In 2014 Nebraska took a giant step toward fixing pervasive issues plaguing agencies throughout the justice system culminating in a prison system that was bursting at the seams. The state enlisted the services of the Council of State Governments (CSG), a national organization dedicated to helping state governments problem-solve and develop policies for the common good. Over the next several years, the CSG worked to help Nebraska usher in policies that would begin to shape justice reinvestment in the state. Along with the CSG’s initial assessment procedures, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) asked the group to do an additional review of its institutional programming. The report, released in June of 2016, drove home what many of us who had been working to implement programming within the Department had already experienced: not enough staff to run programs and not enough assessment procedures and training in place to ensure programs are running well. The report also detailed a number of recommendations for NDCS, which included providing more efficient and effective programming. We were delighted to see the effort we had given to specific areas of Transformation Project curriculum and implementation matched perfectly with the CSG’s recommendations. By working to address multiple criminogenic needs at once, building proficiency by integrating graduated skills practice and utilizing gender and youth specific curriculum, Transformation Project is ahead of the curve when it comes to comprehensive prison programming. Our attention to incorporating fidelity measures is also right on target to help overcome some of the issues faced by corrections systems as they work to implement programming. This is reassuring as we develop a program that fits the needs of Nebraska and meets high national standards.
Nebraska Center for Justice Research, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Solomon, Starr; Spohn, Ryan E.; Van Dyke, Marcia; and Schoenrock, Laura, "The Transformation Project: Program Update 2015-2016" (2017). Reports. 100.