Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

On Morality: Proposal for a Program for the OCI Based on Moral Development Theory:Classification and Treatment by Moral Development Level, by Dr. G. Harry McLaughlin (1974), continued


The administration must delegate clearly defined authority to the unit including, at the minimum, the power to control internal discipline in matters such as tardiness in arriving at groups or leaving a mess in the unit.

The number of inmates in the programme must be limited to between 10 and 30 with the ideal being between 15 and 25.

Selection of Correctional Officers for the programme should be made from among volunteers, with an eye toward staff compatibility, and Unit Management should interview candidates. Unit staff members must also be selected for flexibility and willingness to share some authority with the inmates. Inmates must participate voluntarily, represent a cross-section of stages, and have at least several months still to serve in the prison.

Inmates who volunteer should be made aware that their participation will involve a willingness to accept new responsibilities and new ways of relating to inmates and staff.


Staff and inmates must participate together in establishing rules of the unit.

Training for and discussion by groups should occur before the constitutional convention under the guidance of the programme trainer.

The constitutional convention should last until all rules have been discussed and approved by staff, inmates and administration, and should be marked by patience and willingness to discuss all issues.

All members of the programme, staff and inmates, should meet together every few months to renew the constitution and revise the rules.


The Unit is governed by community meetings in which every inmate and staff member of the Unit has an equal right to call meetings, to voice opinions, and to vote on decisions.

Meetings are held at least once a week, and there should be time available for optional extra meetings at least once a day.  Attendance at meetings is mandatory.

There is a strict rule of confidentiality with staff making clear the nature of revelations concerning which they will not feel obligated to maintain confidence.

No subject should be forbidden.


Small groups deal with personal problems of importance to inmates. All discussions in groups is confidential, even between groups. Groups meet two or more times a week on a regular schedule. Membership is permanent and attendance is required.

Groups not only seek to help their members solve problems, they also try to make them aware of the social and moral aspects of those problems.

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