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3100 Railroad Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58501

701.328.6390 · Phone
701.328.6651 · Fax

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Adult Corrections: ND State Penitentiary

Inmate Programs

Pre-release Program offered at all three institutions

Phase one: Objective Assessment      (8-10 hours average completion)

  Phase two: Job seeking skills       (3-5 hours average completion)

Phase three: Life Skills                 (2-3 weeks average completion)

Consumer math skills – reviewing the skills necessary for handling money, understanding paychecks, filling income taxes, budgeting, personal banking, figuring time sheets, transportation, finding an apartment and how to access community resources and support services.

Evaluating communication and values – the course work includes goal setting, values clarification dealing with attitudes and self-worth, stress management techniques, problem solving and effective verbal/nonverbal communication skills.

Job search techniques – background information on career fields, self-evaluation techniques, career awareness, decision making skills, job exploration, work maturity and those skills necessary to find and keep a job.

Workplace safety – safety signs, protective equipment, protective clothing, proper lifting techniques, safe operation of equipment, safe handling of chemical materials and waste, fire prevention and how to deal with emergencies in the workplace.

Keyboarding – identity the parts on a keyboard and their use, demonstrate the functions of the keys, practice typing.

Community agencies – from a master list prepare a list of agencies for the community you will make your home – include vocational, social, interpersonal, educational, financial and legal agencies.  When possible there will be a representative from the agency available to answer questions.

II. Cognitive Program offered in the Prisons Division

1. Cognitive Education Class
6-9 hours of instruction and homework; a basic introduction into the cognitive program.
2. Cognitive Program Phase I Guidelines
As an individual enters Cognitive Classes and continues through the process, Credit Hours will be scored to the participant’s program record.  The Credit hours will be based on the following:

  1. Attendance minimum of 24 sessions
  2. (4) Thinking Reports
  3. (6) Risk Check-Ins
  4. Participation
    • Host 2 Thinking reports
    • Host 2 Risk Check-Ins
    • Classroom
  5. Journaling
  6. Risk Management Assignment

As the participant enters in and participates in the class, credit hours will be scored accordingly.

Total hours possible to accumulate = 100

Total Credit hours to Graduate 85 (85%)

4. Cognitive Program Phase II Guidelines

Cognitive Phase II classes will be held as an open-ended class if possible.  Class participants may enter and complete at different times.  Completion of the Phase II level will be based on the following criteria and grading guidelines.




III. Treatment programs offered in the Prisons Division

12 Week Treatment Program

The 12 Week Treatment program consists of cognitively based group sessions following an outline for each session.  Included are films, lectures, and presentations that are coordinated to the theme of that particular session.  The format for the program shall be followed as close as possible.  Different issues, incidences and difficulties that arise shall be taken care of and then a return to the format shall occur.

Criteria for involvement shall include:

Each client receives an individualized treatment plan with regularly scheduled Clinical Staffing to be completed on each client.  Monitoring of the progress or lack of progress occurs in the staffing and changes to the Treatment Plan may occur as needed.  Criminal and Addictive Thinking Workbook, D&A Education Workbook, Relapse Prevention Workbook, and Relapse and Reintegration Workbook are used for a guide and assignments. This program is offered at NDSP, MRCC, and JRCC all following the outline for consistency.

2. Other Services

Other services offered would include addiction and special needs.  This is individual counseling for the clients that have a substance problem and the addiction treatment is appropriate yet they are unable to participate in the group setting for some reason.  The length of this program would vary according to the inmate’s needs.  This is offered at NDSP and JRCC. 

3. Institutional Behavioral Monitoring

After completion of the assessment, the client may be classified to this status.  This would be for those individuals who have no clinical treatment needs identified at the time of MDS or the Case Planning meeting.  Due to the client being in prison does indicate some social difficulty. The DOCR staff shall monitor the inmate’s behavior for problems. The client would be assigned to a counselor to address any needs that could arise during their incarceration.  Changes to the status would be the responsibility of the primary counselor.  Suggested programs may still be entered on the MDS sheet such as Self Help Programs or Cognitive Programs.

4.Appraisal and Assessment

Clients are appraised during the first 14 days of their stay.  If the appraisal indicates that there is further need, an assessment is completed prior to the Case planning Committee meeting and classification.  After the appraisal and/or assessment is completed, the information is brought to a Multi-disciplinary Staffing for review of the information and recommendations as appropriate.


1.Anger Management Program

Anger Management Class is available at MRCC, JRCC, as well as NDSP.  This program is available by request of client or a referral from counseling staff.  The guidelines used for involvement in this program would include at least one major life area impacted negatively by anger issues.  This would be measured by:


The duration of this program is from five to 10 weeks and making up a total of 20 hours in duration total.  The program includes but not limited to a pre and posttest to measure effectiveness, exploring the cycle of abuse and lectures, videos and handouts of assignments.  There is a program outline to be followed for consistency.

2. Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing (EMD)

Inmates are referred by their primary counselors for unresolved issues dealing with abuse, grief, self-esteem, anxiety, phobias, and somatic disorders.  General guidelines for involvement would include:

The therapy may last for one or two sessions per month for several months.  This is dependent on the issues, progress of the client, and the needs of the client.  This program is offered at MRCC, JRCC, and NDSP.

