In article <6mks36$ou...@cantuc.canterbury.ac.nz>
math...@math.canterbury.ac.nz "Bill Taylor" writes:
> |> David Longley wrote:
> |> > I rely on my professional reputation and
> |> > skills for my employment as a consultant.
> I'm sure we all REALLY hope that a lot of Longquote's potential customers
> are reading this ng, so they can see what the rest of the world thinks
> of this crackpot!
> BTW, do Longwind and Jorgensen agree on anything? Or are they different
> types of crackpot?
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----
> Bill Taylor W.Tay...@math.canterbury.ac.nz
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----
> Of COURSE you're entitled to your own opinions, just keep them to yourself.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----
OK.. substantiate this. Explain how and why what I have posted
here deserves to be treated in such terms. Or is abuse and
rhetoric all you have to contribute here.
I have provided references to support what I have written, and
the main work I refer to was developed over 10 years of practcial
research and development.
Have you actually read anything I have referenced?
The views expressed in these volumes are those of the
author and may not represent the views of the Prison
Service. Any corrections, comments or requests for
further copies should be sent to the author.
'When taught arithmetic in junior school we all learnt
to add and to multiply two numbers. We were not merely
taught that any two numbers have a sum and a product -
we were given methods or rules for finding sums and
products. Such methods or rules are examples of
algorithms or effective procedures. Their implementation
requires no ingenuity or even intelligence beyond that
needed to obey the teacher's instructions.
More generally, an algorithm or effective procedure is a
mechanical rule, or automatic method, or programme for
performing some mathematical operation.'
N.J. Cutland (1980)
Computability: An Introduction to recursive function
Ch 1:Algorithms or effective procedures
Title: PROBE System Specification
Overviews and Introduction
Origin: D Longley, Principal Psychologist, Activity Services
Date: September 1994
PROBE - The system specification by David Longley, DIP. Volumes 1 to 3.
The first three volumes of this work are daunting, challenging
and clearly represent a great deal of thought, study and
consideration on the part of the author. It is also rare that a
prison psychologist faces a document of such weight when asked to
read a colleague's work. This is the first thing that
differentiates David Longley's work from that of the average
prison service psychologist (should such a person exist). The
other differences become apparent as this work is read, and the
reader gains the impression that he is imploring them to
reevaluate their role in the organisation. The tasks handed down
by our many leaders and managers do not appear in the scheme of
work as defined in this document, and there is a problem for the
reader. Does this work fit in to the current ways of working, and
if not, could it, and should it and how can it be made to ? By
reading this document one is forced to ask such questions, and as
Longley makes his own position clear, so one is forced to answer
In Volume 1. Longley sets the scene by raising issues which
practising psychologists commonly avoid facing: 'judgment', 'base
rates' and 'Bayes Theorem', 'intension and extension'. He
introduces the subject of logic, which few undergraduate
psychology courses address and this psychologist feels instantly
anxious. He then goes on to illustrate just how important such
issues are, and then how difficult they are to deal with.
Crucially he uses illustrative examples from the psychological
literature (Wason, Johnson-Laird p.17) and reminds us of those
undergraduate lectures where we were praying that the teacher
would not ask us what the answer was. Funnily none of mine ever
did, but always made some quip about 'I'm sure you all know the
answer, which is of course....'.
What Longley also does is explain some of the basis for practices
which counter his logical, scientific view; 'socially conditioned
(induced) intensional heuristics'. The power of such conditioning
should not be underestimated. When professionally applied
psychology does not equate with academic psychology, as is
superbly illustrated on page 27. the applied psychologist is
faced with a dilemma. Answer the question or change the way we
work. Longley tells us to change the way we work as otherwise we
behave like the subjects in the academics' work. He also offers
to help us change the way we work and holds up the PROBE project
as a (the) 'relational system to provide the requisite
distributional data upon which to use the technology of
algorithmic decision making'.
This introduction leads in to an introduction of the Sentence
Management project which is carefully explained as the focus of
behaviour change in the prison system. This is a great relief for
those of us who wonder about the wisdom of a world where group
work is seen as the agent of behaviour change and other
activities as mere 'work'. It is difficult to imagine how anyone
could argue against the proposal that the contingencies in the
work place are important in shaping prisoners' behaviour and that
they should be used to have a maximum effect on 'offending'
behaviour. Here Longley makes his claim on the focus of work, and
the requirement of continual assessment and evaluation.
Allied to this is his point about 'inhibition' of behaviour as
contrasted with 'learning' (page 36-7). Despite so much evidence,
our society appears to have retained faith in the suppression of
undesirable behaviours by the use of punishment or other means.
By focusing on new behaviour Longley presents the alternative,
the development of new skills using principles of reinforcement
and assessing the effects using distributional data. What every
psychologist must surely argue for in the criminological context
(?). He states: 'At present we don't even keep systematic records
of what we do with inmates in activities. How can governors
effectively manage prisons, .... if nobody systematically knows
what they are doing with inmates ?'. This argument does not aline
against the 'what works' literature, but presents a simple
argument; that to know what effect the prison system is having on
the behaviour of prisoners we must record what environmental
conditions they are living and operating in, and how they are
responding or behaving. The only way to do this is systematically
and then we can demonstrate 'suppression' as well as 'learning'.
In the footnote of Volume 1. Longley quotes an Open University
source which notes that .... 'human judges did not like the
results'. This comment typifies reactions of professionals to
arguments in favour of increased actuarial judgement. The fact
that the 'results' are 'not liked' is not a reason for rejecting
the validity of the work however, and the need for professionals
to understand the issues debated here are likely to become
increasingly important as the Prison Service comes under further
public and political scrutiny through its transition into agency
status. When asked how decisions are made, an actuarial judgement
may provide better results (all the evidence suggests so), and
may be easier to defend (using an argument of probability rather
than 'cause' or 'similarity to another case' etc.).
I will not comment on Volume 2. (An empirical illustration) other
than to say that the reports reproduced here provide large
amounts of information in a format which requires some discipline
to read. This will count against an argument for such as system
in a world of 'executive summaries' and 'sound-bites'. Managers
and other prison staff will require an amount of guidance to use
the rich information provided by this system and that task should
belong to psychologists. Such guidance demands a high degree of
understanding however, and reminded me of the difference between
describing your own research to colleagues, where one has had the
opportunity to explore the details of the data beyond that
presented in the final report, and that of describing someone
else's research, which usually involves incomplete statements and
unsure assertions when memory flounders.
This is a real issue for a system which aims to provide as
automated a process as possible and will demand a great deal of
disciplined work among psychologists to achieve the required
understanding. This is perhaps constrained by the difficulties of
training people to use actuarial methods (e.g., Nisbett and Ross
quoted in Volume 1.).
Volume 3. marries together the academic background and the
practical illustration in what is probably individually the most
useful of the three volumes. Longley states in the early
paragraphs: 'no disrespect is intended to any practising field
psychologists....' and yet this material challenges virtually all
working practices of psychology in the Prison Service. The reader
is left with the impression of a purely bi-polar argument whereas
others working in this area have sought smaller shifts in
practice. Clearly not all current practice is 'folk psychology'
although that which corresponds with 'operational behaviour
science' as defined by Longley is largely confined to research
work. The fact that psychologists may well feel fairly defensive
about their professional standing (in comparisons with 'hard'
sciences and medicine for example) does not help Longley's cause
here. The value of the PROBE/Sentence Management system is that
it provides a 'value free' approach and rejects rhetoric.
Unfortunately the conviction of this document may be
misinterpreted as rhetoric by those who have not read the
literature on actuarial and clinical judgement, the contribution
of logic to the development of science and the debates between
philosophers of science.
It is also doubtful whether many psychologists working in the
field (for whom this document largely appears to have been
written), will have considered other issues Longley presents in
Volume 3. For example, many psychologists will not have been
exposed to arguments against confidentiality in a counselling
relationship. The British Psychological Society Code of Conduct
presents an ethical view which is difficult to equate with
Longley's. It could be argued that the least use of this document
is in stimulating debate among practising psychologists about
issues we commonly choose to ignore or take for granted.
