The effect of life skills instruction on locus of control in adult male inmates

Ann Marie Conerly

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of life skills instruction on the locus of control of inmates who participated in the Basic Life Skills Program at South Mississippi Correctional Institute. The concept of locus of control has been determined to be a critical factor in the rehabilitation of criminal offenders. Offenders are more likely to have a successful reintegration into society if their locus of control is more internally oriented, meaning that they take responsibility for their situation and believe that they can make positive changes in their lives. The Basic Life Skills Program is an intensive ten-week program for inmates within one year of release which deals with issues such as problem solving, values clarification, effective communication, family issues, self image, and conflict resolution. This study employed a quasi-experimental design, with one group acting as a control group and the other group serving as the experimental group, which participated in the life skills program. The groups were pre-tested and post-tested using the Prison Locus of Control Scale, which includes the following scores: (1) Total Locus of Control Score; (2) Control Issues Subscore; and (3) Self Efficacy Subscore. It was discovered that there were statistically significant differences between the scores of the control and experimental groups with regard to all three scores. The experimental group showed great improvement in each of the three areas, indicating that upon completion of the program they felt more in control of their own circumstances and believed that they were able to make the necessary changes to improve their chances of success upon release from prison.