The Department of Justice Services is dedicated to improving the behaviors, attitudes, and lifestyles of individuals before they are released into the community. Courses such as Breaking Barriers, Life Skills, religious services and inmate jobs teach inmates the skills needed to develop a positive outlook and improve their lives. The classes are designed to focus on possible causes of criminal behavior along with ways to focus on more productive lifestyle choices that are not driven by crime.
Anger Management-This course helps the offender to understand the emotion of anger and its relationship to their past. Offenders are instructed on efforts to control their response to anger and how to identify triggers, recognize physical anger signals and get in touch with self-talk. Role playing is commonly used to encourage individuals to think before reacting, placing their intellect above their emotion.
Art Therapy-In this course, self-perception as well as media are explored. Participants use art materials to create drawings, etc. based on given themes and share them with the class.
Inmates are also offered the opportunity to prepare and test for the GED exam. In 2005, inmates received over 24,000 hours of GED instruction. Out of 126 inmates who took the GED test, 95 successfully passed.
Beat the Streets-The purpose of this program is to provide offenders with specific skills and strategies that will assist them upon their return to a high risk living environment. The offender will identify the most common relapse traps and determine what relapse preventive strategies to use to maintain sobriety.
Breaking Barriers-This is a video class on change through cognitive psychology and changing thoughts.
Building Healthy Relationships-The purpose of this program is to inform and assist the inmate in learning what is healthy and unhealthy in a relationship and the keys to developing healthy relationships. They learn skills and develop habits that will build and maintain healthy relationships that will enhance their personal life. They learn how to identify links between past experiences and relationships,including family of origin and present relationships. The inmate will evaluate their values, their behaviors, and clarify who they are, what they need, want from, and are willing to give to a relationship .Hopefully we will instill in the inmate a sense of self-worth and what it means to love oneself while loving another and developing skills that can make it happen.
Choices is a 90 day substance abuse recovery program available to both male and female inmates housed in the Justice Center. Inmates are sentenced to the program by the St. Louis County Judicial Courts. Inmates participate in a 90 day shock incarceration, which includes psycho-educational treatment programs that incorporate a 12 step recovery program. Inmates learn about addiction and how it affects their lives by attending group sessions, educational classes, lectures and individual counseling. Our mission is to empower participants to choose a lifestyle free of alcohol, other drug addictions and criminal behavior.
The "Concerned Persons" Saturday program meets monthly on Saturdays. This allows relatives and friends to learn more about the program, addictive behaviors and their role in the inmates' lives once the inmate completes the program and returns to society. There is also a voluntary weekly after care program to discuss recovery issues and life after incarceration. During the year 2005, 193 inmates were admitted to the program and 181 successfully completed.
The Choices program is broken into five phases: Criminality, Substance Abuse, Anger Management, Life Management, and Relapse Prevention/After care.
Commitment to Change- The primary purpose of this program is to motivate and encourage the inmate in personal change.Through classes, they are able to relate to others who have experienced recidivism with certain patterns in thinking, i.e. doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, only to experience the same result that sent them here in the first place. The inmate begins by looking at themselves, and becomes aware of, and is able to identify errors in thinking and tactics used to block change in their lives. They learn what it is to make responsible choices and to take personal responsibility for their own actions, also to seek and accept help when needed. They learn that while change is never easy, there are practical steps and ways to change and to take those steps toward a life that is truly free.
Domestic Violence-This educational course explores several topics related to Domestic Violence such as: the Rights of Battered Women, the Cycle of Violence, Effects of Domestic Violence on Children, Children of Battered Women, Myths of Abuse, Forms of Abuse: Physical, Emotional and Sexual, Cycle of Violence, The Power and Control Wheel, Ex-parte Orders (Protection Orders), and Plans for Safety.
Drug and Alcohol Education- This program provides information regarding the physiological, psychological, social, and legal impact of substance abuse. The offender will be instructed on methods to avoid addiction or methods of recovering from an addiction. The primary focus will be the relationship between substance abuse and criminal behavior.
HIV/AIDS Awareness-This is an educational program taught by qualified counselors who have been trained by the Red Cross. The program is designed to teach inmates the facts, concerns, and fears that surround HIV/AIDS and the spreading of this illness.
Life Skills-This program is composed of sessions on money and credit; stress and health, decision making, time management, conflict negotiation, as well as community resources and assertiveness.
Parenting- (for male and female offenders)This program's purpose is to inform and assist the inmate with developing or strengthening the bond between parent and child. The inmate will identify individual parenting problems and create ideas and suggestions for improving parenting skills. Different parenting styles and the links between past childhood experiences, including family of origin, in relation to parenting will now be addressed. Also, the inmate will learn the developmental stages of a child; preventable birth defects; ways to provide loving support and to build self-esteem in children, ways to improve communication with children, discipline methods, setting adult/child boundaries, and building memories and traditions within a family.
Seeking Safety-This is a program directed specifically at females. It is directed to women who have a history of substance abuse and/or post traumatic stress syndrome. It shows women how to deal with the disease and the reccurring thought processes that may continue after a woman has been traumatized such as through physical, sexual, or mental abuse, automobile accidents, etc.
Stress Management-The purpose of this class is to teach offenders to recognize the causes and types of stress they experience. The offender will learn skills associated with handling stress and physical relaxation exercises associated with alleviating stress. The goal is for offenders to gain a sense of control over their responses by using self-talk to control stressful reactions.
Success Stories- The purpose of this program is to assist the inmate in the realization that change is possible! Through the lives of those that have finally found a path to a better life, the inmate learns to develop a personal and reality based plan for change by accepting responsibility for their own actions and learning the choices that make the difference. Barriers to change, along with temptations and triggers that bring so many back to prison are explored. They learn about making responsible choices and to set realistic goals for themselves and to realize the importance of seeking help when they need it. Family issues, support systems, work, anger, and self-esteem issues are also addressed.