A wide-ranging new study, led by Principle Investigator Dr. Stacy Calhoun, of the University of California Los Angeles, has found that Center for Council's statewide Inmate Council Program demonstrated "significantly positive outcomes" for the subjects involved in the study.
This study involved 399 inmates participating in ICP groups throughout eight different facilities, and examined quantitative measures, as well as qualitative assessments of program impact. The study looked at factors including changes in physical and verbal aggression, anger, hostility and PTSD symptomatology and found notable decreases in those areas, among inmates who participated in the program. The study also found statistically significant increases in measures of resilience, empathy, mindfulness and social connectedness. Dr. Calhoun's report states that "findings from this evaluation suggest that this program is having a positive impact on participants who complete it, with many indicating a high level of satisfaction with the program."
The study utilized a range of academically validated measurement scales, including the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), Brief Resilience Scale (BRCS), Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire-Short Form (FFMQ-SF), Short-Form Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ-SF), Social Connectedness Scale-Revised (SCS-R), Mental Health Inventory-5 (MHI-5), The Active-Empathic Listening Scale (AELS), and the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). In addition to statistical analysis, the research team also conducted interviews and focus groups with participants, as well as program staff.
The research design has been developed over several years of analysis of the ICP, which has been offered to inmates in CDCR facilities since 2013. In 2018, Center for Council was asked by the Office of the Inspector General to present its approach to research, which focuses on shifting criminogenic factors like empathy, impulse control and anti-sociality, to the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board. Methodology developed for this research has been referenced in the state's CARE Grant program, enacted into California penal code in July of 2019.
The results of the study will be published in an upcoming article. The evaluation report can be viewed here.