Programs that Help OffendersStay Out of Prison
Programs that Help OffendersStay Out of Prison
AcknowledgementsThe Institute is grateful to those external reviewers who shared comments on this document. Their participation has enhanced the value of the information for policy makers and colleagues working in corrections.Dennis Berry, Director, Mesa County Criminal Justice Services, ColoradoBecky Hayes Boober, Ph.D., Program Officer, Maine Health Access FoundationCarol Brooks, Administrator, Research and Evaluation Division, Founder’s TrustJo Jorgenson, Ph.D., Dean of Instruction, Rio Salado College (Arizona)Shaun Nink, Graduate Student, American Military UniversityRobert Olding, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Services,University of PhoenixKen Pompi, Ph.D., Executive Director, Research and Evaluation Division, Founder’s TrustFranzi Walsh, Associate Dean, College of Social Sciences, Criminal Justice and Security Programs,University of PhoenixWe received valuable guidance and feedback on this project from President & CEO Scott Marquardt, Institute President,Roberts T. Jones, Sr. VP Corrections, Odie Washington, and commentary from Board Chairman, Dr. Robert Marquardt whoseinput helped make this document stronger. From the field, we extend thanks to the various MTC executive staff, especiallyAnita Dutson, Sr. Director, MTC Corrections Programs and Stacy Henry, Director, MTC Corrections Programs, Mark Lee, Director, MTC Corrections and Dick Lund, Ph.D., Education Coordinator, North Coast Correctional Treatment Facility (Ohio)who contributed their insight and experience to the project.We also wish to thank Carol Brooks and Sharon Ross of Founder’s Trust, a charitable and research organization based inPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who provided much of the research literature as well as a synopsis of the salient documents. Inaddition, we wish to acknowledge the contributions of Meghan Knowles and John Newhall, who, as interns, assisted by using the research to prepare portions of the initial draft of this document.Programs that Help Offenders Stay Out of PrisonPublished by MTC Institute. Copyright July 2009.Principal Authors: Carl Nink and Steve MacDonaldComments are appreciated and should be directed to Carl Nink, Executive Director at:MTC Institute500 North Marketplace Drive P.O. Box 10 Centerville, UT 84014(801) 693-2870 Fax: (801) mManagement & Training Corporation (MTC) is an international corporation dedicated to helping people realize their learning potential. MTC creates nurturing environments in which education is encouraged and recognized. MTC manages andoperates 26 Job Corps centers in 19 states for the U.S. Department of Labor, preparing disadvantaged youth for meaningfulcareers. MTC also operates 16 contracted correctional facilities across the country with approximately 19,000 beds undercontract. First Medical Management, an MTC affiliated company provides, medical, dental, mental health, pharmaceutical and records services in 15 prisons and jails. In addition, MTC has expanded its education and vocational expertise intothe international arena, working in countries such as Iraq, Sudan, Tunisia, China and Mongolia. The MTC Institute is theresearch division of MTC, which is dedicated to promoting innovations and exemplary practices and projecting trends thatare relevant to job training and corrections. The work of the Institute is geared toward a broad audience including policymakers, educators, researchers, practitioners, state and federal officials, workforce development entities, correctional agencies, and Job Corps centers.
Table of ContentsIntroduction.1Current Conditions.1The Prison Population Is Growing Despite Decrease in Crime.2Effective Correctional Programming.3Education Provides Opportunities.3Education Impacts Recidivism.4Effective Educational Program Principles.4Assessment.4Outcome Focused.5Duration and Intensity.5Instructors and Curricula.5Substance Abuse Programs Save Tax Dollars.5Effective Substance Abuse Treatment Program Principles.6Assessment.6Structure and Intensity.7Cognitive Focus.7Duration and Continuity.7Aftercare.7Evidence-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Practices.8Cost/Benefit.9Conclusion.9Appendix A - Parameters and Dimensions of Effective Programs.11Appendix B – Educational Program Research and Information.12End Notes.14MTC Institute
Programs that Help OffendersStay Out of PrisonINTRODUCTIONThe American public is growing increasingly impatient with the failure of correctional systems to significantly reduce the alarming rate at which ex-offendersare released into their communities ill-prepared toconstructively engage in employment and sociallypositive behavior. The dilemma is that, while crimerates are down, incarceration rates continue to riseat a dramatic rate. In 2007, there were over 725,000inmates released from state or federal jurisdiction.1Of those released, nearly two-thirds will be rearrestedwithin three years; the largest increase in the nation’sprisons is recycled offenders.2Sound correctional practice demands the inclusion ofa variety of programs to address the many needs ofthe inmate population (e.g. the MTC Success for Life philosophy). Such an approach includes programsprovided during the daily structured routine, that is,education, vocational training, substance abuse treatment, mental health and trauma treatment, and work.After the structured day, other programs (e.g. spiritualdevelopment, recreation, hobby crafts, library access,and personal wellness) are provided to help meet thefull extent of what is needed to deter further criminalinvolvement.The most meaningful, long-range measure of any prison’s real effectiveness is—and ought to be—success in reducing the number of of