The Mississippi Department of Corrections is trying to better prepare inmates for life after prison. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on a recently implemented program called Thinking For a Change.
Thinking for a change is a three-month program designed to reduce the number of repeat offenders. It is a cognitive behavioral therapy that has been proven to be effective in changing the thinking patterns of criminals.
The Department of Corrections ended its former paramilitary style program to replace it with this evidence-based program when a state law passed in 2015.
Dr. Barry Glick is one of the authors of the national program. He says it could reduce the rate of repeat offenders and save taxpayer dollars in the state.
"Cognitive behavioral interventions in general will reduce the cost to taxpayers, it reduces health costs because less people get hurt, it reduces property cost, it reduces insurance premiums because there's less crime in an area," says Glick.
Democratic State Senator Willie Simmons is a member of the corrections committee. He believes recidivism programs have not been a priority for some members of the legislature.
"I get frustrated when we refuse to invest dollars in after prison programs because it's pennies. Early intervention is pennies, as well as prevention, if you deal with it, dealing with transitioning offenders and working with them to make sure they stay out," says Sen. Simmons.
Simmons formerly assisted in pre-release programs for the state penitentiary in 1975. He says this program, Thinking For a Change, could help those released from prison from returning to a life of crime.