Effects of Five Minute Intervention on correctional staff attitudes, ability and motivation for rehabilitation and job-related outcomes

Dr Julie Barkworth1, Dr Mark Howard1

1Corrective Services NSW, Sydney, Australia

Rehabilitation has typically been viewed as the responsibility of specialist teams, but Mann et al. (2018, p.3) argues that “everyone in prisons has a role in rehabilitation and the whole regime has the potential to support or undermine this outcome”. The Five Minute Intervention (FMI) project was developed in the UK to promote a positive rehabilitative prison environment through turning everyday conversations between correctional staff and inmates into meaningful interactions that inspire hope and motivate change (Tate et al., 2017). FMI training equips staff with a range of rehabilitative skills to engage inmates and challenge criminogenic attitudes, beliefs and behaviours (Vickers-Pinchbeck, 2019). It is expected that staff who are better able to make sense of the complex causes and functions of criminogenic behaviour are in turn able to better cope with the emotional and psychological impact of managing those engaged in such behaviour (Vickers-Pinchbeck, 2019). Corrective Services NSW has recently introduced FMI training for all correctional centre staff across the state. The current study aims to establish whether FMI training contributes to improving staff perceptions on a range of outcome measures that will assist in establishing a positive rehabilitative environment. To achieve this, we conducted multiple rounds of surveys with large cohorts of custodial staff before and after FMI training, in addition to staff who had not engaged in training. The surveys asked staff about their attitudes to prisoners, motivation and ability to support offender rehabilitation, and their perceptions of job demands, job stress and job satisfaction. The study highlights the impact of training on staff and has important implications for developing evidence-based best-practices for providing staff with skills that will contribute to a rehabilitative culture.


Julie Barkworth is a Snr Research Analyst at the Corrections Research, Evaluation and Statistics (CRES) unit of Corrective Services NSW. She is an experienced corrections researcher, contributing to projects on procedural justice, prison social climate and rehabilitative culture.

Mark Howard is Manager of Research and Evaluation at CRES. He is a forensic psychologist and has previously worked in offender assessment and expert evidence matters for the NSW Criminal Courts. He is currently engaged in a number of research projects, with interests in violence within prisons, sexual offending, mechanisms of change in offender treatment, and program evaluation.


Dec 09 2021