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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193948 Find in a Library
Title: New Jersey's Assessment Centers: Helping Inmates Take the Final Step Toward Release
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:64  Issue:1  Dated:February 2002  Pages:78-81
Author(s): Ralph Fretz
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 4
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews the use of assessment centers in New Jersey as a way of reducing recidivism among offenders.
Abstract: The concept of an assessment center was developed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) in 1998 as a method of providing a “step-down” process for male State inmates who had attained full-minimum status, which allows inmates to have unrestricted movement with hourly group supervision and housing off main prison grounds. When inmates arrive at assessment centers, they are no longer addressed as inmates, but as residents. The change serves as a reminder that those at assessment centers are one step from release. Assessment centers were designed to provide residents with a comprehensive assessment of their needs and an orientation to a treatment regimen prior to their transition to a halfway house. Treatment orientation is meant to expose residents to the elements of relapse prevention, to change criminogenic thinking patterns, and to develop goals that residents could internalize. Final recommendation for treatment and placement are based on information from a number of areas. The following represents a breakdown of the domains assessed: substance abuse assessment, cognitive and vocational assessment, and risk assessment. Residents are also given a treatment orientation. During orientation they are given a pretest to determine their baseline level of knowledge about the treatment and relapse prevention process. Near the end of their stays, residents are given a posttest to determine how much they learned about the treatment process. Throughout their stays, residents and their senior counselors work together to develop a master treatment plan or a continuum-of-care plan. Near the end of their stays, residents meet with DOC staff to determine their placement. Residents are placed in halfway houses that either have intensive substance abuse treatment as a component of the service or provide a less intense level of treatment. Research to determine if assessment center residents have a significantly lower rate of recidivism is currently being conducted.
Main Term(s): Assessment centers; Halfway houses
Index Term(s): Post-release programs; Rehabilitation; Social reintegration; Supervised liberty; Treatment/Therapeutic Community
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