Monday, 8 February 2010

And so it begins

Last Friday, I started my SOGP course.

There are 9 guys who range from "sexual activity with a relative" to "distributing indecent images", all of whom come from around the county. The youngest is in his twenties, the oldest in his sixties.

And we have 2 female facilitators...

This is something that never ceases to amaze me - why are all the facilitators female? In prison they were female, on Probation they are female. Do they think that women taking an interest in my sexual behaviour will make it more difficult for me to justify it?

Anyway, we were introduced to concepts like "inappropriate sexual thinking" - who defines what is inappropriate for me to think about? And the Finkelhor model is used to show how how the offender has Cognitive Distortions. But there's no consideration for the fact that the facilitators also have Cognitive Distortions. Yes, that's the same "Finklehor" model that's been discredited by Bruce Rind et al. I suppose that explains why this programme is no longer accredited.

Not only that, we were shown that the programme is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Yes, that's the same CBT that should be an approved, accredited programme run by or under the direct supervision of a qualified psychologist. Which neither of your facilitators are - I asked them. And there isn't a Chartered Psychologist supervising the county programmes either. Hmmm...

Today, having been shown the Finklehor model, we were asked to fit our offending into it. And I can't. The reason I can't is because I don't recall my offending. This is, apparently, a Cognitive Distortion that is well known to practitioners in Forensic Psychology. But it doesn't change that I can't explain what I can't remember! But, apparently, lack of memory is grounds to breach someone, and recall them to prison.

Hmmm, not according to my solicitor, it isn't! And since this loss of memory is precipitated by the prescription drugs I was on at the time, as supported by a Forensic Psychiatrist, I fail to see how the unqualified facilitators can press the point.

The best thing is, they seem to think that, because I was caught offending once, I have been offending continuously since I was 13, and probably a lot more seriously than what I was tried for. But what I did only became offences in 2003, so I couldn't have been offending before then, no matter how much they might not like what I was doing!

So I might well decide to pull out of this discredited, and, frankly, worthless course. Because I know what I need to do to ensure I don't re-offend, and I've been doing it for the last 5 months since release, without any support or distraction from Northants MAPPA or Probation, who are currently a chocolate fire-guard!

In fact, the most useful thing the Authorities could do is let me get a job, one of the main 7 pathways to resettlement. But no, they won't even let me pull pints in the Earl of Dalkeith - how many under 16 girls am I likely to meet working behind a bar, I ask you?


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