Moral Reconation Therapy—MRT® in Prisons



MRT has been used in prison-based programs since 1986. It is a SAMHSA NREPP registered program. It has been implemented in prison drug treatment programs, prison-based Therapeutic Communities (TC), and in general inmate populations. In drug programs and TCs, MRT is incorporated into the activity schedule of the program unit. MRT groups, in which participants present their MRT homework (assigned in each MRT step), are typically held one-to-three times a week. The number of participants in each MRT group varies between 8 to 40, but 12-15 participants is typical. An MRT-trained facilitator (usually a program counselor, teacher, or correctional officer) conducts each group meeting according to guidelines outlined in the training. Each client in the program must have an MRT workbook — How To Escape Your Prison (or one of the workbook variations). Basic MRT has 12 steps, with a general written discussion of each step in the workbook, followed by the exercises and homework requirements. Most prison-based drug programs have progressive levels of treatment. Many programs use MRT step completion as the primary objective criteria that determine when a client moves from one level to another. This means that MRT is the central treatment component of the program, but not the only one. When MRT is employed with general inmate populations within prisons, it has been done in two basic ways. 1) Correctional education departments have found that having teachers conduct MRT groups for their inmate students is easily accomplished. It leads to higher satisfaction levels for the teachers and increases student performance in classes. Studies performed by the Delaware Department of Correction's Education Division found that the addition of MRT to their educational component significantly reduced recidivism as well as significantly lower disciplinary infractions. 2) In many prisons MRT is conducted by facility counselors and selected correctional officers who have been trained in MRT. Each counselor or officer operates one or more MRT groups as part of their work assignment. At each MRT group time, the inmates assigned to that particular meeting gather in a classroom or other private area with their MRT facilitator. Because MRT is objective and every MRT group operates in the same manner, any trained MRT facilitator is able to step in to any MRT group when necessary and continue the group without problems. Every MRT program in prison settings that has collected outcome data has reported significantly lower recidivism and lower disciplinary infractions. Outcome research reports can be found here.


A Spanish version of the workbook is available along with both Spanish and English versions of the book on audio CDs for participants with poor reading skills.


All MRT groups are open-ended. This means that new clients can enter a group at any time and be incorporated into the program. Research shows that MRT works equally well with male and female offenders.


Training Required:


Basic MRT training is required for all MRT facilitators. Call CCI (901) 360-1564 for information.


Length of Program/Completion Rate:


In prison settings the average (mean) number of group meetings is variable depending on location and the type of prison program. In general, most offenders complete all MRT steps in 20-32 group sessions. Program completion rates have varied between 40%-99%. The mean completion rate for programs is about 70%.


Other Program Components Typically Used:


Prison-based drug treatment programs and TCs that use MRT usually conduct several other cognitive-behavioral programs with their participants. Some of these components are used with all participants while others are based on individual needs. These are:


Relapse Prevention

Character Development

Anger Management


Family Support

Job Readiness


Sex Offender Relapse Prevention


To purchase products please visit Correctional Counseling, Inc., or call:

(901) 360-1564


Moral Reconation Therapy—MRT® products are published by Eagle Wing Books, Inc.


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