Cognitive Skill Programs envelop several different programs ranging from clients recognizing what their behavior has done and continues to do to self and others and how they may choose to change. The major reason for spending time and money on such programs is to lower the recidivism rate of our clients. Statistics have shown that in most cases studied that programs can lower those that repeat offenses by as much as thirty-three percent. The program presently in use is Moral Reconation Therapy® or MRT®. MRT® basic program is the core is a group of programs that are directly affiliated to MRT® skill-building program.
The core MRT® program is a sixteen-step program which requires a client to attend and participate for at least twelve weeks with the average graduate taking twenty weeks to complete the program. This program lets a client compare where they are today, identifies what they really want in life and educates the person how to reach their goals. Each person works at their own speed. The group is run by the participants with a facilitator presents to see that the rules of the group and of the program are adhered to. This program is also used with the Juvenile Department with separate groups for boys and girls.
MRT® Relapse Prevention is an eight-module program that is used by the Community Corrections Department. This program uses the same component as the basic program, in that it holds the client responsible to change. When a person graduates from this group, they have the tools to identify damage caused by their addiction. They will know how to change addictive thinking and how to find support to keep from giving into their addictions. Clients are also given directives that will help them remain sober through NA or AA, sponsorship and support groups.
MRT® Employment program teaches clients to recognize that a lack of employment is mainly because of their behavior: not showing up on time, not doing as directed, or doing only half a job. They recognize that many people with criminal records still get employment and it is mainly because of attitude. They are challenged by assessing potential employees to see who they would hire as part of an exercise. In doing this clients, recognize that the needs of the employer are paramount and that it is not a personal attack on the person applying. This class is difficult for many because the client has to admit that they are the biggest problem in getting employed.
Breaking Barriers, while not part of the MRT® groups, is an extension of the groups. The program is much more brief (lasting only eight days) but helps a client organize and plan their lives to reach realistic and attainable goals.
The goal of cognitive programs is to get the client to realize that they are in control of their life and what they do with it is up to them. When a person graduates from these groups they have identified what they have done and that they, not another person, are responsible for their actions. They have identified what they really want in life and how they can choose to go there. They also know that if they choose not to change that there will be consequences and they will be totally responsible for those consequences.
These programs meet the standards as directed by the State of Oregon as evidenced-based practices and SB267 compliant.