Reminiscence, continued
The Ontario Correctional Institute (OCI) was designed for assessment, treatment, research, education, and custody. It had a Superintendent (drawn from the Corrections chain of command) and a Clinical Director. The Clinical Director was Dick Meen, a flamboyant social psychiatrist – I loved his wolf hackle coat – who established a “therapeutic community” within the institution. Clinical staff answered to the Clinical Director, but both correctional staff and clinical staff were responsible for both custody and treatment. Both the organizational structure and the staff responsibilities contributed to a dynamic tension that worked extremely well, but with which “Head Office“ for uncomfortable. Consequently, it was downhill from day one. When Dick left, he was replaced by a nurse with the title of Clinical Coordinator, and when she left she was replaced by a social worker. Both treatment and research have been being eroded ever since the OCI was opened.
The first Clinical Coordinator, true to her nursing background, was more concerned about service than any of the Institute’s other mandates. So, in order to do any research, the psychology department had to neglect to tell her what we were doing. ☺
(If inmates were insufficiently socialized, I think that many of the rest of us are over–socialized. There was a certain amount of conflict between departments, and the Chief Social Worker would air his grievences with Psychology when there was an audience, rather than bringing them to me privately so tjat I could at least try to address them. Over time, that became annoying, i.e., I bothered myself about it, i,e., taking responsibility for my own distress – after all, we are not bothered by events, but by the meaning we give them. Finally, I determined to get a voodoo doll and start sticking pins in it. Shortly after that, he left for another job.)
In contrast, I was blessed to have an incredible number of great psychologists. Ray Blanchard, unlike the rest of us, could sit down and write a research proposal start to finish without it having to go through an endless series of corrections. Harry McLaughlin was an English psychologist “out visiting the colonies.” He would sometimes come to work sporting a monacle and wearing a purple jumpsuit. He was attached to one of the housing units, where he would engage the inmates in bioenergetics analysis, which I am not even going to try to tell you about (although it is a treatment method that is certainly worth knowing about).
And then there was our summer student/intern, XXXX XXXXXX. When he applied for the summer job, he made a very favourable impression, and he did a very satisfactory job throughout the summer. Later, however, people expressed astonishment; “You hired XXXX XXXXXX?!” Apparently, he had gotten himself a reputation as an out-and-out hippy during the preceeding school year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s