A further issue emerging from Volume 3. is that it is not only
professional psychology that is caught up in the operation of
'folk psychology'. Every professional and inhabitant in the
system is a practising folk psychologist (as those of us who work
in establishments are only too aware), and 'helpful extensional
strategies' (p.26) will challenge all. Operating within the
PROBE/Sentence Management system will always require challenging
the everyday explanations of others in the system, and while such
explanations may well be the legitimate target of academic study,
they may also be the largest constraint of all. Once again this
is not an argument against Longley but another area where
enthusiasm is likely to be limited.
On page 31, Longley goes further, and led me to realise what a
sobering thought is presented by his vision of criminological
psychology. That is, what a scientific approach offers is less
than an artistic, creative, solipsistic psychology, not more
than. Just as 'folk physics' can explain all of the physical
world without resorting to evidence, and the concept of 'faith'
rests purely on the absence of evidence, so 'folk psychology' can
operate with enormous potential. All behaviour can be explained
(albeit retrospectively) and all effects on behaviour can be
isolated. 'Theory' does not need to go through the tortuous
routes exercised in 'hard' science; it can simply be written down
with the aid of a few well drafted diagrams.... The fact that
folk psychology is non-science is unlikely to make it
unattractive and the effects of 'social conditioning' mentioned
earlier are unlikely to be positive. One thing that actuarial
judgment gives you is a sense of how wrong you are likely to be
(probabilities again). Folk psychology can explain away anything
without presenting a need to recognise errors; in folk psychology
all 'effects' have 'causes'.
Throughout Volume 3. Longley presents critiques of others' work.
Well informed criticism is likely to be viewed as altercation in
this context, however carefully source material is quoted and
evidence cited. It might have been beneficial to present the
PROBE project as a positive and integral part of the task facing
prison psychologists rather than a 'competitor within'. For
example the role of a relational database containing information
on the attributes and behaviours of all prisoners within the
Dispersal/Cat B system presents an ideal base for systematically
evaluating group programme work (such as the sex offender, anger
management and thinking skills programmes). A research design
could simply be designed around the data, with control groups
providing little difficulty as the database is designed to
contain data on *all* cases, not a sample. The PROBE system could
also be argued to support the 'Key Performance Indictor'
information used to assess prisons. Governors could use standard
reports about the nature of their populations and changes over
time to point to the performance indicators (actuarially)
underlying KPIs. It is probably frustration that prevents purely
positive argument, and the political will within the prison
service (as is political will anywhere) is no respecter of
In Volume 3. Longley presents some neat turns of phrase that make
his work appealing... On page 240 he says '... behaviour science
and management is the business of the Prison Service, just as
medicine is the business of the Health Service'. While this is
undoubtedly true, it may not be respected by those operating (in)
After reading these three volumes one is left with a sense of
hope for the PROBE system. It is hard to deny that psychology
faces a difficult future without a firm scientific base, and
despite the resistance to 'science' in the field of psychology,
the need for evidence (such as in efficacy of treatments) and the
need for improvements will demand this work be done. It may well
transpire that it will not be psychologists who are asked to do
the work, but 'IT experts' who are not trained in any
behavioural/psychological theory. The consequences of such will
be major. Psychologists are placed in a privileged position in
his volume. Longley argues that the combination of training in
psychological theory and methods, access to information systems
and the support of the Prison Service will lead to an effective
applied behaviour science. It is to be hoped that they (we) are
to be given the chance.
PROBE - The system specification by David Longley, DIP. Volumes 1 to 4.
In my view the Profiling Behaviour (PROBE) system offers Prison
Service Managers a unique facility which, if utilised
appropriately and to its full potential, through the employment
of specially trained behaviour scientists, may provide the
Service with the means of achieving its goals and in so doing,
ultimately its Vision:
"To provide a Service of which the public can be proud
and will be regarded as a standard of excellence around
Goal 1:To Keep Prisoners in Custody
It is well known that a major problem for the Prison Service at
this point in time is how to deal with the failure of prisoners
to return to custody following the granting of Home Leave. This
is equally as acute when we consider the difficulties associated
with the granting of Temporary Release.
