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Prison rage centre stage; CUSTODY: Group helps inmates control anger.

Byline: By Tony Collins

VIOLENT offenders serving lengthy sentences in prison are learning how to control their anger thanks to a Birmingham theatre company.

The Insult to Injury project, developed by Moseley-based Geese Theatre Company, successfully reduced the rage of the participating inmates who were less likely to express anger, either physically or verbally.

Psychologists at the University of Birmingham have now verified the theatre group's own findings after carrying out its own study.

A team from the university's Forensic Psychology Department has concluded that Geese Theatre's project for violent offenders produces dramatic reductions in their anger levels.

Researchers, led by criminal psychologist Prof Anthony Beech, examined the effect on 62 adult male offenders - all with a history of anger-related violent offending - from six prisons across the UK, who took part in the nine-day programme.

The scheme, designed to explore the processes of anger, aggression and violence, helped offenders to identify and then generate strategies and skills for dealing with potentially volatile situations.

Results show that intervention was associated with a significant reduction in self-reported anger among participants, who reported feeling less angry.

Prof Beech, an expert in the treatment of sex offenders, said: "The results of this study show significant shifts in behaviour.

They suggest that a drama-based approach may be a promising adjunct to traditional anger management programmes for violent offenders in prison, and the community."

The reduced feeling of anger was expressed in a questionnaire."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 24, 2008
Words:238
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