Jason Clark 0000-00-00 00:00:00
The mission of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is to provide public safety, promote positive change in offender behavior, reintegrate offenders into society, and assist victims of crime. Programming and services within the TDCJ are developed with the needs of the offender population in mind. Rehabilitation programs are founded on evidence-based practices (EBP), which means that there is a definable outcome; it is measurable and it is defined according to practical realities (recidivism, victim satisfaction). Interventions within corrections are considered effective when they reduce offender risk and subsequent recidivism, and therefore make a positive long-term contribution to public safety. During FY11, 17,311 offenders completed rehabilitation programs within the TDCJ. The Rehabilitation Programs Division (RPD) serves as the centralized administration and management of programmatic activities related to offender treatment and is responsible for ensuring that all programs operate with consistency, quality, and within EBP guidelines, as appropriate. The RPD also coordinates volunteer services within the TDCJ as a function of preparing the offender for release and reconnecting with his natural community, as well as affording the offender positive, structured activities during incarceration. The rehabilitative programs provided by the TDCJ require collaboration among the Parole Division, the Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD), the Health Services Division, the Correctional Institutions Division (CID), the Windham School District (WSD), the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP), the Private Facility Contract Monitoring and Oversight Division (PFCMOD), faith-based and community-based organizations, and numerous volunteer groups and individuals. The TDCJ has identified six rehabilitation programs that have traditionally constituted the primary rehabilitation tier programs: the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility Program, In-Prison Therapeutic Community, Pre-Release Therapeutic Community, Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program, Sex Offender Treatment Program, and the faith-based InnerChange Freedom Initiative program. The BPP has a voting option called Rehabilitation Tier Voting Option, or FI-R (Further Investigation-Rehabilitation), and with such, designate that an offender must successfully complete one of the rehabilitation tier programs and comply with all elements of the Individualized Treatment Plan (ITP) prior to release on parole. A description of each program follows: SUBSTANCE ABUSE FELONY PUNISHMENT FACILITY PROGRAM (SAFPF), IN-PRISON THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY (IPTC) Placements into the SAFPF are made primarily by judges as a modification of a condition of probation. IPTC placements, however, are made by the BPP as a condition of the offender’s parole. Generally, both programs are designed to be six months in duration, followed by a three-month stay in a transitional treatment center (TTC), i.e., a halfway house that specializes in treatment as part of the continuum of care, and then six to nine months of outpatient counseling. If the offender meets specific and strict criteria, they may be placed in the intensive outpatient aftercare in lieu of the TTC. The special needs SAFPF program, designed for offenders with mental or physical health needs, is nine months in duration. The IPTC and SAFPF are available at several units. The SAFPF program, in particular, has ample capacity to serve additional offenders. PRE-RELEASE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAM (PRSAP), PRE-RELEASE THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY (PRTC) PRSAP is designed for offenders who are identified as having mental health issues and/or substance abuse dependence. PRTC is for offenders who have been identified as being chemically dependent. The offenders in these programs receive group and individual counseling, anger management, life skills training, and drug and alcohol education. Both intensive substance abuse treatment programs are six months in duration and the offenders are approved for parole contingent upon successful completion. The programs operate in collaboration with the Parole Division to ensure the continuity of care. Monthly visits are made by parole officers to provide pre-release orientation to offenders and the reentry planning is enhanced to include a specific relapse prevention plan as part of the specialized caseload placement. SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT PROGRAM (SOTP) Sex Offender Rehabilitation Programs include three programs varying in intensity and duration. The program consists of three phases in a therapeutic community setting. The 18- month treatment program (SOTP-18) is designed for high-risk sex offenders. The nine-month treatment program (SOTP-9) is for moderate-risk sex offenders. The two treatment programs focus on identification of needs and underlying issues associated with the cognitive and behavioral aspects of offending. Offenders must develop an individual understanding of their own pathway to incarceration while developing healthy-living skills and preventative strategies to mitigate risk for sexual reoffense. The four-month sex offender education program (SOEP) is didactic and is provided to low-risk sex offenders. It includes the educational components that are also part of the other two treatment programs as well as those that comprise, but are not limited to, anger management, healthy sexuality, cognitive restructuring, understanding behavioral cycles and needs, understanding and processing feelings, and interpersonal relationships. All three programs are designed to prepare sex offenders to reintegrate into the community, maintain a minimal re-offense risk, and adhere to the terms of their supervision. INNERCHANGE FREEDOM INITIATIVE PROGRAM (IFI) Innerchange Freedom Initiative, operated through a coordinated effort between the TDCJ and Prison Fellowship Ministries, is an 18-month faith-based program. Offenders volunteer for this program, which emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility through the use of biblical teachings. It is targeted toward offenders who are within 18 to 30 months of release and who are returning to the Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, or San Antonio areas. Additional programs provided by the Rehabilitation Programs Division include the following: • Faith-based dorms allow offenders the opportunity to voluntarily live in a faith-based “community” for the duration of the program, which is dependent on the type of facility and offender being served. In addition to regular TDCJ programming, these offenders receive invaluable life skills training, such as