Constructive interaction between employees of penitentiary institutions and inmates

Julius Dermontas, Ramūnas Liutikas


The problem of contructive interaction S  S1 between penitentiary workers and inmates is a topical issue in Lithuania today. The essence of the constructive interaction is empathy, and the aim of the interaction is to make the members of the interaction more cooperative with each other by solving personal and social problems of inmates. The opposite effect to that interaction - one-way relationships, stimuli  reaction (as behaviourism suggests), brings about unnatural and abnormal behaviour, both of the trainers and their trainees.
The aim of the article is to set the peculiarities of the interaction between the employees of the penitentiary institutions and inmates, and anticipate the penitentiary activities and educational interaction.
The research has proved the hypothesis that the satisfaction of personality’s needs of inmates by work and their capabilities to solve their personal and social problems improve the human relations between the staff and the inmates, encourage them to change and behave better, and not to commit crimes again, and thus public security is strengthened.
The hypothesis that the empathy prevails the relations of the staff of correctional institutions and the inmates was not proved. There was no correlation established between the concerns of the staff and the inmates in the research of 1980-1990 (up to the Restoration of Statehood). Impersonal interaction with empathy lacking predominates. Unfortunately, concerns of the inmates did not become the concerns of the staff of the correctional institutions. This triggers aggressiveness of both the staff and the inmates. Educational-psychological qualification of the staff should be updated (qualified social workers are necessary in correctional institutions for the creation of effective correctional programs and for the provision of educational-psychological help).
Since constructive interaction between the staff of correctional institutions and the inmates is regulated by the laws, more efficient legal base for the correctional process is needed. The experience of foreign countries should be considered. The research shows that the Code of the Treatment of Prisoners, or Correctional Code (not the Punishment Code) must be adopted as soon as possible. Penal policy must be improved by social development and solution of personal problems. Alternative sentences must be applied more often (restorative justice, probation and parole - correctional inspectorates).
Particular attention should be paid to the creation of humane interrelations between the staff of correctional institutions and the inmates, train wide-profile specialists for correctional institutions who worked as a team.
The years from 1990 saw the implementation of innovations in Lithuanian penitentiary system, the changing of custodial sentences into non-custodial ones. However, it would be preferable to have a faster process of innovation.


interaction; social interaction; empathy; constructive interaction; restorative justice; probation; parole

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789