By the end of January 2013, offenders in communities throughout Washington state will participate in a program designed to give them skills to help them refrain from committing new crimes.
Washington State Department of Corrections adopted the program, called Thinking for a Change, both in prisons and in the community in 2012. In doing so, it joined corrections agencies throughout the nation that have successfully used the program to help reduce recidivism.
Offenders attend group discussions guided by trained facilitators. They learn how to change the thinking that guides sometimes negative and impulsive actions, learn positive social skills and problem-solving techniques.
Classes at Airway Heights Corrections Center and Coyote Ridge Corrections Center began in early 2012,
The first class for offenders in the community was offered to a small group in Chehalis, who completed the course in November 2012. Quality assurance specialists Jeneva Cotton and Justin Perry facilitated the classes. You can hear them and offenders briefly talk about the experience in a brief video.
(For DOC staff in facilities only: If you are unable to watch YouTube videos and are in a DOC facility, you may download a copy of the video.)
By early 2013, community-based classes will be available in all six Community Corrections Division regions as DOC trains more facilitators.
As of December 2012, 46 community corrections officers and quality assurance specialists have been trained as facilitators for community classes. For classes operating at Airway Heights and Coyote Ridge, DOC has so far trained 20 classification counselors, corrections officers, unit supervisors, program managers and quality assurance specialists.