responsible living, values clarification, spiritual training, public speaking and confidence building, anger management, domestic violence prevention, parenting, financial management, victim empathy, Christian 12-step groups, job skills training, and parenting skills. The programs are facilitated by volunteers and the curriculum varies depending on the expertise of those volunteers. • The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) Program is a seven-month program that provides in-cell pre-release programming for male offenders who are released from the TDCJ directly from administrative segregation. Offenders may be placed in the program as the result of an FI-7R vote by the BPP, or they may be selected based on eligibility criteria or volunteer. The curriculum addresses the deficits leading to recidivism: anger management, cognitive errors, substance abuse, life skills, and employment. Offenders with the parole stipulation for SVORI aftercare may participate in a continuum of care through the Parole Division. The Administrative Segregation Pre-Release Program, modeled after the SVORI program, is currently under development and will begin during the summer of 2012, and will utilize in-cell technology to enhance program delivery. It will be 90 days in duration, or, three months prior to release. • The Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Program is a sixmonth multimodal program developed for a complex population with diverse antisocial behavior issues and reoffending risk factors. Offenders within the program receive 20 hours of treatment services from licensed counselors, as well as education activities, including individual and group therapy. Offenders may also participate in support services, such as treatment planning, study groups, and family services. Priority placement is given to offenders who are voted by the BPP into the program with an FI-6 vote. A discharge summary is completed 30 days prior to completion and sent to the BPP for review. After the program is completed, offenders are either paroled or continue aftercare treatment at a designated unit, apart from the general population. • The State Jail Substance Abuse Program (SJSAP) provides eligible confinees the opportunity to receive programming based upon need and characteristics scored on the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). Structured programming includes substance abuse recovery, skills training, lifestyle confrontation, family dynamics, family programs, and support groups. • The Gang Renouncement and Disassociation (GRAD) Process is a nine-month process offered to offenders willing to renounce their gang affiliation and reflects interdivisional cooperation among the CID, RPD, and the Windham School District (WSD). Administrative segregation offenders identified as members of a security threat group (STG, i.e., gang), must volunteer and meet extensive eligibility criteria before participation. Participants must demonstrate behavioral standards throughout and after participation in the program. If the standards are violated, the offender is returned to administrative segregation. The three phases of the GRAD process each represent a less restrictive status until the offender graduates and is eligible to be housed in general population. The first two phases include cognitive intervention, substance abuse, and optional chaplaincy information and interventions. The last phase includes transition into general population under close observation. Each group consists of offenders who represent a mixture of STGs in order to maintain a balance of ethnicity, length of sentence, and diversity in the GRAD process. • The COURAGE Youthful Offender Program provides a safe environment to male and female youth offenders between the ages of 14 and 17 who have been adjudicated as adults. The offenders are separated from the adult population and are provided the opportunity to develop healthier thinking and living skills, continue their education, and develop and define their career goals with vocational training through the WSD. Participants live in a highly structured environment in which the counselors provide opportunities for appropriate social development and personal change. Participants prepare for release from custody or transfer to the adult offender general population when they reach 18 years of age. The transitional preparation is designed to motivate the youthful offenders to make the most of their time by accessing the numerous resources within the correctional system to assist their rehabilitation and prepare them to be productive citizens when they return to the community. • Best for Babies Peer Education was developed through col laboration between the TDCJ Health Services Division, RPD, and the University of Texas Medical Branch and utilizes a curriculum from the Center for Health Training. The program is funded by a grant from the Frees and Simmons Foundations and is available to incarcerated women in all of the female facilities. Participants attend an openended, weekly class with a trained offender peer educator. • Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative (BAMBI) program provides eligible female offenders (e.g., appropriate medical and mental health, custody, criminal history) the opportunity to bond with their newborn baby, if the child was delivered during the course of their sentence. The program houses the participants in a secure residential facility where the mother and child are afforded medical and social services. The mother receives parenting education, academic education (GED preparation or testing), life skills, anger management, substance abuse education, and counseling services. The goal of the program is to reduce recidivism among participants and break the generational cycle of incarceration. All of TDCJ’s programs are designed and intended to impact the criminogenic and specific treatment needs of each offender, as well as meet the guidelines of the eight evidencebased principles (EBP). Motivational interviewing techniques are used to motivate the offender to want to change, which is one of the eight EBPs (intrinsic motivation). Overall reentry issues, closely associated with long-term success, have become a significant factor in enhancing cooperation with other agencies and community organizations. In addition, the Windham School District provides offenders with vocational and educational training that enhances their successful reentry into their respective communities. The cognitive and behavioral changes achieved by participating in programs, along with re-entry planning continue to enhance the successfulness of the released offender and the overall RPD mission to facilitate positive change in the lives of offenders. JASON CLARK is the Public Information Officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.