One of the things that fascinates me is the way the mid works.
This book gives a great insight into the criminal mind, but also the mind of the person that has to deal with those people.
Dr Rebecca Myers is a Forensic Psychologist who has worked with some of the highest profile offenders in the country. This is her memoir of the first few years of her career.
From day one, when she walked into Graymoor Prison as a young, new graduate, to be told she was going to be the Psychologist leading group therapy for some serious sex offenders; to the end of this part of her life where she took part in a disturbing hostage crisis.
She takes us into the sessions and we hear about some disturbing crimes, but it also shows us the thought process of the criminals, and their lack of empathy to the victims.
The sessions are designed to introduce empathy, and start the prisoner on the road to rehabilitation. Frustrating in most cases, and depending on your point of view, either a waste of time, or a valid attempt to put right a deviant mind.
The offenders are only given first names in the book, but I have a feeling I identified at least one by the description of his crimes, and I suspect a bit of research would also identify some of the others.
The book lays out the hierarchy of offenders in the institutions they are locked up in. The contempt shown to offenders by people who have carried out similar crimes, which in their opinion is worse than the crime they carried out.
Most telling is the effect it has on the prison staff. When Myers first went into Graymoor it wasn’t just the inmates who looked at her as a “piece of meat” Even in the early 2000’s she fought sexism and crudity’s from the overwhelmingly male staff.
As she starts to deal with the inmates in the group sessions it has an effect on the way she thinks and acts.
She is honest in the fact that she entered into an adulterous relationship with a colleague, before recognising his controlling behaviour as being similar to that of the inmates they are trying to counsel.
But what I find most telling, is that from the start of the book, all the way up to the last event she covers, she doubts her own ability to be doing the job. Imposter Syndrome.
She is good at her job, but like a lot of people, she considers herself to have almost stumbled from one thing to another, university, to a job in a prison, to leading group sessions, and ultimately being recalled to duty to deal with a hostage situation.
You don’t end up doing the things she’s done by not being good, it’s no coincidence that she’s called in, yet even after a “successful” outcome she still doubts herself.
I really hope there’s a part two to these memoirs. I’ve looked her up and I think she has a lot more to tell.
Trigger warning. This book is a blunt look at sex offenders and their behaviour through group sessions. There are elements of every chapter that could act as a trigger to anybody who has been subject to any form of sexual abuse.
Pages: 313. Audio Book Length: 7.58. Narrator Emma Wilkes. Publisher: Harper Collins. Available now