Title

Poster Session - Occupational Science Foundations for Promoting Meaningful Activity in Prisons

Location

Winter Garden

Start Time

16-10-2014 6:00 PM

End Time

16-10-2014 9:00 PM

Abstract

Key Words: meaningful activity, incarceration, occupational science

Globally approximately 1 in 700 persons is incarcerated, with the United States of America historically representing the highest prison population rate, nearly five times the overall world rate. Internationally prison settings are organized in such a way that they inherently dehumanize the inhabitants, due to inmates’ forced migration, as well as restriction from the outside world and optimal, self-directed meaningful activity. Furthermore, the majority of prisons around the world do not offer support systems to the inhabitants to foster occupational balance, wellness and overall quality of life. These contextual prison elements result in occupational injustice to those in the system through deprivation of resources supporting meaningful activity and creative occupation. Yet humans cannot thrive, nor survive without the promotion of innovative ability, because humans are inherently creative. Additionally, due to the inmate’s separation from their customary context, the meaning of life for an individual may be diminished, and a new sense of identity that results is often tied to fellow inmates in the prison system. When former meaning is removed from an inmate’s life, typically the person experiences a progressive reduction in self-worth. Furthermore, without support for meaningful occupations for incarcerated individuals, there may be little or no motivation to succeed, overcome the life circumstances that lead to imprisonment, or even live. This type of deficiency often leads to a cycle of recidivism and loss of hope for those who are released, yet are unable to remain outside of prison walls, since individuals need to feel of value to society in order to use time productively. Occupational Science provides the theoretical basis and evidence supporting the development of maximally holistic and individualized meaningful activities in occupationally deprived prison settings. Occupational Science evidence provides the foundation for the development of relevant interventions to ensure inmates’ accessible opportunities, free choice of occupations, occupational enrichment, and individualized competence development. Effectively applying the pedagogical scope of doing, being, and becoming to undergird interventions can facilitate the maintenance of a positive self-image, functional time utilization, and enhanced personal creativity, despite the incarcerated period of occupational disruption. Occupational science evidence is thus critical to addressing this societal need in the following areas: a) further defining meaningful occupation in confined settings, and b) understanding global applications in prison systems.

References

Farnworth, L. (1998). Doing, being, and boredom. Journal of Occupational Science, 5(3), 140-146.

Harrison, P. M., & Beck Ph.D, A. J. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. (2005). Prison and jail inmates at midyear 2004 (208801). Retrieved from Bureau of Justice Statistics website: http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/pjim04.pdf

Molineaux, M.L., & Whiteford, G.E. (1999). Prisons: From occupational deprivation to occupational enrichment. Journal of Occupational Science, 6(3), 124-130.

Woodall, J. (2010). Exploring concepts of health with male prisoners in three category-C English prisons. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 48(4), 115-122.

Yerxa, E., Clark, F., Jackson, J., Parham, D., Pierce, D., Stein, C., & Zemke, R. (1989). An introduction to occupational science, a foundation for occupational therapy in the 21st century. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 6(4), 1-17.

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Oct 16th, 6:00 PM Oct 16th, 9:00 PM

Poster Session - Occupational Science Foundations for Promoting Meaningful Activity in Prisons

Winter Garden

Key Words: meaningful activity, incarceration, occupational science

Globally approximately 1 in 700 persons is incarcerated, with the United States of America historically representing the highest prison population rate, nearly five times the overall world rate. Internationally prison settings are organized in such a way that they inherently dehumanize the inhabitants, due to inmates’ forced migration, as well as restriction from the outside world and optimal, self-directed meaningful activity. Furthermore, the majority of prisons around the world do not offer support systems to the inhabitants to foster occupational balance, wellness and overall quality of life. These contextual prison elements result in occupational injustice to those in the system through deprivation of resources supporting meaningful activity and creative occupation. Yet humans cannot thrive, nor survive without the promotion of innovative ability, because humans are inherently creative. Additionally, due to the inmate’s separation from their customary context, the meaning of life for an individual may be diminished, and a new sense of identity that results is often tied to fellow inmates in the prison system. When former meaning is removed from an inmate’s life, typically the person experiences a progressive reduction in self-worth. Furthermore, without support for meaningful occupations for incarcerated individuals, there may be little or no motivation to succeed, overcome the life circumstances that lead to imprisonment, or even live. This type of deficiency often leads to a cycle of recidivism and loss of hope for those who are released, yet are unable to remain outside of prison walls, since individuals need to feel of value to society in order to use time productively. Occupational Science provides the theoretical basis and evidence supporting the development of maximally holistic and individualized meaningful activities in occupationally deprived prison settings. Occupational Science evidence provides the foundation for the development of relevant interventions to ensure inmates’ accessible opportunities, free choice of occupations, occupational enrichment, and individualized competence development. Effectively applying the pedagogical scope of doing, being, and becoming to undergird interventions can facilitate the maintenance of a positive self-image, functional time utilization, and enhanced personal creativity, despite the incarcerated period of occupational disruption. Occupational science evidence is thus critical to addressing this societal need in the following areas: a) further defining meaningful occupation in confined settings, and b) understanding global applications in prison systems.