Shaving a shih tzu and the thinking skills programme
TO Hertford, where Robert Davey, 26, of Cotton Drive, Hertford, is guilty of shaving his ex-girlfriend’s shih tzu dog.
Prosecutor Elaine McMillan tells Stevenage Magistrates’ Court:
“As she was walking home [from work] she could see the windows and doors were open. In the kitchen she could see a large amount of dog’s hair next to the sink. She looked at the dog and saw the hair had been cut away. “The word ‘liar’ had been scrawled across the walls, door and fridge and in the lounge and hallway. The damage to the property is quite extensive. The words were very large and written in black marker pen.”
“I definitely agree I overreacted on a large scale. My defence is I don’t like being lied to. I’m a nice person, believe it or not.”
So. The sentence:
Davey is ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation to his victim, sentenced to a 12-month community order with supervision and told to attend a thinking skills programme. He was also given a weekend curfew from 7pm on Friday to 7am on Sunday for eight weeks, for which he will have to remain indoors and wear an electronic tag.
Who is TSP for?
TSP targets male and female offenders who are medium risk of re-offending and above and are assessed as having the treatment needs the programme addresses (OGRS 3 50 +).
OGRS is the Offender Group Reconviction Scale. One programme is called CALM – Controlling Anger and Learning to Manage it. Another is called Choices, Actions, Relationships and Emotions (CARE). Another is named the Substance Abuse Programme. It’s acronym is not SAP. It’s OSAP. The Priestley One to One Programme shortens not to POOR, rather to Priestley OTO. The Rehabilitation of Addicted Prisoners Trust programme is optimistically called RAPT. Acronyms matter in the justice department. They should inspire but not judge.
TSP is suitable for offenders who have committed domestic, sexual or instrumental violence subject to appropriate consideration of group membership. TSP should not be seen as a substitute for any offence specific intervention.
What does the programme cover?
The main principles of the new Thinking Skills Programme are to reduce risk by engaging, motivating, coaching, responding to individual need and building continuity. Thinking Skills programme is a modular programme. There are 3 modules.
Self Control – In order to be effective in decision making and problem solving it is important to know when and how to stop, slow down and think things through. Self control also involves developing skills in managing emotions.
Problem Solving – The module introduces and develops skills for effectively resolving interpersonal problems. The module emphasises how these skills can also help to avoid problems, make the most of opportunities, increase choice and follow through on ideas.
Positive Relationships – In order to stick with pro social goals, ex-offenders need to overcome many obstacles. Other people can be an important source of support in overcoming these obstacles. They can also act as barriers to change. This module develops skills that help participants to access support and deal with unhelpful social influences.
Within the 3 modules the following areas of ‘thinking’ are targeted by the programme
• Stop and Think
• Emotional Awareness
• Problem Solving
• Perspective Taking
• Offence Free Relationships
• Goals and Values
• Seeing the Whole Picture
How many sessions?
TSP consists of 19 sessions ( 15 group and 4 individual sessions) plus Post Programme Review. This equates to approximately 40 hours face to face contact. Participants will complete approximately 6 hours of between session work.
Each module has 5 group work sessions (2 to 2.5 hours per session). At the end of each module there is a one to one session with the Programme Facilitator. The one to one sessions take approximately one hour.
Conditions of Success
Conditions of Success are unique to the Thinking Skills Programme. All participants have to agree to adhere to the conditions of success in order to attend the programme. It is the Offenders choice to sign up to the Conditions of Success. Without this agreement the Offender will not be accepted onto the programme and could be returned to court for resentencing. If the Conditions of Success are not upheld by the offender during the programme they will be removed from the programme and a Commitment plan will be drawn up to help the participant rejoin the programme. The Conditions of Success are discussed during a motivational one to one session with the programme Facilitator prior to the participant starting the modular programme.
The Conditions of Success asks for the following things
• Active participation – making an honest effort to learn the skills. Attending the sessions on time and taking part in exercises and completing between session tasks.
• Open participation – being open to feedback, being willing to share information about personal life – this can include information on risk and offending and can be picked up in one to one sessions.
• Supportive participation – helping rather than getting in the way of the learning and contributions of other group members.
• Respectful participation – behaving respectfully towards other participants and Facilitators.
Such is the justice that seems to as much about wasting your time as it does about education. Faced with the prospect of enforced therapy the angry man on the CARE course will either straighten out or become stark raving mad..