THE PREVENTION OF CRIME AND THE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS IN ISRAEL: 1995 REPORT

CRIME PREVENTION: ACTIVE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM (C.P.A.E.P.)

Avraham Hemmo, Director
The Institute of Health Education – Medical Orientation, Israel

The Project

This is an educational program for personal, family and social development and for the prevention of irregular behavior patterns, which works by providing tools for actively coping with problems.

The Project, for children and adolescents, represents a systematic effort to reduce patterns of delinquent behavior by means of a series of graded, individual and group activities of a creative and active nature.

Project Objectives

1. Personal development and improvement of relations and communication with self, family, friends and community through better awareness of internal and external realities and resources.

2. Shift of locus of control, initiative and responsibility to the individual: to encourage and increase youngster’s control over their lives by self-management, personal responsibility and social involvement.

3. Reduction of the need for criminal or deviant behavior (violence, drugs, alcohol, etc.) by means of direct and indirect strategies: developing ways of coping with urban life by learning a series of coping skills (life-skills):

* Improvement of self-image and self-confidence
* Interpersonal communication
* Coping with stress, anxiety, pressure, anger
* Positive thinking and constructive reactions
* Problem solving
* Decision making
* Personal and social responsibility
* Assertive behavior patterns

The Nature of the Problem and the Causes of Crime

The Project deals with the roots of deviate behavior rather than with its symptoms.

Crime and violence may be caused by lack of balance within or between the major "life-cycles", which thus become the root of problems and increase the probability of crime. The life-cycles defined in this program are:

The cycle of the individual within himself the identity crisis, disoriented identity, problems of self-image and self confidence.

The cycle of the individual and others the interaction between the individual and his family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers. The commitment, competence and capacity of the main socializing agents – family and school have shrunk. There is a gap between the knowledge and cognitive skills stressed by teaching programs and the attention to emotional, moral and social development.

The cycle of the individual and his physical environment natural and man-made: difficult living conditions (heat, pollution, noise, population density) as well as rapid technological changes and the influence of the media.

The cycle of the individual and his social environment the growing complexity and meaninglessness of the social framework in urban society together with the decline of religion.

Project Implementation Mode, Resources and Stages

The Project is based on, and creates, cooperation between the socializing agent (school or other agency), the family and the child in an overall systemic approach. It employs existing human resources and facilities, supplying the necessary guidance (courses, workshops, teaching materials), and thus reducing the costs per child to a necessary minimum.

The Project comprises 700 units graded and comprehensive intended to take the child from the age of 5 to 18. Being modular, it can, however, be applied to any age group.

* The materials include tutors’ guides and participants’ workbooks.
* The Project includes training courses in various modes.

Duration and Steps

a) Initial tutors’ training – approximately five intensive days;
b) Workshops for children and adolescents led by the above-mentioned trained staff – in schools and other educational facilities;
c) In-service training for tutors;
d) The length of each workshop depends on the needs of the group (15 sessions is the minimum).

The Directing Agency

The Institute of Health Education – Medical Orientation, that started as a voluntary operation in 1982, now works in collaboration with the National Insurance Institute, the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Israel Defence Forces and other organizations.

Results

Research and evaluation of the project indicate both effectiveness and satisfaction. The results point to an increase of knowledge and awareness of crime prevention and a higher motivation to change attitudes and behavior.

The P.C.A.E.P. was implemented experimentally for the purposes of evaluation in twenty-six Israeli schools in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and the National Insurance Institute. The Szold Institute evaluated the program and its implementation and found that both principals and teachers were very satisfied with most aspects of the program.

Another piece of research was conducted by the Ministry of Education Evaluation Unit in hundreds of schools in Israel during the school years 1989-91. The results, which indicated both effectiveness and satisfaction, induced the Ministry to encourage the school system to adopt the program.

Transferability

Since the program is quite practical it can easily be translated and adapted to the needs of any society. The systematic materials and graded didactic approach permit rapid and efficient staff training in Israel or elsewhere. The Israel Foreign Ministry will lend its cooperation in the matter.