Life Skills that Reduce Recidivism


Experts in the criminal justice field recognize that addressing root causes of criminogenic need is essential to help returning offenders stay out of prison. Sentinel’s Cognitive Skills Programs do just this. Courses and services incorporate evidence-based principles based on MRT (Moral Recognition Therapy), a proven methodology with over 75 outcome based studies. Each agency creates a custom curriculum unique to their needs.

*  According to the National Association of State Courts ,”participants from programs that practice MRT committed substantially fewer offenses than those from programs that did not offer MRT.” 

The delivery method and location of programs is key to success. Local community-based offices help to increase participant engagement and reduce recidivism. Highly trained Sentinel case managers work directly with individuals to create Individual Treatment Plans (ITP).  Each ITP combines personal interaction with evidence-based behavior change programs. The ITP focuses on the greatest area of criminogenic need. The criminogenic needs or risk factors:

  • Antisocial attitudes, values, and beliefs
  • Criminal associates and isolation from pro-social associates
  • Particular temperament and behavioral characteristics
  • Weak problem-solving and social skills
  • Criminal history
  • Negative family factors (e.g., abuse, unstructured or undisciplined environment, criminality in the family, substance abuse in the family)
  • Low levels of vocational and educational skills
  • Substance abuse

Each participant goes through a personalized needs assessment and receives an individual treatment plan (ITP). The program incorporates a series of guided exercises, writing assignments, and team building methods during their ITP to encourage individual behavior changes. Upon completion of the prescribed program, the Aftercare Stage kicks in. The participant is reassessed to determine the risk to re-offend. Problem area(s) are identified and further attention is prescribed.

Research shows that 40% of offenders who participate in evidence-based behavior change programs are less likely to commit new crimes. Sentinel’s specialized program uses core elements that are evidence-based and proven to reduce recidivism. Each course plays an important part in a participant’s overall supervision plan. Every step in the process helps to systematically confront entrenched criminal behavior.

Sentinel customizes the curriculum to meet the needs of the local population.  This community-based approach creates success for the community, the participant and the supervising agency. For the community, success means lower crime rates, safer neighborhoods, and streets. For the participant, success means getting out of the criminal justice system equipped with the skills necessary to never return again.  The agency has fewer inmates, reduced recidivism and saves tax dollars.