President’s Report

Commitment to Excellence

Last newsletter, I talked about the criminal justice reform bills Governor Snyder signed at the Walnut & Park Café in March. Senate Bill 8 was one of those bills and requires the use of evidence-based practices for community based supervision, probation and parole. This applies to both the Michigan Department of Corrections and any agency that receives state funding and is responsible for supervising individuals who are on probation or parole. Ann Webb, KPEP Director of Treatment Services, takes a closer look at evidenced-based practices in this newsletter.

We are very pleased with all of the legislation – SB 8 in particular, as it represents how we have done business for many years. I’ve long advocated for increased standards including the use of evidenced-based practices and accreditation for all agencies like KPEP in Michigan. We need proven policies, programs and curriculums in place to reduce recidivism with this population.

I’m often asked “What is KPEP?” It is sometimes difficult to explain to people who are not part of the criminal justice system. I tell people that we are a correctional rehabilitation program. In other words, a corrections facility that also provides treatment. I always emphasize the corrections aspect of what we do because the majority of our funding comes from the Michigan Department of Corrections or the Federal Bureau of Prisons. All of our residents are sentenced through the courts to complete the program. This makes us different than a traditional treatment program that also works with offenders.

When someone is sentenced to KPEP, it is the result of and “punishment” for criminal activity. But it can be a productive punishment as opposed to jail or prison in that the individual can leave with the tools necessary to be successful.

To ensure their sentence is productive, we start with an assessment to determine the types and levels of treatment or programming needed for each person. This is important, as Ann points out, in that too much treatment can do more harm than good.

For instance, someone with a substance abuse disorder may be assessed as needing either residential level or outpatient level substance abuse treatment. An assessment is used to determine the level of cognitive behavioral treatment. Changing criminal thinking patterns is key to reducing recidivism. We also look at previous education or employment to determine deficiencies that need to be addressed. Someone with a limited work history may be a good candidate for our vocational program. Not only will he or she learn culinary or custodial skills, but also the general work skills that apply to all professions.

But, as important as the assessments are, program quality is key to success. How do we maintain quality? Years ago the board decided to commit to the accreditation process through the American Correctional Association (ACA). We are still the only program in the state of Michigan with this accreditation. In addition to this, all of our facilities are accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Three of our locations have been audited and are in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards. The other three will go through that audit process in the next year. We have annual audits of our financials and our employee retirement plan. We are licensed for both outpatient and residential substance abuse disorder treatment through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). In addition to all of these, we are subject to constant oversight and auditing for our various contracts with the Michigan Department of Corrections, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the United States Probation Office.

This commitment to excellence defines how we do business and has helped us grow our programs to better serve our communities. We are encouraged by the recent legislation and the commitment to new standards like the use of only evidenced-based practices.