Design And Implementation Of Prisoner Counselling Automated System
This research work focused on design and implementation of a prisoner counseling automated system, a case study of Nigeria Prison Ikot Ekpene. The study was necessary because of the need for an automated system to aid human counselors to carry out their duties effectively. The manual method of managing the counseling information of prisoners and the evaluation/appraisal of their improvement as regards the counseling services offered to them was not capable of aiding the retrieval of needed information. The disadvantage of the existing system is that reports of prisoners undergoing counseling cannot be easily retrieved. The advantage of the proposed system is that it provides an easy way for prison counselors to manage counseling information. The software development methodology used is Object Oriented Analysis and Development methodology and the programming language used is Visual Basic 6. Use case diagram was also used to show the components of the system.
There is no doubt that delivering counseling in prisons can be extremely challenging for the counselor, both ethically and personally. Burnout happens very quickly. Counselors need to be resilient, both physically and emotionally, and have adequate means of support. On a daily basis, the counselor working in the prison environment must wrestle with a range of diverse and complex issues, including security, confidentiality and, perhaps most significant of all, how to develop the therapeutic relationship to promote psychological growth in an environment that mitigates against such processes. Prison counselors are criminal justice and mental health professionals who play important roles in the correctional system. They help rehabilitate inmates during their stay in prison and prepare them to reintegrate into the real world once they are released. Prison counselors usually have at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a mental health-related field like social work or psychology .
The aim of a prison counselor is to provide guidance to inmates when they first enter prison and throughout the duration of their sentence. The first way they accomplish this is by performing assessments on new inmates. Assessments are used to help determine an appropriate course of treatment, such as whether prisoners require substance abuse counseling, and to establish behavioral goals. Counselors gather bio-psychosocial information, meaning pertinent biological, psychological and social details, for use in compiling a comprehensive case history. In some cases, counselors may interview a prisoner’s family members or significant other to obtain additional information. The case history is provided to psychiatrists and other medical staff for use in their evaluation of the inmate .
Prison counselors also provide education, individual and group counseling to inmates. They teach new prisoners about the rules of the facility and help them adjust to life behind bars. Prison counselors offer vocational, academic, social and personal counseling to help prisoners develop new skills and cultivate insight to prevent recidivism. Counselors might provide individual counseling on issues such as depression, stress or substance abuse. They also often lead counseling and educational groups in areas like problem solving, anger issues and stress management. They may occasionally intervene in crises .
Another important task of a prison counselor is to evaluate a prisoner’s treatment progress. Prison counselors determine whether an inmate has met specific treatment goals, such as demonstrating improvements in behavior or completing educational programs. They help prepare reports and other documents regarding the prisoner’s progress, cooperation and attitude for submission to the parole board. They might also be involved in recommending disciplinary action for prisoners with poor behavior or suggesting increases in privileges for prisoners who engage in positive and acceptable behaviors .
The duties of a prison counselor aren’t just limited to clinical interactions with prisoners. Like most mental health professionals, prison counselors must usually also complete a variety of administrative tasks. They write accurate and detailed case notes after every contact with a prisoner, compile prisoner case files and fill out treatment plans. They may perform other tasks as needed, such as filling out the prisoner’s phone or visitation list and providing prisoners with grievance forms upon request .
Given this immense responsibility of counselors, there is need for them to be aided by using software systems that will enable them carry out their prison counseling responsibilities effectively.
1.1 Statement of the Problem
The following are the problems that necessitated this research to be conducted: Absence of an effective computerized system for prison counselors to manage prisoners counseling records, it is difficult to retrieve counseling progress report record of prisoners, manual management of evaluation record of prisoners as regards response to counseling, It is time consuming to update the counseling record of prisoners due to the manual system of flat file organization, difficulty in accessing counseling information materials.
1.2 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of the study is to develop a prisoner counseling automated system. The following are the specific objectives of the research:
- To provide a computer software that will ease the work of prison counselors.
- To have a software that will aid in evaluating the progress of prisoners as regards counseling.
