Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $470,000)
A team of researchers from Mississippi State University (MSU) is requesting $470,000 for a 24-month period to enhance local corrections and offender reentry by reducing recidivism among incarcerated people at four treatment facilities in Mississippi. In this project, we will expand the Thinking for a Change (T4aC) program currently being delivered to a small number of incarcerated people in Mississippi by the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) and deliver the programming to all incarcerated people housed at four Community Work Centers (CWC). Additionally, we will supplement that program with a new substance abuse prevention program entitled MASARRP (Mississippi Alcohol and Substance Abuse Recidivism Reduction Program).
BJA funding will be used to hire two MDOC program coordinators for a 24-month period. Dr. Angela Robertson and a graduate research assistant will modify a successful substance abuse prevention curriculum (MASEP) to make it (a) appropriate for incarcerated individuals and (b) focused on strategies to reduce harmful substance abuse with an eye toward successful reentry. Drs. May and Haynes, with two undergraduate research assistants, will develop a pre- and post-test assessment instrument to measure changes in thinking patterns, decision-making around substance abuse topics, and general problem-solving skills. Utilizing a quasi-experimental design, we will then deliver the T4aC/MASARRP curriculum to a treatment group of four community work centers (Noxubee, Delta, Flowood, and Madison). To examine the effectiveness of the program, we will compare differences in scores on the pre- and post-test assessment for individuals incarcerated at the treatment facilities with those housed at four control facilities (Quitman, Pike, Wilkinson, and Forrest). MDOC program coordinators will also track graduates from all facilities throughout the course of the project to determine whether graduates from treatment facilities are more successful in reentry than are their counterparts from control facilities. For all participants across the eight facilities, we will use the assessment instruments to develop Individualized Reentry Plans to assist them in their reentry journey.
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