MC psych students wonder: Will “how to”
class on resolving conflict curb prison fights?
Does teaching conflict resolution to inmates reduce violence in prisons and jails? Does it reduce violence in their homes after they are released?
Manchester College psychology students are seeking the answers to these and other questions about the impact of conflict resolution training on inmates.
Their answers may help prisoners in Wabash and Huntington jails, and beyond – where inmates have taken classes in conflict resolution, says Dr. Marcie Coulter-Kern, associate professor of psychology. The service-learning project is part of her class in Research Methods in Psychology.
The students are working with the locally-based Education for Conflict Resolution Inc. (ECR), which holds classes in Wabash and Huntington jails. ECR Executive Director Angie Briner teaches the jail and prison classes in critical social and problem-solving skills.
MC students are applying methods they are learning to statistically analyze data and surveys collected by the non-profit. The students then will evaluate the ECR program and its potential. They also will apply to present their research to conferences of professional psychologists, which could lead to wider application (and research) of conflict resolution programs in prisons and jails, said Coulter-Kern.
Dr. Coulter-Kern received a Faculty Fellow grant from Indiana Campus Compact, which awards service learning projects that engage the community. Lilly Endowment Inc. funds the grants.