7 Crim. Just. & Behavior 3 (1980)

handle is hein.journals/crmjusbhv7 and id is 1 raw text is: 




GUEST EDITORIAL



ETHICAL PROBLEMS IN

PRISON PSYCHOLOGY



FLORENCE W. KASLOW
Hahnemann Medical College,
American Board of Forensic Psychology, Inc.

T he therapist functioning within or as a consultant to a prison
     often seems to be hovering on the tip of a sharp, high preci-
pice and pulled in many directions, by seemingly oppositional
forces. The perch seems tenuous, undergrounded-the sense of
precariousness heightened by one's ambiguity about being in this
position. Let us use Lewin's concept of a life-space diagram (1935)
to understand the key elements in the environment of the psy-
chologist functioning within the correctional system.
   Placing the therapist in the center of his workaday world (see
Figure 1) and moving outward, he is to some extent beholden to
the prison by which he is employed and by which his salary is
paid. He or she may have to wrestle daily with: (1) Can one ethi-
cally be part of a system that perpetuates terribly substandard
living conditions? (2) Are one's efforts to improve the physical
and emotional climate within the prison sufficient to justify being
there? (3) Can a person actually engage in treatment in prison,
with a captive population, many of whom deny guilt and do not
consider themselves mentally ill? (Kaslow, 1979); (4) Should one


Author's Note: This article was originally written for presentation at the
American Psychiatric Association annual conference, May 15, 1979, in
Chicago, Illinois.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND BEHAVIOR. Vol. 7 No. I. March 1980 3-9
 1980 American Association of Correctional Psychologists

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