SOCIAL SKILLS PROGRAMME FOR WOMEN’S PRISON (OUTLINE)
To behaviorists, social skills are learned behavior that allow people to achieve social reinforcement and to avoid social punishment. On the other hand, social skills are a group of skills which people need to interact and communicate with others.
“One hope is to engender in women jail inmates a vision of their potential for becoming agents of change. Through this process, training efforts have the possibility of being replicated many times over and in a more powerful form because mentoring, care, and teaching can most effectively be done by “one like them.”
For example, if a woman inmate knows that substance abuse is a direct cause of her criminal behavior and that the substance abuse was encouraged by certain individuals, she can recognize her need to avoid previous relationships with peers who encouraged her drug habit and understand the value of establishing new relationships. More specifically, a woman might anticipate a situation in which she is walking down the street when a man who was a former friend and who uses illegal drugs pulls up to the curb and invites her to hop into his car. Her goal is to avoid such friends and thus avoid the temptations to use illegal drugs, so she can employ her newly-learned skills of assertiveness and say “no” to the invitation. Her goal is not simply avoidance but is a replacement of goals with more affirmative, future-oriented behaviors, attitudes, and feelings. Clearly, one need is for these women to be taught the “how” of leading a productive life that is marked by characteristics such as good communication and social skills.
In the context of incarceration, they come to a point of critiquing their lives, and many of them want to abandon any delusions they have had about themselves and confront their weaknesses. Thus, in my communication/social skill program, the trainer(s) collaboratively assists the inmates in that critiquing process and the...
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