Poor decision making is extremely costly in such instances and
does little to bring the Service closer to achieving its Vision
where the Public is concerned.
The PROBE Home Leave Actuarial Risk Assessment procedure could,
if fully developed, provide managers with a model to assist and
perhaps even ultimately replace, the judgements of the
individuals that constituent the Home Leave Board.
It is obvious that the convening of Boards is expensive, both in
terms of time and money. Therefore the development of a computer
model which produces results at least as effective and perhaps
even more effective than any Board, must be an attractive option
to any forward thinking manager.
In my view therefore, behaviour scientists should be given the
time and resources to fully develop such a system, so that
managers could be provided with probability estimates of any
prisoner belonging to a Home Leave failure group. Such a system
should ultimately be extended to include the development of a
model for use with prisoners to be considered for Temporary
Obviously, it is a nonsense for such a system to be restricted
only for the use of those working in Dispersal Prisons. Indeed,
it is establishments at the other end of the security category
(ie. C's and D's) which are likely to benefit most from the
development and employment of such a system.
Goal 2:To Maintain Order, Control, Discipline and a Safe Environment
The maintenance of order, control and discipline within our
prisons and the creation of a safe environment for both prisoners
and staff to live and work in, are fundamental requirements for
the success of the Prison Service of the future. The Public,
particularly in recent years, in the aftermath of the Strangeways
and Wymott riots, has been made all too aware of the consequences
of the breakdown of control and discipline and of staff and
prisoners fearing for their safety within the prison setting.
Inevitably then, they will look to the Service to devise improved
methods of control, which will substantially reduce the
likelihood, or at the very least improve our preparedness for,
order breaking down within our prisons.
In my view the PROBE Behaviour Monitoring Control and Allocation
Profiles provide the Prison Service with one such method. The
PROBE system's capacity for generating individual behaviour
profiles, producing aggregated population data, producing
establishment profiles of adjudications, analysing behaviour
checklists based on staff observations and the producing of
thematic and spatial maps, are facilities which are, at the
present time, unique and which, if utilised to their full
potential, offer managers a level of insight into the nature of
their populations never before available to them.
Whilst the development of such procedures and routines has, to
date, been concentrated in the Dispersal prisons, experience
would suggest that lower category prisons and Local prisons would
benefit equally from the installation of such systems. The
investment of resources into the full development and extension
of such systems would have as its payoff a valuable Management
Information System which might serve as a basis for making better
operational decisions relating to the maintenance of control.
Goal 4:To provide Positive Regimes which help prisoners address
their Offending Behaviour and allow them a full and responsible
life as possible
Goal 5:To help prisoners prepare for their return to the
If the Prison Service is truly to become a Service "regarded as a
standard of excellence around the world", then it is critical
that it develops Regime opportunities for prisoners that impact
on their offending behaviour and prepares them for their return
to the community. Currently the Service has no systematic
information and knowledge concerning the true impact of Regime
opportunities on prisoners behaviour.
The PROBE Behaviour Modification System (Sentence Management &
Plans) in my view seeks to readdress this problem by affording
managers the opportunity of monitoring the impact of Regime
Activities on any individual's behaviour on a monthly basis. Such
measures of behaviour can also be compared against Residential
behavioural measures. The system, by routinely identifying
prisoners who are performing well or poorly for any given
Activity and\or Residential Unit and placing these alongside
individual control measurements (ie. NIC, S-Factor), allows
managers to make decisions regarding the setting of appropriate
short and long term targets, which seek to impact directly on
behaviour and against which the progress of the individual
prisoner can be measured across time.
The operation of such a system, if properly resourced, would in
my view, offer the Service its best opportunity to date to
monitor its progress in achieving Goals 4 and 5.
PROBE - The system specification by David Longley, DIP. Volumes 1 to 4.
CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF PROBE SYSTEM SPECIFICATION
The PROBE System Specification provides for the first time a
comprehensive description of the ideas behind and practical
implementation of PROBE. It includes everything from the
'Academic Context' of the work to detailed listings of the
complex retrievals and batch files needed to make the system
function. It is unfortunate that this high quality document was
not available several years ago. In my opinion, the academic
background section could have been presented as a short summary
of the concepts behind PROBE and a representative sample of
references to work done in this area. I would suggest that over
intellectualising has at times detracted from a clear
presentation to psychologists and governors of what, despite its
complexity, is basically a practical database application.
Volume 2 describes in detail how the Sentence Management system
can be used and what results can be derived. Some of the graphs,
particularly the line graphs are difficult to interpret due to
attempting to represent too many establishment data sets on one
In volume 3, section 1 provides a clear and useful account of
some general system issues, database structure, training,
efficiency, costs etc. Section 2 describes some of the major
current applications of PROBE. It demonstrates the usage of
across establishment analysis of transfers and adjudications. The
information on Spatial Mapping should be particularly useful to
field developers. Section 3 covers the results which are
obtainable from the sentence management system.
Volume 4 is in my opinion the core of the System Specification.
It describes with clarity and detail all the inner workings of
field and headquarters nodes. While the overall structure of the
wide area network is described, it might be easier to visualise
it, if it were presented in a diagrammatic form. Similarly, the
operation of the overnight routines may be more quickly
assimilated by a software maintenance engineer if they were
accompanied by some form of system flowchart.
The PROBE System Specification provides a comprehensive account
of the work which has lead to the current state of development of
the database and supporting routines. In itself it forms an
important part of the PROBE system and will prove invaluable to
those who will develop and maintain the system in the future.
PROBE - The system specification by David Longley, DIP. Volumes 1 and 2.
PROFILING BEHAVIOUR (PROBE) SYSTEM SPECIFICATION VOLUMES 1 & 2
This document describes a framework for facilitating the use of
systematic information as a basis for making decisions which are
central to the operation of any prison establishment. Volumes 1
and 2 will prove challenging and thought-provoking to anyone with
a professional interest in the management of prisons.
The first volume describes the academic context for the
development of the PROBE relational database. It demands the
reader to focus on fundamental aspects of the management of
prisons and invites a re-appraisal of some of the current systems
of operation. Approaches to the assessment of prisoner behaviour,
the organisation of activities for prisoners and the role of
Applied Criminological Psychology in prisons come under scrutiny.
The complex and lengthy development of arguments in this volume
can be daunting and require focused concentration in order to
gain an appreciation and understanding of the content. However if
the reader perseveres the guiding principles behind PROBE are
made explicit thereby setting the context for subsequent volumes.
Volume 2 provides a clear and accessible account of how the PROBE
system can be applied in a prison situation. The detailed
examples successfully illustrate the potential usefulness of the
database. There are convincing demonstrations of the way the
system has been used at different levels of the organisation -
from the day-to-day population management of individual prisons
to the development of a broader perspective across
establishments. The reader is also prompted to think beyond the
specific examples and recognise how use of the system could be
extended to play a key role in a range of central tasks carried
out by establishments. These may include the evaluation of
activity programmes and Key Performance Indicator performance.
PROBE - The system specification by David Longley, DIP. Volumes 1 to 3.
PROBE: THE SYSTEM SPECIFICATION
I recently asked a colleague what was the difference between
PROBE and LIDS, she said 'PROBE is like a history book that is
updated every day and LIDS is a daily paper rewritten every day.
In this simple statement she has captured a lot. It is well
known that the best indicator of future behaviour is past
behaviour and therefore the history book will be of more use to
us in monitoring and shaping inmate behaviour than the daily.
I was asked to comment on this System Specification for PROBE as
someone who has worked with PROBE since its arrival in the field,
and therefore in a position to judge if it truly reflects the
Reading this document is hard work, principally I felt this is
caused by the frequent use of references in the text. The
content itself is both logical and accessible (bearing in mind
the first comment), and the depth of analysis is considerable.
