The Status of Counseling in Brunei Prisons: Qualitative Exploratory Case Study
Prisons have many functions but the two major and basic ones are (1) to enhance safety and security in the society by keeping away people with dangerous criminal and predatory behaviors; and (2) reform the convicts prior to returning them back to the community as productive and useful members. Recidivism problems (relapse, or re-offending, or repeat acts) are often common partly due to the way inmates are handled while in prison and what happens to them in society upon release. Counseling and psychotherapy are procedures intended to help the prisoners to change their behaviors in desirable manners. Based on interviews, the present study found that both individual and group counseling are conducted in Brunei prisons. However, evidence suggested that the quality of counseling needed to be improved. This could be done in many ways including increasing budgetary support and providing further training to counselors. It appears that family counseling and the role of various re-integration programs need to be emphasized. This is where more attention, efforts, and priority should be directed. We recommended further mixed methods research to gain additional insights into the problem and its possible solutions.
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