On Friday, September 22, 2017, Community Solutions, Inc.’s (CSI) Quality Assurance Coach and Trainer, Heath Greene was the host and MC at the Connecticut Department of Correction (CT DOC) Kick Off Forum for the Second Chance Act, Statewide Recidivism Reduction Project Initiative. The forum took place at the Maloney Center for Training and Staff Development in Cheshire, CT.
Mr. Greene has been identified as the Project Director from the CT DOC through a Request for Proposal (RFP) which CSI was awarded as an integral part of the Second Chance Act, Statewide Recidivism Reduction Project. Mr. Greene’s responsibilities include oversight of planning and coordinating various initiatives including trainings, policy reviews, data collection, and other initiatives that have been identified in the plan.
The audience that attended the kickoff event primarily consisted of the entire Division of Parole and Community Services, including Parole, Managers, and Officers, Records Department and the Executive Management Team, including the Commissioner, both Deputy Commissioners, the Under Secretary of the State of Connecticut, the Board of Pardon and Paroles and also included facility TOP Managers. It was estimated that close to 150 people were in attendance.
Mr. Greene conducts training and quality assurance in relational and strength-based programming and motivational interviewing. He is highly skilled in all Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) manual based curriculums, such as Reasoning and Rehabilitation (R&R), Treating Alcohol Dependence (TAD), Trauma Informed Professional, Team Building, Employment Services, Moving On, MET/CBT, Voices, ART (Aggression Replacement Therapy), EMPLOY (Employment Services for Juveniles), Boy’s Council, Girl’s Circle, and Viewpoints (SPST). Prior to joining the Training and Resource Center at CSI, Mr. Greene had experience in both the Adult and Juvenile justice systems by working at day treatment programs and residential settings in various roles from Clinical Case Coordinator to an Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner.
The Latest Information on the Statewide Recidivism Reduction Project
The Connecticut Department of Correction’s (CT DOC) Parole and Community Services Division (PCS) supervises approximately 4,500 offenders on a variety of post-prison, discretionary and mandatory supervision statuses. All of the offenders supervised by PCS have served a period of incarceration in a Connecticut correctional facility, and many face multiple barriers to successful reentry, including histories of homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, and lack of job readiness. CT DOC’s first target population for the grant is young adults 18-24 (up to 25th birthday) and individuals released from prison to parole supervision. Young adults make up only 21 percent of the release population, but have the highest return rates amongst other age groups with a three year return rate of 73 percent. Parole is the second population that is being targeted for recidivism reduction and represents 38 percent of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) 2011 Cohort (excluding young adults) and has a three year return rate of 44 percent. When Young Adults are included in this population, it increases to 49 percent of the 2011 cohort and returns increase to 45 percent.
These strategies have been identified as the focus for year one of the grant:
- Fully implement a risk and needs assessment (SCORES and WRNA) across CT DOC programs and validate it for CT offender populations.
- Use risk and needs assessment to inform case planning, program assignment, and case management.
- Build quality assurance and program evaluation capacity across all CT DOC and CT DOC-funded activities.
- Ensure that all institutional and community programs incorporate evidence-based practices and monitor fidelity of implementation.
- Institute graduated incentives and sanctions in facilities and in community supervision.
- Institute staff training in Core Correctional Practices and develop staff performance review process that assesses service delivery skills.
Research partner, University of New Haven (UNH), will conduct the process and eventually, the impact evaluation. As part of the evaluation, UNH faculty will collaborate with CT DOC and BOPP, the Judicial Branch/Probation and OPM to obtain records on all offenders that are part of the target population, their participation in any treatment, successful and unsuccessful completion of programming, and any status movements of offenders.
During the first year of the project, University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute (UCCI) trainers will conduct 2-day onsite trainings that can accommodate up to 30 staff, then introduce a 5-day onsite train-the-trainer session for up to 12 staff. Funds are budgeted for other on-site trainings that are planned. CT DOC will transition from Offender Accountability Plan (OAP) to Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) Case Plan template incorporating information from risk/needs assessment, prioritize targeting of criminogenic needs, develop goals and objectives for the offender, and require on‐going updates on offender progress as part of an integrated case management process. RNR training will be conducted for PCS staff in special units addressing individuals with mental illness, substance abuse, and co‐occurring disorders. Effective Practices in Community Supervision (EPICS), the model developed by UCCI that teaches the principles of effective interventions and Core Correctional Practices to correctional facility and community supervision staff, will provide onsite training to teach concepts and skills for effective supervision based on the RNR model. EPICS will have two end user trainings for up to 30 staff a session and includes measures of fidelity and ongoing coaching sessions.
Richard Stroker with the National Parole Resource Center (NPRC) is presently providing PCS and BOPP some time-limited technical assistance (TA) to start work on establishing a formal incremental sanctions policy. CT DOC plans to continue the work that began with NPRC to develop a formal incentives and sanctions policy and provide staff training related to its implementation and use.
Ashley Bauman LLC will conduct a Cultural Assessment for The Division of Parole and Community Services in Year 1 as part of the project and grant. This will include the following: Role of parole in CT Organizational functioning; Training and skills, Change Parole practices.
**Special Thank You to Heath Greene for providing the above Project Update Information.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2016-CZ-BX-0017 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.