The current report outlines the history of the Transformation Project (TP), highlights prior evaluations, and presents a new evaluation. Recommendations for the future of TP conclude the report. TP is a pilot cognitive-behavioral program that targets criminogenic thinking patterns and attitudes in order to promote prosocial outcomes. TP seeks to assist inmates to identify and alter thinking patterns that lead to antisocial behavior. Its ultimate goal is to reduce institutional misconducts and community recidivism, and increase quality of life for inmates and correctional staff. There are 13 modules completed by each participant. The modules are then collected by staff, commented on by facilitators, returned to participant, and recompleted by the participant. The trained facilitators determine when a participant has completed the necessary cognitive change to advance to the next module. Facilitators are to use Motivational Interviewing techniques that they receive full training on prior to facilitation. To assess change and program fidelity, there were two evaluation scales administered to participants during programming: the Motivation to Change Scale (MTC) and the Client Evaluation for Motivational Interviewing Scale (CEMI). A pre-post design, the MTC was to be given at the orientation module and upon completion of the 13th module. The CEMI was to be given at modules four, eight, and 12, in order for participants to first get a grasp on the facilitator and reevaluate twice. In addition to the annotated history of the TP, the current report also provides a new evaluation that examines the TP administered in restrictive housing units in three medium to maximum custody facilities. While prior evaluations have examined TP in the prison general population, the current only examines TP in restrictive housing, which is the only setting in which TP has been running since 2016. The evaluation is limited in its ability to provide a comprehensive process (i.e., formative or implementation) evaluation of program fidelity, but does provide a considerable outcome (i.e., summative) evaluation analysis. Findings suggest that overall, participants (N = 546) had higher motivation to change their anti-social attitudes/behaviors to more pro-social ones at the end, compared to the beginning of programming. However, when considering only the proportion of those completing all 13 modules (N = 91), motivation for change scores did not increase over time. Unfortunately, there was no comparison group available, due to multiple policy changes over the past decade and the program being fully available to all individuals housed in restrictive housing units during the years examined. Essentially, study design and program implementation severely limited the evaluation from estimating a program effect with sufficient power. Further, the proportion of the sample completing all five prescribed scales was less than 2.2 percent, making quantitative analysis of completers fundamentally moot. Considering the low-fidelity by which the program was administered and data was collected, the current findings should be taken with caution. Generalizations regarding the TPs potential to affect change within participants and achieve its stated goals should not be made with current or past findings.
However, the report concludes with recommendations to assist future evaluation and implementation. Program fidelity is a central component to the recommendations. Highlights include: Requiring separate agencies to implement and evaluate the program. The program coordinator’s sole job responsibilities should rest with the TP. The coordinator should be employed by the agency that implements the program. Both agencies should be involved in the development of process (formative) and outcome (summative) measures prior to implementation. A logic model should be developed and followed to ensure consistency of program delivery. The development of metrics and an analysis plan to evaluate the implementation should occur prior to implementation. All data should be stored and tracked digitally. Extensive follow-up (e.g., 3 years) should be conducted on the outcome measures. At least one control group should be developed. Control measures should be taken on control and participant groups at multiple points in time, with extensive follow-up. Informal buy-in is necessary for all levels of administration. Program facilitators should be qualified, trained, and retrained.
Nebraska Center for Justice Research, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Campagna, Michael; and Spohn, Ryan E., "The Transformation Project: Program Update & Recommendations for the Future - 2019" (2019). Reports. 96.