According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics study of more than 400,000 prisoners in 30 states found that after their release, more than half (56.7%) were arrested within a year and two-thirds (67.8%) within three years.

In 2004, a consortium of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the U.S. Justice Department’s Crime Justice Institute (CJI) published eight principles for effective intervention. At the time, CJI wrote that the corrections community “has suffered from a lack of research that identified proven methods of reducing offender recidivism” but that several recent studies “have broken through this barrier and are now providing the field with indications of how to better reduce recidivism.” But one problem remained: few were “using effective interventions and their related concepts/ principles.” At the same time, the GEO Group undertook an assessment of the company’s clients objectives, organizational resources, financial strengths, and reached the conclusion that we could do more for the people under our care. Out of this self-assessment came the GEO Continuum of Care® enhanced offender rehabilitation program pledge to faithfully implement the eight principles in its Continuum of Care program. The table below explains exactly how the GEO Group is implementing the NIC’s eight principles – but each of these principles are realized through our Academic Curriculum, Vocational Program, Substance Abuse Services, Faith and Character program, and Post-Release Support.

Principle of Effective InterventionGEO Continuum of Care®
Risk/Need: Assess Actuarial Risk
  • GEO facilities utilize scientific, validated assessment instruments including the ORAS, LSI-R, COMPAS, and STRONG
  • GEO facilities utilize secondary or specialty assessments for education, vocation, substance abuse, mental health and criminal thinking
  • Assessment instruments are automated to improve data input and reporting
Enhance Intrinsic Motivation
  • Program staff receive training in motivational interviewing techniques
  • Motivational interviewing proficiency and advanced level learning programs are available for staff
  • Desktop motivational interviewing flip charts were created to assist and encourage staff to use the skills
Target Intervention
  • Treatment plans are created targeting criminogenic needs as identified through the assessment process
  • Behavioral goals, action items and responsivity factors are prioritized and customized for each program participant
  • Individual cognitive behavioral treatment counseling sessions are provided and focus on criminogenic needs
Skill Train with Directed Practice
  • GEO’s Group model uses behavioral practice
  • Skills building is promoted through behavioral practice
  • Individual counseling sessions emphasize skills building with role playing
Increase Positive Reinforcement
  • Behavior modification system is in place focusing on reinforcing desired behavior
  • Behavior modification system uses rewards and recognition to reinforce positive behavior
  • Four positive responses are targeted for pro-social behavior for each negative consequence for non-compliance
Engage On-Going Support in Community
  • Transition Case Managers work with the program participants to create a pro-social community support network
  • GEO is creating a Continuum of Care® hotline to support program participants’ post-release
  • GEO is creating a Post-Release Services department to identify community-based service providers
Measure Relevant Practices
  • GEO’s Research Department will evaluate and track program outcomes including recidivism
  • GEO has created a dashboard of key performance indicators to monitor, measure and report program outcomes
  • GEO programs utilize secondary assessment tools, such as Criminal Thinking Scales, to measure change in cognitive development
Measurement Feedback
  • GEO program supervisors conduct monthly and quarterly internal audits of groups, case notes, and case files
  • GEO’s Compliance Department conducts annual facility evaluations and contract compliance reviews
  • GEO programs contract with correctional experts to conduct the Correctional Program Checklist, a detailed measure of program alignment with evidence-based principles

Sources: Serin, Ralph C., “Evidence-based Practice: Principles for Enhancing Correctional Results in Prisons,” US Department of Justice / Crime & Justice Institute, December 2005 Bogue et al, “Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Community Corrections: The Principles of Effective Intervention,” Department of Justice / Crime & Justice Institute, December 2004