It's not just a description of how a series of PC's are linked
together to collect data. It is an explanation of both how the
PROBE system functions and why it functions in that way.
Since joining the Prison Service I am aware that there is a more
positive/constructive attitude within Prison Psychology. Much of
this has come about with the rejection of the 'nothing works'
philosophy. This has led to the development of regimes and
behaviour modification programmes, and evaluation of this is made
possible by PROBE.
Why should you read this - I would encourage you to read this
document because it will help you to re-evaluate your current
practice. I would particularly recommend volume 1 pages 50-76 on
Clinical vs. Actuarial judgement. In the days of open reporting
both internally and for the Courts, it could save you many
PROBE - The system specification by David Longley, DIP. Volumes 1 and 3.
The PROBE system has the potential to enhance the management and
reform of prisoners and thereby to assist the Prison Service in
achieving its aim of helping prisoners 'to live law abiding and
useful lives in custody and after release'. As such, far from
being scaled down, it should be maintained in the prisons in
which it is already in place and, when possible, extended
throughout the system.
As I understand it, PROBE can help the Service to meet its aims
through improving predictions. The PROBE system is capable of
making predictions about an individual's future behaviour and
about the effect of particular experiences on future behaviour -
and to do so more accurately than people. PROBE is thus able to
enhance decision making in relation to prisoners by improving
predictions concerning the outcome of such decisions. The
potential implications of this in terms of improvements in the
management and reform of incarcerated offenders are profound and
far-reaching. Armed with an enhanced ability to predict the
outcome of home leaves, governors' decision making in relation to
home leave applications would be improved. Likewise, better
predictions about the effects on recidivism of particular regime
elements would lead to better matching of prisoners to activities
and so, ultimately, to reductions in re-offending.
PROBE makes predictions as follows:
(i) Data are collected and stored in a relational database,
relating prisoners's behaviour at time t with their behaviour and
experiences up to time t.
(ii) These data are analysed, using the technique of logistic
regression, to produce prediction equations in relation to
particular behavioural outcomes.
(iii) Data on an inmate about whom a prediction is to be made is
fed in to the relevant prediction equation, which is then
computed, generating a prediction about the likelihood of a
particular outcome occurring.
Humans can not, Longley suggests, make such accurate predictions
as PROBE. This is because people can not store or process as much
information as a computer and, unlike computers, peoples'
information processing is subject to all manner of biases and
In addition to describing, and making the case for, PROBE,
Longley makes a number of other observations.
x Information concerning mentalistic states, events and processes
can not be used in making scientifically supportable predictions,
both for empirical and logical reasons. Empirical considerations
include, most obviously, the fact that prisoners can not be
relied upon to tell us the truth, especially when, as they often
do, they have a vested interest in not telling the truth. The
logical problem with mentalistic statements in science can not be
summarised succinctly, but is clearly explained by Quine and
others (cf Word and Object, Quine, 1960).
x What within the Prison Service lifer management system has been
called "risk assessment" involves human judgement which, as
noted, it is suggested, is of only limited value. In addition,
Longley argues that identifying to prisoners behaviours which are
supposed to be indicative of continued risk will lead to
suppression of those behaviours and thus to the illusion of
change where none has occurred.
x In attempting to generate long term change we should, Longley
argues, take advantage of all that is available within a prison
regime, and not just special programmes. This could only be done
however if backed up by an actuarial decision making tool such as
PROBE to help match experiences to prisoners' needs.
Many have said that they do not agree with what Longley is
suggesting. It is difficult for those who believe that they have
special powers of insight to accept his claims. Unfortunately for
them, Longley provides copious, and I believe incontrovertible,
evidence in support of his claims. The implications for prison
psychology are clear:
1 PROBE should be maintained and, when possible, extended
throughout the system;
2 "Risk assessment", and indeed any form of clinical judgement,
should be abandoned;
3 Whilst special programmes may have their place, the focus of
attempts to modify prisoners' behaviour should be extended to
encompass the entire prison regime - something that PROBE may,
ultimately, allow us to do.
