Dr. Alison Granger-Brown, business administration instructor in the University Canada West MBA program, has been invited to address the Senate of Canada Committee of Human Rights.
She is an expert in the custody and care of prisoners, who have experienced childhood trauma. She will make her presentation on Aug. 11, 2018 at the Best Western Plus Regency Inn Conference Centre in Abbotsford, BC.
“I work with Corrections Canada and BC Corrections on intervention with vulnerable prisoners in the prison system,” said Dr. Granger-Brown. “I help prepare them for reintegration into society after they leave incarceration by enabling them to develop effective work and life skills.”
The senators are making a cross-Canada fact-finding trip this summer to investigate human rights conditions in Canadian prisons.
The fact-finding tour originated in a commitment by the federal government to look into the conditions of vulnerable populations, especially the Indigenous, women and people suffering from mental illness, in the prison system. Granger-Brown said a focus on the punitive aspect of prison is bad for both prisoners and corrections officers.
“Most of the people in prison are suffering from the effects of traumatic abuse in their childhood – physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse,” she said. “And many of these prisoners also experienced very little or no parental direction early in their lives.”
Trauma in early life often leads to symptoms of personality disorder or mental illness later in life.
“Many of them exhibit anti-social coping strategies, including criminal behavior,” she added.
To help prison correctional officers understand the often hard-to-deal-with behaviors of post-trauma prisoners, Dr. Granger-Brown has developed training programs for them.
“The programs explain the causes of the prisoners’ acting out, so that the correctional officers don’t take it personally, or punish them or segregate them from other prisoners,” Dr. Granger-Brown said. “Neither of those strategies work and, in fact, are counter-productive.”
Dr. Granger-Brown’s name was put forward to the Senate committee by the University of British Columbia’s Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education (CCPHE), where she has been an independent co-investigator for several years. The CCPHE is a group committed to encouraging and facilitating collaborative opportunities for health, education, research, service and advocacy, to enhance the well-being and reintegration of individuals in custody, their families and communities.
The centre was founded in 2006 to address the distinct needs of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals.
At her presentation, Dr. Granger-Brown will make a 15-minute address on early childhood trauma and its impact on adult life to the senate committee, followed by a 45-minute question-and-answer session.
University Canada West is a business focused university in the heart of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. UCW offers both online and on-campus Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication, Associate of Arts and MBA programs. For more information email [email protected].
WRITTEN BY PETER CAULFIELD