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Bid to cure prison's worst psychopaths.

Byline: By Louise Redvers

A ground-breaking scheme is rehabilitating some of Britain's most dangerous inmates at a North East prison.

HMP Frankland in Durham houses a number of the country's worst violent and complex psychopathic offenders.

But staff there are using revolutionary techniques to treat them and tackle their personality disorders and hope eventually it will lead to their safe release into the community.

The Chromis programme run from the prison's Westgate Unit has been designed to reduce violence and target risk factors associated with psychopathic offenders.

Senior principal psychologist Gill Attrill said: "It can be really hard for the offenders to see what's in it for them because often they don't think there is anything wrong with the way they live their lives.

"The difficulties identified in them are things they may even see as their strengths. They could believe that you would live your life like they do if you weren't so scared of the consequences.

"Chromis aims to give them the skills and motivation to reduce their own risk and to maximise their potential pro-socially without harming others."

She added: "The long-term aim is to try and get these offenders down to a lower level of security.

"Ideally we will get to the stage where they can be released safely into the community, with suitable support and monitoring procedures in place."

Psychopathic prisoners treated at the Westgate Unit are manipulative and pathological liars and often display grandiosity and superficial charm.

They are callous, have a lack of empathy or remorse and little depth of emotion or sense of duty, loyalty or responsibility.

Many have a condition known as Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder. High-profile examples include Michael Stone, who was convicted of murdering mum and daughter Lyn and Megan Russell in rural Kent in 1996.

Chromis is being run at Frankland and Rampton Hospital, where Ian Huntley was held before being convicted of murdering Soham schoolgirls Holly Chapman and Jessica Wells.

Offenders have one-to-one and group therapy sessions with a team including officers, psychologists and nurses.

Clinical lead at the Westgate Unit Julie Luther said: "We're really trying to get a better understanding of them as a person and find out what they care about.

"It might be really important they have a sense of control or autonomy, or that they feel they have a meaning in life.

"By developing new ways of viewing the world and skills such as problem-solving and conflict resolution, they can still achieve these things but in a way that's not too harmful to others."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 25, 2005
Words:423
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