Salavation Army delivers programme to prisoners

The Salvation Army recently facilitated a faletalatala (place to be solution focused) alcohol and drug psychoeducation treatment programme for Tanumalala prisoners.

The programme was done in partnership with the Samoa Police and Prison Service and run over a six week period according to a statement issued by The Salvation Army.

A first cohort of 25 inmates graduated from the programme with each graduate giving their personal testimony as to the impact that the programme has had on them, in terms of educating them on the harmful consequences of alcohol and drugs while preparing them for their return to society.

The programme assists inmates to obtain relevant and factual information along with tools and strategies that will assist in removing or reducing harm associated with alcohol and drug use and support their reintegration back into the community.

The topics covered included facts and effects of substance use; goal setting; the law; the wheel of change model; cognitive behavioural therapy and relapse prevention; as well as recovery fellowship, which is the spiritual component of the programme.

Clinical supervisor and team leader, Sailivao Aukusitino Senio, said that addiction is everyone’s business and that they are very appreciative of the opportunity to deliver treatment within the prison setting.

He commended the Police and Prison Services for their insight to include an addiction programme within the prison setting.

This sentiment was echoed by one of the graduates who said that The Salvation Army programme has built a bridge between himself and the challenges that he was facing.

“While I am in prison it has really helped me and made me reconsider my pathway to do the right thing,” the graduate said.

Another graduate said: "Every time the Clinician spoke about the consequences of alcohol, I felt ashamed and emotional because 100 per cent of these learnings were me. 

"That was the exact me before I came here. I wish I had engaged earlier in this programme and got the advantages before I was arrested.”

“Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is quite relevant to me. I think most of the time I make mistakes because of false cognitions, especially when I am under the influence of alcohol," said another graduate.

"I have learnt to think positively, make wise decisions and behave with good manners.”

The Prison Programme Coordinator Motunu’u Teofilo Mikaele thanked The Salvation Army for bringing the programme to the inmates in the prison.  

“This is the first time a psychoeducation programme has been conducted in Prison,” Motunu’u said.  

“All the participants have talked highly of the programme through relationships formed with The Salvation Army team, not just through the lessons learnt from the content of the programme, but also through worship and prayer."

Motunu’u is of the view that the skills and tools that the programme has equipped the participants with will be of value to their rehabilitation and transformation.  

“We look forward to continuing this partnership with The Salvation Army for years to come, so that we can support our vulnerable people with their transition back to their communities,” Motunu’u said.

One of the graduates added that he is of the view that the reason of re-offending is because they are hiding the truth of their poor behaviour.

“Unless we are educated to be honest and accept our transgressions, it is then that we are able to escape from our past and move on,” the graduate said.

It is intended that the programme will be delivered to the full prison population over time, prioritising those who are due for their release back into the community.

The Salvation Army also provides a 16 session intensive treatment programme titled Faleola O Tupu (House of life and growth) for parolees.

This programme also supports safe integration into society with the aim of being free from the harmful consequences of substance abuse.

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