First group of offenders graduates from new E.A.G.L.E. behavioral health program

First group of offenders graduates from new E.A.G.L.E. behavioral health program

(L-R) Clifton Ruggs, Michael Cahalin, Elizabeth Atterberry (Regional Mental Health Director), Kimberly Foster (Mental Health Director), Denise Dickinson and Beth Prentzler

The E.A.G.L.E. program within the Missouri Department of Corrections (MODOC) saw its first class graduate recently at South Central Correctional Center (SCCC) in Licking, Missouri. The newly created behavioral health program, which stands for ‘Emotions, Attitudes, Growth, Learning and Excelling,’ is an intensive in-cell segregation program designed to improve and enhance communications, thinking processes, positive reactions to anger, self-esteem and behaviors, as well as bolster an overall understanding of self.

Offenders who reside in segregation for an extended period of time, eight weeks or longer, are eligible to participate in E.A.G.L.E., while offenders with mental health scores of three or four will automatically be allowed to enroll. Enrollment in the program is strictly voluntary. Those offenders who do not meet the previous two requirements but wish to participate may submit a request to express their interest, and a therapist will meet with the offender to discuss further.

Alan Earls, Deputy Division Director for the MODOC’s Division of Adult Institutions, had this to say about the program, “Great work. Looking forward to seeing a difference in offender behavior and preparing them for GP [general population] and/or eventual release.”

As a result of their efforts in developing this promising program, the group responsible has been recognized with a SMART Bonus for excellence. The group, comprised entirely of qualified mental health professionals, is already discussing enhancements to the program, with a future goal of adapting the E.A.G.L.E. program for special needs offenders. Group members are: Clifton Ruggs, Institutional Chief of Mental Health Services at South Central Correctional Center (SCCC); Michael Cahalin of Jefferson City Correctional Center (JCCC); Denise Dickinson of Chillicothe Correctional Center (CCC); and Beth Prentzler of Moberly Correctional Center (MCC).