Corrections: Literacy and Numeracy
The main thing we have been noticing is the way that the education opportunities are being perceived by the students. They are stating how much their prospects can improve, and the value of what they can achieve while in prison. Many of the students, particularly those due for release over the Christmas break, have really been working hard to try and achieve as much as they can. Two of the students who are on the literacy programme where cleaning is the context, were asking (about halfway into the programme) about the opportunities to work in cleaning franchises and the method by which they could enter this avenue of work.
Corrections: Foundation Skills
The beginning of the year has seen an influx of new students coming into the Foundation Skills programmes at OCF. It has been great to see their enthusiasm for learning coming through, along with the realisation that learning isn’t quite as ‘scary’ as they thought. It has also been fantastic to see those students who were already established in the programmes take on the role of support persons, the old and new have blended in really well together. One new student left the class one day and was asked by a Corrections Officer how the learning was going; his reply was “It’s really good but man does my brain hurt!” He hadn’t been in the classroom for a number of years having left school at 13. Another student was incredibly wary of using the computer but after a couple of sessions he told me he had been talking to his brother, who worked with computers, and told him what he had been learning. He was really happy that they could share a conversation about it, that it made him feel closer to his sibling.
Corrections: Brief Drink Driving (Intervention)
All participants were very supportive of each other, and all offered valuable contributions to group discussions. An older participant helped a couple of the younger participants understand his perspective as a father. He explained the feelings he would experience if a drunk driver was to injure one of his children. The discussion on strategies for the future seemed helpful for all, and we began speaking of the concept in terms of "drunk me versus sober me". All had a great time using the “booze goggles” and seemed to strongly grasp the concept of peripheral vision impairment, tracking impairment, and hand-eye-coordination impairment and the effects on motor coordination. There was a great discussion during the board game which provided all participants with strategies to avoid risk. For example, one participant offered insight into strategies she uses when dealing with intoxicated friends who are determined to drive - she uses distractive tactics involving food.
Client Support Worker
A young Mum presented at the office looking for support around building a better relationship with her child’s paternal family as it was causing her undue stress and affecting other areas of her life.
As we talked the young Mum described her reluctance to let her child go to her Dad’s as she was unsure of whether he was caring for her appropriately. We established she had no doubts he loved and cared for his daughter, and that he was well supported by his parents whom he lived with. She said her daughter loved going to Dad’s.
After a lengthy discussion the young Mum admitted she needs to control what is happening in her child’s life including when she is with his Dad. I put it to the Mum that we don’t ‘own our children’ rather it is our job as parents to protect and guide them through life. I asked the young Mum if she had any care and protection concerns with her daughter going to her Dad’s. Mum stated she didn’t really she was just worried about what he did while her daughter was in his care.
The young Mum also felt while the relationship with the paternal grandparents was ok she felt they would take their son’s side when it came to any issues she would raise. This would get ‘her back up’ and cause tension for all concerned.
I reframed the young Mum’s situation reminding her of the positives of the Dad and his parents wanting to be there for their son/grandchild. We discussed how children learn from their experiences and she was encouraged to let go off the ‘control’ she felt she needed to have over the time her daughter spends with her dad. It was suggested to Mum that Dad needs to prove himself to her, however he can only do this if she gives him the chance to do so. The young Mum was agreeable to this stating she knows how much the Dad loves their daughter. Mum admitted she needed to trust Dad more and be reassured that while he lives with his parents they are also there to support to him.
At the next appointment the young Mum reported she was in good spirits stating she had taken on board what we had discussed at our last appointment as this helped her to approach her daughter’s father and grandmother differently. She reported she was open with them both and let them know that together they can give their daughter the best of both worlds. The young Mum said she felt better after talking with the paternal family about how they can work together with their daughter’s best interest at heart.