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Think First and Act Later

January 25, 2019

By Alexandra Barton

DOC Communications

(Alexandra Barton, DOC Communications)

The noise of the room begins to fade as people take their seats and get out their folders to start the biweekly session of Thinking for a Change. Class facilitators Bill Corbett and Sasha Matthews ask those present to get out their assignment from last week as the group discussion begins.

After spending time in prison, it can be tough for people to adjust to their new life when releasing back into their community. Thinking for a Change, a cognitive behavioral program that teaches coping mechanisms and conflict de-escalation skills, helps individuals have a smoother reentry into the community.

Participant Brandon Figg struggled with changing his attitudes and beliefs. Figg said his time in the program has made him think more intentionally about how he interacts with others.

“Before it was just a class that I had to take and something that I avoided while I was in prison, now I wish I would have got it done. It’s positively reinforcing things that I need to practice on a daily basis,” Figg said.

Corbett said that the program provides the opportunity to have a non-judgmental discussion with those under community supervision to address mistakes and give the hope for change in the future. Programs like this help the department in its mission to improve public safety by teaching people to slow down and think before they act.

Participant Beau Finley said that he has learned more in the program than any other, and has become much more social than before.

“I’ve always had a problem of just reacting and saying the first thing that pops in my mind, but now I’m slowing down and trying to recognize how it’s going to make the other person feel,” Finley said.