Stepping Up, Stepping Out: A Program Description and Preliminary Findings

Ashley B. Batastini, Michael E. Lester, Robert D. Morgan, Elizabeth Atterberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research on the effects of restricted housing on inmate well-being indicates mild to moderate psychological effects and barriers opportunities for treatment and positive growth. Yet, there are few interventions tailored both to the needs of this high-risk population and to the institutional constraints of their environment. Given the financial and safety burdens associated with housing someone in segregation compared to the general population, correctional psychology should focus on developing programs that work. Using a prepost design, this study presents findings from a pilot investigation (N = 39) on the effects of a new, largely self-directed program (Stepping Up, Stepping Out [SUSO]) for inmates with mental and behavioral health concerns who are placed in restrictive settings. Results suggest that SUSO is associated with meaningful reductions in overall emotional distress and criminal attitudes; however, improvements in more stable criminal thinking patterns (i.e., distorted cognitions that are used to justify and support antisocial behavior; see Walters, 2012) were not observed. Overall, posttreatment working alliance was rated favorably by program participants. Demographic and preintervention comparisons between program completers and dropouts are also reported. Though preliminary findings suggest SUSO is a promising intervention for alleviating distress and aspects of criminal risk for inmates placed in restricted housing, future research should assess fidelity and engagement leading to a randomized controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of this program.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological services
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Administrative segregation
  • Behavioral health
  • Mental health treatment
  • Restricted housing

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