Last year, the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advisory Panel (CSAAP) recommended that the prison service replace Core and Extended programmes with new offender behaviour programmes, Horizon and Kaizen. Both were only rolled out from August last year and I have just had my first client finish Kaizen so now finally understand what it entails. Kaizen essentially replaces SOTP, Extended SOTP, SCP and HHRP.
Kaizen is an accredited offender behaviour programme for adult males who are assessed as high or very high risk. It is for people who have been convicted of violent or sexual offences. Kaizen adopts a strengths based, future focussed approach in order to raise hope for the future. It aims to strengthen and develop successes in people’s lives through participation in activities and practising new skills. It is designed to be as inclusive as possible and does not require participants to talk about their offending – rather areas of their lives that have caused them problems. This means that those maintaining their innocence can take part, although participants do need to be willing to talk about those problem areas. I understand however that there will only be 2 places reserved on every course for those who are classed as ‘deniers’, so how easy it actually is to obtain a place for those in that position remains to be seen. Kaizen is surprisingly not available in jails you would imagine it would be. I was surprised to discover it is not available in Full Sutton for instance, a high security dispersal jail which by its very nature will contain high risk and very high risk offenders in both violent and sexual crimes. That means therefore that inmates who are recommended it will have to transfer to be assessed for the course. In HMP Liverpool for instance I was told by one Offender Supervisor that she asked if she could receive the training for it so she could at least assess the inmates without them having to move. Seems a very sensible plan which would ultimately save money, but the powers that be said no. Inmates in HMP Liverpool therefore have to transfer to Wymott just to be assessed for a course they may turn out to be unsuitable for. I asked the OS if they could be assessed by way of video link but she thought they did actually have to transfer.
There are three phases to Kaizen. The first phase, ‘Getting Going’, is usually seven sessions and takes place in small groups or on a one-to-one basis. It aims to prepare participants for the rest of the programme by sharing more information about the contents, what is expected by those who take part, and how the programme might help participants build on their existing strengths to make some changes.
The second phase is called ‘My Journey’. The amount of sessions attended depends on the needs of the participant but on average it will be around 68 group sessions (each 2.5 hours long), and 11 Supported Learning Sessions, which may take place on a one-to-one basis or in a smaller group. This phase covers three different modules in the following sequence;
1. Understanding old me and new me;
2. Strengthening new me;
3. Future new me.
It will be run on a rolling basis which means that it does not start and finish like other programmes. Participants join the group at different times and then work through the three modules at their own pace. There will be no more than 8 people in the group at any one time. My client told me that he began the course right at the beginning but another inmate joined half way through and he felt he was somewhat at a disadvantage as it was quite difficult to join an established group and begin discussing sensitive topics.
The final phase is the ‘New Me MOT’. This phase provides extra support to the graduates of ‘My Journey’ to continue to strengthen their ‘New Me’ throughout the remainder of the sentence in custody and community. It is delivered by your offender supervisor/manager at different points in your sentence, such as when you move to less secure conditions or when you are released from custody. It aims to continue to build on the learning from the ‘My Journey’ phase of the course. My client appears to have done module 3 in custody however and he didn’t move to less secure conditions so I am a little confused why he did that, at that point.
Upon completion of the course, there is a meeting between the inmate, the offender supervisor, offender manager and one of the course facilitators. Minutes of the meeting are taken so they can be given to the parole board.
My client came to our last meeting with a large folder and this had all his course work notes. The parole board have requested a copy of his my journey record and his new me life plan. I was able to see both of those at our meeting. Interestingly my client told me he has the only copies. I thought that was a little worrying seeing as they are such important documents should they be lost or damaged, but perhaps that will change as time goes on, he was one of the first to start Kaizen back in August.
My client seemed very enthusiastic about Kaizen, genuinely so, and from talking to him about the course I was impressed. He was able to articulate what he had learned from it and how he will use what he has learned to apply it to life outside. I think he will give a good account of his experience at his post programme meeting next week. After each module, they are given a document setting out how they have responded, what they have done well and if there is anything else they need to work on. My client has obviously done well as they have asked him to become a Kaizen mentor, which hopefully will bode well for his parole hearing next month.
The other course which HMPPS has been introducing, Horizon, is for men over 18 who have been assessed as medium risk and have been convicted of a sexual offence. It too takes a strengths based future focused approach and is inclusive of those who maintain their innocence. Horizon consists of 29 group sessions followed by a further 2 individual sessions.
Prisons I know who are definitely currently running Kaizen are :
Wymott, Whatton, Hull, Stafford, Moorland, Swinfen Hall
This is not a definitive list, just my own experience, I do not have clients in every jail with Kaizen recommended as a sentence plan target. I will add to the list as it becomes known to me.
I know that Liverpool do not run it and neither do Full Sutton.