THE WATCHER AND THE WATCHED by

THE WATCHER AND THE WATCHED

By
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KIRKUS REVIEW

One of the areas continually under attack in recent years has been our prison system. We have been told that prison can only punish unreformable criminals or, alternately, that only social change can help. This book breaks many of these stereotypes. Cormier is a psychiatrist with 20 years' experience in prisons. For six years, he and a group of therapists from McGill University worked in New York's Dannemora, trying to understand and help improve the institution through group and individual therapy sessions with guards and prisoners. Their apparent success points the way for future efforts in this area. One conclusion is that ""despite what looked like an ongoing, irreversible pattern"" of criminality ""there were in fact crucial saturation points at which intervention might have helped"" many inmates. This period usually occurred when repeating offenders ""consciously became aware of disappointment and failure, not only as criminals"" but in their interpersonal relationships. At this point, ""many return to prison, not because they are anti-social, but because they cannot find a way out."" Both systematic therapeutic help and social aid is suggested. Cormier emphasizes how well both guards and prisoners responded to more open styles of communication. He also offers guidelines on the particular problems of psychological workers in jails. For a professional audience, a convincing presentation.

Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 1976
Publisher: Scribners