Turning Leaf Project, located in Charleston, SC, serves men who have been assessed at a medium to high risk of incarceration to change their attitudes, thinking, and behavior so they can adapt successfully to community based living without re-offending. The City of Charleston and Chief Gregory Mullen recognizes Turning Leaf for its promising model in this video:
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Turning Leaf is being used as an alternative to prison for federal inmates. The program uses a risk assessment to ensure that they only work with individuals that are likely to be re-arrested without an intervention, those considered “high risk” to return to criminal behavior. Most recent national data reports that 67% of everyone leaving prison will return in three years. Although Turning Leaf is a new new organization with limited data, their initial results are promising. Their three year goal is a re-incarceration rate of less than 30% for program graduates. Turning Leaf follows the rules of Evidence-Based Practices (EBP), which are the only programs shown by research to reduce recidivism. Historically, EBP comes from the medical field as a method to utilize clinical research findings to improve medical decision making and lower risk. In corrections, Evidence-Based Practice is the breadth of research and knowledge around processes and tools which can improve correctional outcomes, such as reduced recidivism. Some people leaving incarceration are much more likely to continue their criminal behavior than others. These “high risk” individuals are who is being served at Turning Leaf. Rules of Evidence-Based Practice state that working with low risk individuals does not produce significant reductions in recidivism and can actually increase chances of reoffending. They use a risk assessment to determine who really needs an intervention, and who will likely not be able to change their old habits without the program’s help. Students enrolled in their community based program are initially in groups five days a week from 9am – 12pm. They are assigned a Case Manager to develop an individualized success plan based on their risks, needs and strengths. After being assigned to transitional employment, students are also assigned a Job Coach who supports their on-the-job success.
Turning Leaf has been featured by numerous publications and national experts as a best practice model. Follow the links below for highlights of their work:
For more information on Turning Leaf, you can visit their website: http://www.turningleafproject.org/