Prison-based peer-education schemes
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Historically, peer programs have been utilized in school and community settings to address a range of health issues such as HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, and youth violence. However, in terms of offender rehabilitation, the change process has generally rested upon professional staff, with little formal consideration of the powerful positive influence that offenders can have on fellow offenders. This paper, therefore, suggests that prison-based, peer-led programs have something to offer to correctional organizations. First, we explore the theoretical underpinnings of peer programs, followed by a general overview of the scarce empirical research on correctional peer programs in the areas of HIV/AIDS and health education, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault/offending, prison orientation, and suicide/violence prevention. The discussion then focuses on the difficulties of implementing such programs, as well as their overall appeal for fellow offenders, peers, and the organization itself. We conclude that while preliminary reports of offender-peer programs are positive, controlled research is lacking. To aid in the development of such programs, and promote further research, we provide an outline to effectively implement and evaluate peer programs. It is further concluded that such innovations are important to the future of offender rehabilitation policies and practices.
Aggression and violent behavior
Criminology not elsewhere classified
Psychology not elsewhere classified