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Purposeful Incarceration

Purposeful Incarceration Overview

In 2009 the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) began a cooperative project with Indiana Court Systems called Purposeful Incarceration (P.I.). The Department works in collaboration with Judges who can sentence chemically addicted offenders and document that they will “consider a sentence modification” should the offender successfully complete an IDOC Therapeutic community. This supports the Department and Correction and the Judiciary to get addicted offenders the treatment that they need and work collaboratively to support their successful re-entry into society.

IDOC Therapeutic Communities (TC) Overview

The IDOC currently has over 1700 Therapeutic Community (TC) beds for both male and female offenders. These Therapeutic Communities provide intensive substance abuse treatment and the core program is a minimum of eight (8) months in length. The TC’s are competency based, and some offenders may take up to a year to complete the core program. Upon successful completion participants are eligible for up to a 6 month credit time cut.     

The IDOC has two different types of TC’s. One is general Therapeutic Community that serves offenders with significant abuse of any substance. The IDOC C.L.I.F.F. Units (Clean Lifestyle Is Freedom Forever) provide intensive treatment to offenders who have significant impairment as a result of methamphetamine abuse, though many of those offenders are poly substance abusers. Both programs have the same structure and core components but the CLIFF Units also utilized the Matrix Model curriculum specially designed to treat methamphetamine and cocaine addiction.

The TC’s are intensive treatment programs that hold the offenders highly accountable. Offenders earn privileges and responsibilities in the community as they progress in their recovery. The units operate utilizing Modified Therapeutic Community Model, and offenders who participate in the programs are segregated from general population offenders as much as possible. There is a strong focus on utilizing Cognitive Behavioral best practice interventions as core program components. All program curriculum utilizes evidence based material including Stanton Samenow’s “Commitment to Change; Overcoming Errors in Thinking”. Material obtained from the Bureau of Prisons and Texas Christian University Institute of Behavioral Research are also core program components. AA/NA meetings are available to offenders in the TC.

Following the intensive treatment phase, offenders continue to participate in the TC. They will continue to work on relapse prevention issues as well as work on re-entry planning for their return to the community. They also may serve as mentors and senior community members. Individualized recommendations and referrals for follow up services in the community are made for all TC graduates.

Initial outcomes indicate the Departments TC’s are having an impact on recidivism. In addition conduct violations on those units are approximately 1/10 of the of a general population unit. The TC’s are located at the follow facilities:

  • Branchville Correctional Facility - 480 beds
  • Correctional Industrial Facility (Pendleton) - 124 beds
  • Plainfield Correctional Facility - 100 beds
  • Westville Correctional Facility - 440 beds
  • Madison Correctional Facility (Women) - 82 beds
  • Miami Correctional Facility - 204 beds
  • Putnamville Correctional Facility - 156 beds
  • Rockville Correctional Facility (women) - 128 beds
  • Indiana Reformatory (Pendleton) Outside Dorm (Men) - 104

Purposeful Incarceration Details

Many offenders who are sentenced to the IDOC have severe addictions that are directly related to their criminal behavior. This is often very apparent to sentencing Judges as they have often seen these individuals on numerous occasions and the addictive behavior is very apparent. PI gives the Judicial System an option to provide an offender with the opportunity to obtain the treatment they need, and support their successful re-integration into the community.

The Judges can sentence chemically addicted offenders and document that they will “consider a sentence modification” should the offender successfully complete an IDOC Therapeutic community. The Courts communicate with the IDOC that this offender is a PI offender. After entering the IDOC the offender will be placed at an appropriate facility that has a TC. If possible the individual will be placed in a TC close to their County of sentencing. In the event the offender has a meth addiction they will be placed at a facility with a CLIFF Unit if possible.

Once the offender is placed at the facility they will be assessed by the Substance Abuse staff. If they meet the substance abuse admission criteria they will be offered the opportunity to enter the Program. They must agree to adhere to all program rules and expectations and to fully participate in all program activities. If the offender refuses the Court System is notified of their refusal. If they enter the program communication is maintained with the Court regarding the offender’s progress or lack thereof. If an offender successfully completes the Judge can choose to modify the offender sentence and return them to the community early. The offender can receive treatment and be returned to the community through existing community programs such as Drug Courts, Community Transition Programs, Work Release, and other Community Corrections programs. The hope is this coordinated effort between the IDOC and the Court System will reduce recidivism and improve offender’s successful re-entry into society. Currently 17 Counties have participated on PI and referred 71 offenders.

Communication with the Court

Purposeful Incarceration has helped foster a close working relationship between the IDOC’s Therapeutic Communities and the Indiana Judicial System.  The program will provide the courts progress reports on the offenders that are participating in the program. Informal reports can be requested by the sentencing Judge at any point during the incarceration. The IDOC can provide Judges and Court personnel with read access only to our Offender Case Management System (OCMS). The Judge or an officer of the court can visit the offender in order to determine progress if they so desire. The comprehensive information being provided to the court will assist the judge in making informed decisions regarding sentence modifications.

Outcome Study

The IDOC is fully committed to tracking outcomes of its core programs. Monitoring recidivism will be vital to determine the overall effectiveness of “Purposeful Incarceration” Recidivism data on offenders participating in this program will be generated separately as well as included in the respective TC’s overall recidivism rates. These offenders will be identified so that they can be tracked separately from other Therapeutic Community participants.

Benefits of Purposeful Incarceration

  • The Indiana Judicial System and the Department of Correction work closely together to support the offender’s successful reentry to the community.
  • We are able to get the “right offender to the right program at the right time”.
  • The ‘hand off” from the IDOC to the Court System and the community is well coordinated, and helps ensure appropriate follow up services are provided.
  • Offenders who are able to successfully complete will be able to return to the community more quickly.
  • It is believed PI will reduce recidivism, criminal behavior, and increase successful re-entry.