Overview of Community Corrections
Community corrections programs are part of an overall strategy for dealing with offenders. No community can completely avoid chemical dependency or crime, but community corrections programs can minimize their impact and make our neighborhoods safer for residents. The benefits of community corrections programs include:
- Alleviating jail and prison overcrowding.
- Improving the community integration process for offenders.
- Providing less expensive placement options for appropriate offenders.
- Increasing offender accountability; the failure to complete programming results in additional sanctions.
- Addressing chemical dependency, employment, education, and other issues prior to release.
- Reducing the probability of future criminal behavior through programming that addresses certain behaviors, attitudes, and thought processes that are associated with re-offending.
- Offenders can continue to work while serving a sanction. This allows them to pay taxes, program fees, restitution, court costs, and child support if ordered.
Residential and nonresidential community corrections programs are an integral part of a continuum of sanctions that range from probation to prison.
Programming - What Works
Oriana House utilizes programming that has a demonstrated ability to reduce crime. The programming, known as "What Works," provides cognitive behavioral training that includes role playing and practice for offenders to change the way they think in order to change the way they behave.
Research has consistently identified that an objective risk and needs assessment is at the core of any effective community corrections program.
Assessments allow offenders to be assigned the services that will most likely benefit them based on their level of risk to reoffend. Higher risk offenders need more intensive programming for longer periods of time to reduce their risk of reoffending. The "need" portion of the assessment identifies the dynamics of criminal behavior (also known as criminogenic needs) that need to be addressed in order to reduce recidivism, such as antisocial attitudes, peers, or personality; poor familial relationships; and low educational or vocational achievement.
Low risk clients attend Cognitive Self-Change classes which teach them that thinking controls their behavior.
Moderate risk clients participate in a 22-lesson curriculum called Thinking for a Change. Clients learn to identify how thinking controls their behavior. They learn how to actively listen, how to know their own feelings, how to deal with an accusation, how to respond appropriately to anger, and how to problem solve.
High risk clients participate in Commitment to Change classes, Thinking for a Change classes, followed by a mandatory booster class. Clients are instructed on the eight critical thinking errors.
Research has shown that for high and moderate risk offenders, participation in treatment programs and services has high payoff, but for those with a low risk to reoffend, life skills programs are more appropriate. Effectiveness in community corrections relies a great deal on getting the right offender in the right program.
All Oriana House programming is highly structured with a focus on accountability. Services can include:
- Case management
- Chemical dependency assessment, education, and treatment
- Education classes and GED preparation and testing
- Employment assistance
- Cognitive skills classes
- Anger management
- Community service
- Life skills development
Additional in-house services as well as referrals to outside service providers are also offered, based on client need and program availability.