Problematic Behavior or Activity
Curry County Community Corrections analyzed a snapshot of the completed Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) assessments among adults countywide to identify the areas of highest need. The data indicated that alcohol and other drug problems were the highest need; second was antisocial personality; and criminal companions and pro-criminal attitudes were tied for the third-highest need.
Without the proper dosage of cognitive behavior intervention—supported by mental health and substance use disorder treatment—the high-risk offenders assessed with these needs are at increased risk to recidivate and pose a threat to public safety.
The Curry County Thinking for a Change Program revolves around the cognitive behavioral curriculum Thinking for a Change. Curry County Community Corrections strives to deliver the program with fidelity by closely following the curriculum and adhering to the original approach. In addition, Curry County Community Corrections is partnering with Curry Community Health, which will provide addiction and mental health services.
Thinking for a Change consists of 25 lessons, each of them one to two hours long. Based on assessment, additional services may be provided, including the following:
- substance use disorder treatment
- mental health care
- psychiatric evaluation
- medication management
- case management
- skills training
- supported employment
- peer support
Curry County Community Corrections will pilot a Thinking for a Change program for 10 participants during the first six months of the grant period, to determine whether any adjustments need to be made based on participants’ and facilitators’ feedback. People enrolled in this program will receive services when they are in the community or in custody.
Successful completion will be defined as follows:
- completion of the Thinking for a Change program;
- having no new criminal charges during the grant period; and
- remaining under supervision for the duration of the grant or until released.
Based On Research
- Thinking for a Change
This program is funded by a $200,506 grant through the state’s 2015-2017 Justice Reinvestment Grant Program. This grant funds the following:
- behavioral health services staff
- Thinking for a Change training
- medical assistance
- a portion of the parole and probation director’s salary
Proposed outcomes include the following:
- serving 52 people during the life of the grant with the goal of a 65 percent success rate.
- decreasing the number of offenders sent to prison by offering mental health and substance use disorder treatment in the community, within the framework of an evidence-based practice (Thinking for a Change).
- improving public safety and reducing recidivism by addressing mental health and substance use disorders.
- holding offenders accountable by having a team of professionals with relevant areas of expertise work with program participants.
Offenders will also develop internal accountability—that is, being accountable to themselves—an important factor in long-term success.
Critical Success Factors
The Risk Needs Responsivity (RNR) research posits that focusing treatment on the higher-risk individuals will maximize the benefits of the implemented program. As such, when resources are limited, the greatest impact will occur when the highest risk individuals receive the highest dosage of treatment. LaPlant and colleagues (2021) did indeed find that individuals with an increased dosage of the TFAC program saw greater improvements in their problem-solving skills compared to individuals with smaller dosages.
Due to limited grant funds and provider changes, this program is no longer active. However, Thinking for a Change was considered a success and accomplished what it set out to do. Thinking for a Change (TFAC) has been implemented in several other agencies and have shown positive outcomes. For example, Golden et al. (2006) evaluated the National Institute of Correction’s TFAC program and found a 33% reduction in recidivism for probationers who completed the program compared to similarly situated probationers who were not referred to the program. Although this was not statistically significant given the small sample size, the program demonstrated other successes as well, such as a reduction in technical violations for those who completed the program compared to individuals who dropped out.
Lowenkamp et al. (2009) evaluated Tippecanoe County Indiana’s TFAC program and found that individuals who were in the program were 15% less likely to reoffend during the follow-up period compared to those who weren’t in the program. Moving beyond improvements in recidivism, Bickle (2013) found that TFAC helped improve scores on Social Problem-Solving and criminal thinking compared to individuals who had not yet received treatment.
Bickle, G. (2013). An intermediate outcome evaluation of the thinking for a change program. Ohio: Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
Golden, L. S., Gatchel, R. J., & Cahill, M. A. (2006). Evaluating the effectiveness of the National Institute of Corrections'“Thinking for a Change” program among probationers. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 43(2), 55-73.
LaPlant, E. G., Bellair, P. E., Kowalski, B. R., Addison, D., & Starr, S. (2021). Assessing the Delivery of the Thinking for a Change Program in Modified Formats: An Experimental Approach. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 65(8), 832-857.
Lowenkamp, C. T., Hubbard, D., Makarios, M. D., & Latessa, E. J. (2009). A quasi-experimental evaluation of Thinking for a Change: A “real-world” application. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36(2), 137-146.