Matt Mutter, jailer at Barren County Detention Center, said he will be starting a new program that is “proven to reduce recidivism.” Recidivism occurs when an individual repeats criminal acts.
The new program is called Moral Reconation Therapy, which has been used in 49 states and four countries, Mutter said.
Correctional Counseling Inc.’s website stated MRT was started in 1985.
“MRT is a cognitive-behavioral counseling program that combines education, group and individual counseling, and structured exercises designed to foster moral development in treatment-resistant clients.” the website stated. “MRT has shown to reduce recidivism rate of offenders by between 30 percent and 50 percent for periods up to 20 years after release.”
Mutter said he chose this particular program after talking with other jailers across the commonwealth.
“When we go to conferences and meetings with other jailers, we kind of toss around ideas to each other,” Mutter said. “[The jailer’s I’ve talked to say] it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done for their facility ... I haven’t heard anything bad about it. Everything is positive from what I’ve heard. ... They said, ‘Not only does it cut back on the recidivism rate, but it helps the mindset of the inmates. It gives them a more positive outlook, instead of just looking forward to the day that they get out. It gives them hope that they can change once they get out. They don’t have to keep staying in this repetitive cycle of in and out, in and out, in and out.’”
He said the jailers told him MRT is beneficial to the staff as well because it makes their jobs easier.
“The program cuts back on arguments and fights between the inmates,” Mutter said.
He said he won’t know the specifics of the program, like how often the inmates will be participating in it, until one of his deputy’s travels to Memphis to go through MRT training. Once the deputy is trained, he or she will teach the program to the inmates.
“[The trainers] will provide the curriculum, the workbooks, the teacher books they need and all the material ... I believe [training] lasts for about a week down there,” Mutter said. “They will train one of my current deputies. I’m not gonna put a brand new deputy out there that doesn’t have any experience around the inmates.”
He said he isn’t sure which deputy will be trained yet.
“It’s kind of up in the air right now,” Mutter said. “Once we get that figured out, I’ll probably bring [him or her] to a fiscal court meeting and speak a little bit more about it and kind of introduce [the deputy] as the leader of the program. I’ll bring [him or her] out there so all the magistrates and everybody can meet the deputy and explain a little bit of this to them. Give them a little heads up on what we’re trying to do.”
Currently, Mutter said, there is just one deputy who will go to the training.
“Later on, I may try to get another person into that training... The deputy will be going to the training in January. Once they get back, we’ll kind of see where we stand then and try to get the ball rolling on it,” Mutter said, adding it may be February before the program is actually implemented at BCDC.
Mutter said the program, which will be voluntary for the inmates, will be a success if he witnesses someone being helped by it.
“Out of the 125 state inmates [we house], probably thirty to forty of them are local people from this area,” Mutter said. “A lot of those people are people that I have been watching, seeing come in and out of jail for the last 20 years. If I can see somebody that I personally know to get into this program and not come back to jail after they complete it, then I would consider that to be a success then.”
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