North Carolina Department of Correction News - March 1999

Project provides offenders with tools needed to change
by Frank Kivett, Research and Planning

The Office of Research and Planning recently received a two-year federal grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission to initiate cognitive behavioral interventions throughout the department.

The grant project will provide technical assistance and training to support pilot cognitive behavioral interventions (CBI) as the cornerstone of rehabilitative programs and services within the department. The overall goal of CBI is to equip offenders with the skills and tools necessary to change their thinking and attitudes that lead to criminal behavior. Research findings clearly indicate that CBI programs reduce recidivism.

Nicole Sullivan leads the project in the Office of Research and Planning. She, along with other DOC staff, visited Wisconsin early last year to observe the THINK program, a cognitive behavioral intervention for inmates, probationers, and halfway house residents. In addition, a Cognitive Behavioral Training (CBT) Task Force was established as an advisory group for the cognitive behavioral effort within the department and includes representatives from the Division of Prisons, the Division of Community Corrections, the Division of Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency, the Parole and Post-Release Commission and the Office of Staff Development & Training. Other state agencies involved in the CBT Task Force include the Administrative Office of the Courts and the TASC program of DHHS. Keith Hester, Chief of Program Services for the Division of Prisons, chairs the CBT Task Force.

A series of orientation meetings have been planned for each Judicial Division across the state to give staff more information on the program. The first session was held at Johnston Community College in December for Judicial Division 2. Nearly 250 people attended the orientation, representing prison facilities, probation/parole offices, Criminal Justice Partnership Programs, DART programs, private substance abuse facilities and other criminal justice professionals interested in offender rehabilitation programs.

DOC staff who volunteer to implement pilot CBI programs will receive additional training. The CBI grant staff is also working with the community college system to coordinate the delivery of CBI programs to inmates and probationers.

If you are interested in learning about cognitive behavioral programs, or the activities of the CBI grant project, contact the Office of Research and Planning at (919) 716-3080. u

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