fenders who wind up back in prison once they are released.Many legislators are becoming more aware that modest targeted investments in firmly structured educational and drug treatment programs in prisons willhave a positive personal impact on the offender, significantly reduce crime and victimization in our communities, and save millions of dollars in taxes, policing, and re-incarceration. Trauma and mental healthtreatment are critical components of this process.It is also vital that correctional programs provide areentry or other transitional component, especiallyfor high-risk or high-need inmates, to enhance familybonds; support substance abuse treatment aftercare;continue or develop linkages with employers, mentors, and the faith-based community; and support thesearch for appropriate housing and pro-social relationships and activities as well.This publication will focus on education and substance abuse treatment, areas that have been extensively researched and provide evidence of effectiveness.Current ConditionsMore offenders are returning to crime and prisondespite growing expenditures for corrections. Overthe next three years, the projection is for an increase incorrections-related spending of 25 billion.4 Researchon correctional programming is growing and thereis clear evidence to support correctional programsthat work toward achieving meaningful reductions inrecidivism.The most meaningful, long-range measure of anyprison’s real effectiveness is, and ought to be, successin reducing the number of offenders who are re-incarcerated after they are released. As it is, the US corrections system has basically become a revolving door forrecycling criminal behavior, and these recycled offenders now account for 52% of the prison population.3With effective correctional programs in place, recidivism can be reduced by 26%-40%.5 This results in atremendous cost saving to taxpayers and harm reduction to potential victims by avoiding those costs andtrouble associated with re-offending. New crime andvictim costs are estimated in the billions and includeexpenses associated with police, courts, prosecution,and re-incarceration.6MTC Institute1
Programs that Help OffendersStay Out of PrisonWith offenders staying only an average of 28.9 monthsin a correctional facility,7 the likelihood they willre-offend if not provided programming will increase;the prison population will continue to rise and costswill soar as a result. Clearly, it is not a decision aboutwhether to fund correctional programming, but rathera decision about which programs are most effective inachieving their desired outcomes. 8Education in prisons is one of the most effective formsof future crime prevention. 8 More than half of theadults incarcerated in American federal and stateprisons can neither read nor write, and they have lessthan an eighth-grade education. 9 “Incarcerated adultshave among the lowest academic attainment andsubstance dependent. 13 This information is consistentwith previous research which found that only aboutone-third of inmates have substance abuse addictionsserious enough to require residential treatment.14However, there continues to be inadequate capacity inprisons for substance abuse treatment programs relative to the need resulting in shortened treatment andin few inmates receiving treatment at all. Currently,the most prevalent form of service in prisons and jailsis substance abuse education. 15The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP)conducted a systematic review of 571 rigorous comparison group evaluations of adult corrections, juvenilecorrections, and prevention programs.These reviews led to a number of conclusions regarding program effectiveness (average recidivism reductionrates) and the number of studies in the specific programarea: In-prison drug treatment (TherapeuticCommunities) – 6.9% (6 studies)In-jail drug treatment – 6% (9 studies)Cognitive behavioral programs – 8.2% (25 studies)Correctional industry programs – 7.8% (4 studies)Vocational education/training programs – 12.6 %(3 studies)Adult basic education – 5.1% (7 studies)Public policies incorporating these options can yieldpositive outcomes.8Only 41% of all state and federal inmates have a highschool diploma or GED 16 and 31% of probationershave not completed high school or its equivalent.Further, only 89% of prisoners who need remedialeducation are receiving it. 17 And even though morethan 250,000 inmates are serving time on a felony drugconviction, only 74% of America’s prisons offer substance abuse treatment to their inmates. While manycorrectional programs are important, the researchis unequivocal that both hard-core drug treatmentprograms and credential-based education and trainingprograms dramatically reduce the rate of recidivism. 18The Prison Population Is GrowingDespite Decrease in Crimeliteracy rates and the highest disability rates in U.S.society.” 10 Studies have indicated that prison education programs are “more effective in reducing recidivism than correctional work” which offenders may beassigned during their incarceration.11 Moreover, thecost of providing postsecondary education opportunities for incarcerated adults is less than the cost toimprison them, which provides a long-term savingsto taxpayers. 12The US Bureau of Justice Statistics found that whileviolent crime rates were not statistically different fromrates found in 2005, the rates had fallen by 43.4 percent from 1998 to 2007; similarly, property crime rateshad fallen for the same time period by 32.6 percent.19Despite these falling crime rates, the U.S. prison population is actually growing at an alarming rate, from744,000 inmates in 198520 to more than 2.3 million in2007.21Research indicates the estimate that nearly three-quarters of newly incarcerated inmates