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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78674 Find in a Library
Title: Thresholds - Taking Control by Learning To Make Decisions
Journal: Corrections Today  Volume:43  Issue:4  Dated:(July-August 1981)  Pages:42-44,46
Author(s): S E Hines
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The volunteer program, 'Thresholds', is designed to help inmates make decisions in any area.
Abstract: The program is based in the belief that if inmates are to use their education or job training skills upon release, they must view themselves as reasonable and potentially successful individuals who can make decisions that give them control over their lives. The volunteer teachers for Thresholds learn how to teach the program and deal with potential problems through a 22-hour weekend training session. Volunteers are issued a 490-page curriculum guide which they are required to follow. After training, periodic meetings are held to discuss situations that arise in the course. The use of volunteers in the program not only holds down costs, but gives the inmates reason to believe the teacher is motivated to help them. At the core of the program is its five-step decisionmaking model, which is taught in both one-to-one and group sessions, usually over 6 to 12 weeks. A variety of teaching techniques are used, including emphasis on visual symbols and mental images to help participants keep concepts in mind. The decisionmaking steps taught are as follows: (1) see the situation clearly; (2) know what you want; (3) expand the possibilities; (4) evaluate and decide; and (5) act. While there is much anecdotal evidence for the success of the program, there have not been many statistical studies to date; however, an unpublished study tested two groups of inmates, participants and a control group, on measures of locus of control and self-esteem. Findings showed that the Threshold group significantly maintained its initial levels of internal control and self-esteem, while the control group decreased in both. The history of the program's development is described, and one footnote and graphic illustrations of program content are provided.
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Prerelease programs; Volunteer programs; Volunteer training
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