Grief Counseling

Grief counseling is available through the Chaplains.  This is for a death or a loss that is generally rather recent.  This is given to assist the client or inmate through the grieving process.  It offers spiritual assistance and identifies the stages of grief.  The involvement is in a one-to-one setting with the Chaplain.  It may go on for one or more individual sessions and some assignments may be given to assist the inmate with the process.  There is no set duration.

4. Batterer Group

Batterer group is available at JRCC at the present time with the hope that it will also be available at NDSP in the future.  The group involves those that have been the perpetrators of physical or sexual violence in an intimate heterosexual relationship.  It explores the controlling behavior as well as confronting beliefs and attitudes leading to the behavior.  The group is scheduled for a total of 24 sessions usually consisting of twice per week for 12 weeks. 


1. Psychiatric Referral

A referral can be made to the psychiatrist as needed.  First an assessment is completed by one of the counseling staff members.
Guidelines for a referral would be:

These referrals would be available at JRCC, MRCC, and NDSP.

2. Psychiatric Monitoring

The services given to individual who may or may not be on psychiatric medications.  This monitoring may or may not include individual sessions with a clinician.  The duration varies with the client’s needs.  If the client is on medication, these are dispensed by medical personnel.  Other clients who are not on medication may be seen on an individual basis to monitor the stability of the client.


1. Sex Offender Education Class (Changing to Sex offender assessment

SOE (SOA) is a closed-ended series and covers issues such as sexuality; sexual education: anatomy, sexual development, manipulation, sexual assault cycle, victim empathy, family roles, cognitive distortions, sexual autobiography, sexual addiction, depression, grief, guilt, shame, victimization, behaviors, appropriate human interaction, offending and interpersonal boundaries. Staff also educates participants on 12 Step Programs, Paraphilias and other disorders information is given to the inmates, as well as terms commonly used in SO treatment. SOs also prepare for intensive group-based treatment.  This program has benchmarks by which the client is measured so progress or lack of that progress can be measured.

2. Sex Offender Video Education

This is an open-ended education series addressing addiction, victimization, relationships, abuse, etc.  This is designed for the offenders that have completed SOE and are waiting for an opening in ISO Group. Candidates for ISO treatment attend up to 163 hours of educational videos addressing all aspects of sex offender treatment. The minimum expectation is to attend twice weekly and the submission of written assignments as required. The client may not complete the series if he is moved into another phase of treatment.  A Treatment Plan is required for this phase, with reviews every 2 months.

3. Intensive Sex Offender Group

Participants progress through group-based treatment in 2 phases.  Phase II focuses on goal setting and personal history as well as understanding their sexual assault cycle.  Phase III leads up to the Relapse Prevention Plan, which is followed by family workshops and other issues relative to maintaining gains made in treatment.  Not all offenders will complete treatment at NDSP due to release from incarceration. 

A continuum of care is provided through a referral to the Human Service Center in the region in which the offender resides.  The Human Service Center governs the aftercare or continuing care component.  An offender’s Parole/Probation Officer monitors compliance with the community-based treatment.

4.Special Needs Sex Offender Counseling

This program can be offered at JRCC, NDSP, and MRCC with a staff member trained in sex offender treatment.  The time of involvement is individually based on the client’s need.  This consists of individual sessions with recommendations and assignments made also on an individually based treatment plan.  For involvement, the client must meet the criteria for the intensive sex offender group or the sex offender education class but not be amenable to the group setting due to physical, psychiatric, psychological, or cognitive limitations.


1. Several Past Treatments Along with Several Incarcerations

A community based treatment may be recommended along with a structured environment (such as half-way house) if it is seen that the inmate does fine while incarcerated but needs to learn how to work recovery on the outside while at the same time receiving support and structure.

2. Aftercare

A community based aftercare program may be recommended upon release if they received primary treatment while in the institution.

If an inmate has recently completed primary treatment and is presently working a recovery program, a community based aftercare program will be recommended for further support upon release.  It would be suggested that the inmate go to a 12-step support group while incarcerated.


1. Nonamenable to Treatment

Nonamenability to treatment means the inmate is determined to be inappropriate for treatment available at the ND State Penitentiary due to physical, psychological, or cognitive conditions or limitations.  For example, an individual who is significantly sub average cognitive abilities or with dementia, may be unable to utilize available treatment programs.  A severe thought disorder, or in some cases, a severe personality disorder may also indicate that an inmate is not amenable to available treatments.  This is not the same as refusing services or being terminated from treatment.

2. Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is given in all available programs on an as needed basis.  This is somewhat limited by the staff’s availability and the client’s willingness to participate.  This is available at JRCC, MRCC, and NDSP.

3. Self-Help Programs

There are a number of self-help programs available through the inmate’s incarcerations.  Available programming would be Alcoholics Anonymous, Gambler’s Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, as well as Medicine Wheel programs.  Clinicians are not involved in these self-help programs with the client.

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