- To provide a system that can be used to obtain reports of the prisoners undergoing counseling from the database of registered records.
- To make counseling information readily available to the prison counselors.
1.3 Significance of the Project
This project work is significant in the following ways to the prison counselor:
- It will provide a system that will aid in managing counseling record of prisoners.
- It will make available a system that will aid in managing the evaluation records of prison counseling.
- It will facilitate easy updating of counseling records.
- The research work will serve as a useful reference material to other researchers seeking similar information.
1.4 Scope of the Study
This study covers design and implementation of a prisoner counseling automated system, a case study of Nigeria Prison Ikot Ekpene. It is limited to providing access to electronic materials on different subjects of prison counseling such as drug abuse, alcohol addiction and HIV counseling.
1.6 Organization of Research
This research work is organized into five chapters.
- Chapter one is concerned with the introduction of the research study and it presents the, statement of the problem, aim and objectives of the study, significance of the study, scope of the study, organization of the research and definition of terms.
- Chapter two focuses on the literature review, theoretical background, the contributions of other scholars on the subject matter is discussed.
- Chapter three is concerned with the system analysis and design. It presents the description of the existing system, analysis of the proposed system and design of the proposed system is also presented in this chapter.
- Chapter four presents the choice of development environment, implementation architecture, software testing, documentation, user manual and source code listing.
- Chapter five focuses on the summary, conclusion and recommendations are provided in this chapter based on the study carried out.
1.7 Definition of Terms
A place of long-term confinement for those convicted of serious crimes.
A person incarcerated in a prison, while on trial or serving a sentence.
A professional who counsels people, especially on personal problems.
An assessment of performance, normally conducted regularly.
Counseling information of each prisoner that is saved to the database for future retrieval/reference.
A collection of organized information in a regular structure accessible by a computer.
Database Management System:
A software program for storing, retrieving and manipulating a database.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
This chapter presents the summary, conclusion, constraints of the study and offers useful recommendations.
5.1 Constraints of the study
In carrying out the research work, some challenges were faced that limited the study such as:
The time given for the completion of the research work was too short hence the researcher had speed up the research work to meet up and this has an impact on the study.
Few materials were found pertaining to the research area and this limited the bulk of the literature review.
The high cost of textbooks, internet browsing and transportation to different libraries to gather materials stood as a constraint to the research work.
This study examined the design and implementation of a prisoner counseling system. The impact of counseling in Nigerian prisons could be felt, if counseling is given to the prison inmates. Counseling is of paramount importance to the inmates in prisons, jails, remand homes etc. It is concluded that counseling service in prisons is a pointer to reduction of crime, elimination of criminal activities and prevention of recidivism. Counselors are attitude modifiers their services will change or modify the behaviour of prison inmates. Literacy will also enhance opportunity for the prison inmates to secure job or better occupation. Illiteracy has hindered development and educational attainment of some prison inmates. Educational Counseling will be a great assistance for prison inmates in productive employment.
Implementing an automated system for prisoners counseling evaluation will enable the prison counselors to effectively carry out their counseling activities by maintaining adequate record of prisoners undergoing counseling.
The system will also help in aiding the evaluation of prisoners behavior that are undergoing counseling. This information is valuable to the counselor to determine the progress of inmates. And it also helps in the instant presentation of reports about the prison inmates undergoing counseling.
From this study, it can be concluded that an automated prison counseling system is an important system for prison counselors to make use of to effectively carry out their duties. It will serve as a management information system both to the counselor and the management of the prison by making counseling information easily accessible.
The following recommendations are offered:
- More research should be encouraged in the direction of developing automated system for prison counseling management.
- The behavioral change of prison inmates should be evaluated regularly.
- The federal Government should implement policies that will foster the automaton of prison records
- The Federal government should control prison over-crowding by building more prisons containing libraries and educational resource centers.
- Computer programmers should be contracted to develop automated prison counseling management system
- Prison counselors need to be trained to be computer literate.
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