The Warren County Regional Jail is instituting therapy and life-management classes in hopes to better prepare inmates for re-entry into society.
According to Jailer Stephen Harmon, MRT is a systematic treatment strategy that aims to decrease relapse among criminal offenders by increasing moral reasoning—accomplished through group and individual counseling focused on seven basic treatment issues: Confrontation of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors; Assessment of current relationships; Reinforcement of positive behavior/habits; Positive identity formation; Enhancement of self-concept; Development of frustration tolerance; and Development of higher stages of reasoning.
The chosen volunteers will meet in groups once or twice weekly and upon completion in 3 to 6 months, they will be eligible to receive 90 days off their sentence.
Harmon says, “they’re able to revisit why they’re here and examine ways that they can be successful once they’re released, and so, a lot of personal reflection. You know, to get the 90 days credit for the class, the inmate has to put in a lot of work—personal testimony and be willing to share and really work through the reason that they’re here and how they can avoid being re-arrested.”
In addition to MRT, the jail plans to offer P.O.R.T.A.L l in the near future—standing for Parolee Orientation Re-entry Training Assimilation Lesson Plan. Harmon says this will give inmates the opportunity to learn life management and society re-entry skills,
“P.O.R.T.A.L gives you more life-related skills that help you financially—how to find a place to rent, how to secure a place to live, how to prepare for a job, prepare a resume, how to balance a checkbook—how to be a successful member of society.”
P.O.R.T.A.L is about a 4 month long course that will also offer credit towards an inmate’s sentence. The pilot MRT classes are made available through assistance from the Kentucky Department of Corrections at this time, but Harmon says he’s looking forward to November when he and five deputies will be certified to oversee the courses as well,
“Instead of ‘were housing inmates’ then we’re then hopefully trying to help in the rehabilitation of people, and as we get ready to release them when their time comes to be released then we’ve given them some tools to use to prepare for success.”