I have recently been involved in evaluating the National Anger
Management Group, using a conventional random allocation
controlled study (Shepherd, 1994). A more appropriate way to have
conducted such research, would have been to use the PROBE system.
Using PROBE would remove the need for data to be collected
specifically for the purposes of evaluating the programme, and
would allow us to answer many of the questions the current study
leaves unanswered, without the need for elaborate and time
consuming experiments. It would even remove the need for a
control group, and all the practical and ethical problems that
Behaviour profiles before and after treatment could be examined
for those attending the programme. If their profiles were to
evidence a consistent discontinuity between pre and post
treatment, this could reasonably be attributed to an effect of
treatment. The magnitude and longevity of any discontinuity would
provide a meaningful measure of the magnitude and longevity of
As well as providing profiles of behaviour, the PROBE system
holds a variety of other information, (such as offence type,
previous convictions and previous custodial experience). Once a
sizeable number of prisoners had been treated, a logistic
regression analysis could be conducted to identify groups of
prisoners with regard to whom the programme might be
differentially effective, and allow any such differences to be
quantified. Identifying which, if any, elements of the programme
are its "active ingredients", would be less straight-forward, but
could be ascertained by comparing, with the effects of the full
version of the programme, the impact on behaviour profiles of
variants of the programme from which particular elements had been
The PROBE system could also be used to shed some light on the
issue of how any "active ingredients" of the programme might
work. If the programme has an impact on disruptive behaviour via
improved anger management, behaviour would also be expected to
change in other ways, consistent with reductions in the frequency
and intensity of anger - where such changes would, if they
occurred, be reflected in changes in the behaviour profiles of
the prisoners concerned. Likewise, if, as it is suggested,
reductions in anger are achieved in part by improved conflict
resolution and avoidance skills, this too would be expected to be
reflected in prisoners PROBE profiles.
o o o End Reviews o o o
Finally, before moving on to the introduction, here are some
comments from a) a past Director General, and b) an independent
outside consultancy group on the PROBE system and its management
prior to the writing of this System Specification, and prior to
the rather radical decisions about the system's future which were
made in early 1994.
I mentioned to you (and to Mr Y) the excellent presentation
that DPS had given me a fortnight or so ago on their work in
developing PROBE. This is just to put on record the
suggestions that I made to them and passed on to you and Mr
The need to give a similar presentation on PROBE to the
various dispersal prisons groups (including senior members of
the Cat A section) so that everyone at the relevant
management levels is fully seized of the value of the
material that is available - you may think it useful to give
the material to a wider audience.
25 June 1990
'Before launching into the recommendations, this report
wishes to stress that fundamentally, PROBE offers an
extremely high level of service to its users within the field
Psychology Units. They have access to significant computer
processing power, to a powerful and flexible database
management system and they can use some sophisticated
software facilities for research and analysis work.
In addition, there are surrounding controlling processes for
transferring data between sites, plus they have access to
their own and other units' data, which have been implemented
so as not to interrupt the basic service provided during
normal working hours. Much of the credit for this must go to
DIP2 in developing such a sophisticated operating environment
over the years and to their commitment in running this
operational system now.'
(p.38, Hoskyns Report September 1993).
Management of PROBE
Finally, because of the current production nature of PROBE,
serious consideration has been given to recommending that the
system should be handed over to be run by PSITG. PSITG would
then become responsible for day to day system management,
help desk support, training, etc, with DIP2 being able to
concentrate on research and offering only specialist advice.
Although the staff within DIP2 would then be able to
concentrate on research, there would still be a staff
requirement within PSITG to run the system. Such a move would
therefore have a cost implication, with perhaps little
benefit from an improved service.
