In 2018, the Office of Adult Court Services implemented the Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) group for offenders. The group meets once a week on Wednesday nights at no cost to offenders and is facilitated by a certified MRT Specialist.
MRT is a Cognitive-Behavioral therapy that focuses on changing the underlying factors (criminogenic needs) that are shown to cause criminal behavior. Factors such as criminal thinking, beliefs, values and attitudes are targeted during MRT. MRT has shown to be effective in reducing recidivism in substance abusers, DWI offenders and domestic violence perpetrators. (Little, 2000, Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Offenders)
Meta-Analysis studies have shown MRT to be effective in:
- Short-term recidivism: It is shown to have at least a 50% reduction.
- After ten years, offenders who have successfully completed the program have a 20-35% lower recidivism rate compared to non-treated offenders.
- (Little, 2005, Meta-Analysis of Moral Reconation Therapy, Recidivism Results from Probation and Parole Implementations)
As part of standard procedure for all local community corrections programs, the Office of Adult Court Services assesses offenders for recidivism risk and criminogenic needs. As offenders have been assessed for these criminogenic needs in-house, we can determine who qualifies for MRT. These offenders tend to have a history of frequent law violations, probation violations, disciplinary problems and substance use.
MRT gives us the opportunity to work with these offenders and correct the targeted behaviors that could lead to future criminal activity and violations of probation. In addition to assessments generated by ACS staff, the courts, Commonwealth Attorney and Public Defenders offices have the ability to directly refer clients to MRT as a condition of probation supervision.