Programming Security Chair

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Programming for offenders is an integral part of their rehabilitation. Cell front delivery of programming has been very inefficient in the past for offenders residing within DOC’s Intensive Management Unit (IMU), but this was the only way programming could be delivered. CI has designed an alternative to cell front delivery. With the creation of the programming security chair, IMU and segregated offenders are now able to be part of the classroom model; a small group setting of between two (2) and eight (8) offenders, a facilitator and a correctional officer. The chair allows for safe student engagement with the facilitators as well as with other offenders. The chairs are an innovative tool that helped revolutionize DOC’s approach to managing highest risk offenders.

The design of the programming security chair allows offenders to shift seating positions for comfort without compromising security. Offenders are able to relax, open up, and behave in ways that are not typically found in high security settings. No longer are race, affiliations, or differences a hindrance to these offenders being offered the same programming considerations that those in general population are offered. This is not to say that the DOC feels the chairs and a few hours of classroom time will completely change the core values of the offenders or the life time of reinforced behavior they come to DOC with, but they are a step in the right direction. The programming security chairs allow offenders to see the world from a different viewpoint, in addition to allowing staff see the offenders in a different light. The classroom environment incentivizes good behavior and facilitates engagement in the programs. Correctional officers report that the offenders who attend sessions become easier to work with in their housing units.

Deputy Director of prisons, Scott Frakes, says, “Offenders that transition to lower custody levels and pursue programming opportunities have a greater chance of breaking out of the cycle of criminal thinking, violent behavior, and self-destructive behavior. The chair can be the beginning of a new journey for offenders trapped in the world of high security housing.”

    Program Highlights:

  • Offenders learn new social skills and anger control techniques allowing them to react appropriately during challenging situations.
  • Contributes to their success in staying out of IMU and making better choices while living in prison.
  • Brings rival security threat group members together in the same room and compels them to interact with each other appropriately.
  • Breaks the cycle of negative behavior and helps offenders to function in a pro-social manner.
    Measureable Outcomes:

  • Offender attendance.
  • Increase in pro-social skill competency development and social responsibility.
  • Decrease in infraction and grievance activity.

Washington State DOC is not the only state that sees the benefits of the programming security chair. Several other states including Arizona, Alaska, and Oregon, also believe in the benefits of the classroom setting for their IMU offenders and have installed CI’s programming security chairs in some of their prisons.