order to achieve their goals.

The remaining sessions will be rolled out fully over the next five weeks with each week dealing with a common theme related to offending. The outline of the programme looks like this:

• Offence mapping
• Peer groups and how to manage peers
• Lifestyle balance
• Managing mood states, feelings and emotions
• Planning for back home – putting what we have learnt into practice

The challenge for these young people will be putting what they have learnt into practice, especially as they will be released during the Christmas holidays, which is traditionally a high risk time for youth offenders. To get the best possible outcome during this transition time, each young person will have the chance to participate in a pre-release case conference. This meeting will involve a selection of the young person’s family members, an appointed mentor, social workers and others involved in their care during their time in residence. We are hoping to have the chance to be involved in these meetings as we feel our input would be valuable and could assist in minimizing the risk of each young person reoffending.

Published on Monday, November 1st, 2010, under Announcements, Learning & development

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