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“Correctional Treatment and the Human Spirit”

Braswell, Michael C
June 4, 2015

Source: (1989) Federal Probation, pp.49-60. June.

To be part of a justice system that is more humane for both the community at large and for the offender, correctional treatment must refocus on the power of relationship as a priority for positive change. This refocusing will require treatment staff to view treatment technologies as a means to an end rather than as an end in themselves. Within this framework, the counselor or other professional becomes the primary model for demonstrating self-discipline to the offender rather than using various technologies to act on the offender while evading the technologies’ implications. An experiential model known as PACTS is a catalyst for exploring the positive potential of the human spirit in correctional relationships. PACTS is an acronym for paradox, absurdity, choosing, transcending, and significant emerging. Paradox can be described as when things are not what they seem, and absurdity occurs when persons perceive no rationality in their lives. Choosing involves deciding whether to try to change. Transcending consists of accepting responsibility for one’s current circumstances and envisioning how circumstances could change. Significant emerging involves understanding more clearly the costs of the choices being made and making more meaningful and positive choices. The relationship between the counselor and client is crucial in facilitating positive change under the model.


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