As an entirely pragmatic approach, it is concluded therefore
that the system continues to be run by DIP2, but with a
Project Board to provide direction and ensure that the system
meets the needs of all users within Headquarters and
(P.42, Hoskyns Report, September 1993)
'We think of a science as comprising those truths which are
expressible in terms of 'and', 'not', quantifiers, variables,
and certain predicates appropriate to the science in
question....To specify a science, within the described mold,
we still have to say what the predicates are to be, and what
the domain of objects is to be over which the variables of
W.V.O. Quine (1954)
The Scope and Language of Science
The Ways of Paradox and other essays p.242
G W Leibniz (1679)
'Thus we have arrived at something fundamental: our
conventions regarding the use of the words "not" and "or" is
such that in asserting the two propositions "object A is
either red or blue" and "object A is not red," I have
implicitly already asserted "object A is blue." This is the
essence of so-called *logical deduction*. It is not then, in
any way based on real connections between states of affairs,
which we apprehend in thought. On the contrary, it has
nothing at all to do with the nature of things, but drives
from our manner of speaking about things. A person who
refused to recognize logical deduction would not thereby
manifest a different belief from mine about the behaviour of
things, but he would refuse to speak about things according
to the same rules as I do. I could not convince him, but I
could refuse to speak with him any longer, just as I should
refuse to play chess with a partner who insisted on moving
the bishop orthogonally.
What logical deduction accomplishes, then, is this: it makes
us aware of all that we have implicitly asserted - on the
basis of conventions regarding the use of language - in
asserting a system of propositions, just as, in the above
example, "object A is blue" is implicitly asserted by the
assertion of the two propositions "object A is red or blue"
and "object A is not red."
In saying this we have already suggested the answer to the
question, which naturally must have forced itself on the mind
of every reader who has followed our argument: if it is
really the case that the propositions of logic are
tautologies, that they say nothing about objects, what
purpose does logic serve?
..logical propositions, though being purely tautologous, and
logical deductions, though being nothing but tautological
transformations, have significance for us because we are not
omniscient. Our language is so constituted that in asserting
such and such propositions we implicitly assert such and such
other propositions - but we do not see immediately all that
we have implicitly asserted in this manner. It is only
logical deduction which makes us conscious of it.
If I have succeeded in clarifying somewhat the role of logic,
I may now be brief about the role of mathematics. The
propositions of mathematics are of exactly the same kind as
the propositions of logic: they are tautologous, they say
nothing at all about the objects we want to speak about, but
concern only the manner in which we want to speak of
them....We become aware of meaning the same by "2+3" and by
"5", by going back to the meanings of "2," "3," "5," "+," and
making tautological transformations until we just see that
"2+3" means the same as "5". It is such successive
tautological transformation that is meant by "calculating";
the operations of addition and multiplication which are
learned in school are directives for such tautological
transformation; every mathematical proof is a succession of
such tautological transformations. Their utility, again, is
due to the fact that, for example, we do not by any means see
immediately that we mean by "24 x 31" the same as by "744";
but if we calculate the product "24 x 31", then we transform
it step by step, in such a way that in each individual
transformation we recognize that on the basis of the
conventions regarding the use of the signs involved (in this
case numerals and the signs "+" and "x") what we mean after
the transformation is still the same as what we meant before
it, until finally we became consciously aware of meaning the
same by "744" and by "24 x 31."
..at first glance it is difficult to believe that the whole
of mathematics, with its theorems that it cost such labour to
establish, with its results that so often surprise us, should
admit of being resolved into tautologies. But there is just
one little point which this argument overlooks: it overlooks
the fact that we are not omniscient. An omniscient being,
indeed, would at once know everything that is implicitly
contained in the assertion of a few propositions. IT would
know immediately that on the basis of the conventions
concerning the use of the numerals and the multiplication
sign, "24 x 31" is synonymous with "744". An omniscient being
has no need for logic and mathematics. We ourselves, however,
first have to make ourselves conscious of this by successive
tautological transformations, and hence it may prove quite
surprising to us that in asserting a few propositions we have
implicitly also asserted a proposition which seemingly is
entirely different from them, or that we do mean the same by
two complexes of symbols which are externally altogether
H Hahn (1933)
Logic, Mathematics and Knowledge of Nature
In Ayer (Ed) Logical Positivism (1959)
David Longley (check end reply line #)
Longley Consulting London, UK
Behaviour Assessment & Profiling Technology,
Research, Data Analysis and Training Services,
Small IT Systems http://www.longley.demon.co.uk