Lifeskills Program

A dormitory-style modular unit, located within the enclosed perimeter, consists of two sixty-man housing units. One of these Units, the North Side, in October of 1999 became the Lifeskills Program, a 60-bed unit comprehensive substance abuse treatment program for highly motivated individuals.

Since 2004 the Lifeskills Program has been evolving into a Phase Program. The other 60-bed unit, the South Side, in 2004 became the Community Accountability Program. It serves as both pre-treatment and initial treatment (Phase I). Since that time the North Side, The Lifeskills Program functions as Phase II. Each of the 60-man units has a common area called the day room. Most treatment groups occur in the day rooms.

Since July of 2005, the minimum and pre-release has been included in the treatment program, and serves as both Phase III of the Lifeskills Program, and Phase IV Pre-Release/Work-Release. Most treatment programs occur in the day room located in the minimum and pre-release building.

In 1999 the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office entered into a contract with the Office for Community Corrections to provide a Community Corrections Center to service Hampshire County. The center is located at 492 Pleasant Street, Northampton, and services Probation, Parole, The Sheriff’s Department and The Department of Correction. The Community Corrections Center offers many treatment services. Our Phase III and Phase IV (minimum and pre-release/ work release) treatment participants regularly attend programming offered at the Community Corrections Center.

The Hampshire Sheriff’s Office sponsors 2 weekly aftercare meetings. One is located at the Community Corrections Center, and the other offered at the main facility and/or at The James House on Gothic Street in Northampton. All ex-offenders are invited to attend.

GOALS of the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office Lifeskills Treatment Program:

  • Protect the public by reducing recidivism.
  • Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of transitioning recovering substance abusing offenders back into the community.
  • Increase the effectiveness of treatment to the offender population.
  • Increase opportunities for family integration.
  • Promote healthy communities through on-going collaboration with volunteer and community agencies.

The goals of the program achieved through the accomplishment of the following objectives:

1. The Hampshire House of Correction Treatment Department utilizes a comprehensive Assessment system:

A) Intakes are performed on all new arrivals to the facility. At this time a basic screening for substance abuse (including potential detoxification needs) services is completed. This screening intake is performed by a qualified case manager and/or clinician. It is completed within 24 hours of arrival to the facility.

B) The LS/CMI (Level of Service Case management Inventory) and the ASUS (Adult Substance Use Survey) are the research based assessment tools used to specifically address need areas of offenders. This assessment examines substance abuse, criminogenic, family, legal, employment, education and mental health as well as other psycho-social factors that impact successful reintegration and the likelihood an offender will recidivate should these need areas not be addressed. A DSM IV Diagnosis specific to substance abuse and dependence is part of this assessment process. The LS/CMI and the ASUS are performed by trained and qualified case managers. This assessment is usually completed within 48 hours of the sentenced individual’s arrival to the House of Correction. Individuals who score in the 7th decile or above on the ASUS are automatically referred to mental health for screening. Both results and recommendations of The LS/CMI and ASUS are reviewed, documented, and discussed with each offender.

C) A Treatment Plan is developed with each offender as the result of the findings of the Initial Intake, LS/CMI, ASUS, recommendations from probation, parole or other collaborating community agencies, and include specific requests by the offender. The individualized treatment plan is developed with a case manager, substance abuse clinician, reentry coordinator, and individual offender. Treatment plans include services for, however are not limited to: substance abuse and relapse prevention, education (pre GED, GED, literacy, post GED, college, and vocational classes) family issues, parenting, communicable disease education, employment and or vocational services, anger management, addictive and criminal thinking, victim impact, anger management, decisional training, religious instruction and worship, self-help groups including AA, NA, Smart Recovery, Big Book Step Study Groups, community based AA Meetings (for men in minimum and Pre-Release) as well as Peer-Led Groups that address substance abuse. We offer relaxation, stress management (for example: labyrinth walk program), and other creative stress reduction opportunities such as art classes and creative writing.

Phase I Community Accountability Program:

Most new program participants arrive to this Phase, as soon as the Assessment (LS/CMI and ASUS) has been completed. Orientation, including all rules and expectations is held each Wednesday morning. Reentry services are initiated during orientation and all offenders are provided a discharge planning book to begin working on. New arrivals participate in substance abuse education; relapse prevention, educational services, criminal thinking and victim impact groups, and aftercare groups. Some participants will gain access to anger management, and domestic violence treatment. If sentence structure dictates, some individuals are placed in release preparation groups while in Phase I. There is one community meeting each afternoon, and all offenders are expected to attend. The primary goal of Phase I is to prepare participants for Phase II and to address the needs of men who will not have time (less than 6 months) for transition to Phase II. Participants are involved in a minimum of 2 staff facilitated groups daily, as well as self-help and volunteer run groups.

Phase II Lifeskills Program:

Optimally designed for individuals who are at least 6 months from release date. Admission is based on a Phase I participant filling out an application requesting admission to the Phase II. The application is discussed at a weekly staff meeting (director of treatment, mental health clinician, case managers, and substance abuse clinicians, supervisor of education, communicable disease coordinator, and security staff) and applicants approved are maintained on a wait list for admission to Phase II. The Lifeskills Program is designed to be increasingly more structured, demanding, and rewarding than Phase I, with increased emphasis on the Unit as a Community, and the participant as a pro-social member of the recovery community. The model is based on both therapeutic community and self-help models of substance abuse treatment. Community Meetings are held twice daily, in the morning and in the late afternoon. The program is designed to be a minimum of 6-months in length. Men take on increased responsibility and earn increasing awards throughout the duration of the program. Participants are eligible to receive a certificate after 6 continuous months. Participants in Phase II Lifeskills have priority for more in- depth and advanced treatment groups, advanced college level classes (the Amherst College Classes for example), and creative activities such as writing classes, working in the cane shop and wood shop, participating in the labyrinth group, and the NEADS puppy training program).

Phase III Minimum:

This is the entry way to minimum and pre-release. Most Phase II participants and some participants directly from Phase I (due to sentence structure) will see a classification board and be deemed eligible for minimum. At least 30 days is spent attending in-house groups and completing Phase III assignments. The discharge planner, which offenders initiate during orientation, must be fully completed during Phase III. Participants begin attending AA in the local community during this phase. Aftercare Counseling and Re-Entry Groups are a requirement of Phase III.

Phase IV Pre-Release:

After successful completion of a minimum of 30-days in Phase III Minimum, a completed and approved discharge plan, and positive reviews, individuals may apply for Phase IV Pre-Release. This phase includes at least 30 days of Community Service, attendance at all group treatment and AA Meetings during the late afternoon and evening hours as well as groups facilitated at Community Corrections. Many men will have the opportunity to pursue employment and occasional furloughs while in the Pre-Release Program. We provide transportation to all inmates released who are transitioning to Halfway Houses, Sober Houses and/or Shelters. We include trips to probation and parole as well as to the local bank if necessary. Men who are returning home, who need transportation are provided it as well.

Community Service is a large component to our Phase III and IV Programming. Some of our projects include: Bag Share, Habitat for Humanity, DPW Crews, Hadley Housing, Easthampton Senior Housing and Community Corrections.

Frequent urinalysis testing is provided in all phases of the program in order to provide a strong deterrent to relapse as well as maintain a safe, pro-social environment in support of recovery.