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Effective Prison-Based Treatment Programs

This National Reentry Resource Center webinar, held on February 29, 2012, helped policymakers and practitioners better understand how to design and implement “behind-the-wall” treatment programs that research has proven effective. The webinar featured a presentation by Kathleen Gnall, an independent consultant with extent with extensive experience working with criminal justice professionals, policymakers, community and business leaders, social service providers, and members of faith-based and non-profit organizations to enhance public safety while improving individual outcomes. To watch a recording of the webinar, click here. To download a copy of the PowerPoint slides used in this presentation, click here.


 Webinar Offered by the National Reentry Resource Center
Presented by: Kathleen Gnall
Scheduled for February 29, 2012
1 hour for presentation with ½ hour of participant questions

Overview:  This webinar will:
1. Provide a brief summary of research findings on the effectiveness of treatment interventions with offenders, focusing on those programs offered during incarceration;

2. Describe the evidence-based principles critical to sound interventions that will have the best probability of mitigating offender risk and preparing the offender for community success, including the risk, need and responsivity concepts, how to measure these using actuarial tools and most especially, use the findings to inform treatment plans;

3. Discuss the best practice of designing, selecting and offering programs based on a cognitive-behavioral/social learning model (examples of programs will be provided);

4. Focus on what cognitive behavioral interventions look like in practice (emphasis on role playing, graduated practice) and suggest ways to select and train staff to offer these interventions;

5. Discuss findings related to intensity, and dosage requirements for varying offender risk levels as well as suggest the importance of addressing multiple criminogenic needs in treatment and the order in which treatment programs are offered;

6. Suggest analytical approaches to prioritizing program requirements for in-custody vs. in community treatment participation based on offender risk level, time to release, prison based expertise and offerings (for example, core cognitive skill building and cognitive restructuring programs such as Thinking for A Change are seldom offered in community settings), waiting lists and other considerations (e.g. requirements for parole);

7. Suggest, based on evaluation findings, the importance of offenders having practical life skills such as developing and sticking to budgets preparing for job interviews, how to appropriately interact with authority and peers, making intelligent decisions and solving problems pro-actively and if/how these may be addressed in treatment programs or incorporated in other ways into offender correctional plans; and

8. Discuss the importance of and provide practical strategies for on-going monitoring of the fidelity of program implementation using tools such as the CPAI or CPC and other methods.

These topics are selected based on a thorough review of the “what works, what doesn’t and what is promising” literature, coupled with the presenters experience in addressing the the on-going challenge of how to translate research findings into consistent, every-day practice in systems that are likely overcrowded with tight budgets and many competing demands.

  • From Our Clients

    QuoteSince 2013, Ms. Gnall has been working with Dauphin County to develop strategies to impact re-entry at the local level. She has been instrumental in our criminal justice system adopting a Risk and Needs Assessment (the ORAS), as well as training all county criminal justice staff on the fundamentals of evidence-based practices in criminal justice.

    As a consultant, she has demonstrated constant professionalism and an ability to understand the challenges and complexities of the local justice system while offering realistic and constructive solutions for our county to implement.
    Dauphin County, PA Board of Commissioners

    Jeff Haste, Chairman
    Mike Pries, Vice Chairman
    George P. Hartwick III, Secretary
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