Moral Reconation Therapy—MRT® in Therapeutic Communities
MRT was first implemented in a prison-based Therapeutic Community (TC) in 1986. MRT is a SAMHSA NREPP registered program. The initial implementation of MRT was designed to enhance the overall treatment of the TC, lower program recidivism and increase program participation, and remove the subjective aspect often observed in drug treatment programs. In TCs, MRT is incorporated into the various activities 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 in TCs. An MRT-trained facilitator (usually a program counselor or correctional officer) conducts each group meeting according to guidelines outlined in the training. Clients in the program each have an MRT workbook — How To Escape Your Prison. Basic MRT has 12 steps, with a general written discussion of each step in the workbook, followed by the exercises and homework requirements.
Most TCs 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.
Within a TC, counselors usually have a caseload of participants who are assigned to that counselor's MRT groups. However 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 TCs that has collected outcome data has reported significantly lower recidivism and lower disciplinary infractions. A massive amount of data has been collected on TC implementations of MRT. 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. Outcome research reports can be found here.
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 in TCs.
Basic MRT training is required for all MRT facilitators. Call CCI (901) 360-1564 for information.
Length of Program/Completion Rate:
In TCs the average (mean) number of group meetings is variable depending on location and the type of TC. Many TCs offer MRT groups in such a way that it takes participants 9 months or more to complete the program. In general, most TC participants complete all MRT steps in 20-32 group sessions. TC completion rates have varied between 40%-99%. The mean completion rate for TCs is about 65%.
Other Program Components Typically Used:
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: