The Kentucky State Reformatory offers a wide range of programs to the inmate population. These programs are designed to assist the inmate based upon their needs and desire for self-help.
Pre Release Program
The pre-release program was initiated in August of 2004. The program is designed to encourage the inmate to plan for release back into society. Inmates who are paroling as well as those who will be serving out are encouraged to participate in the program. When an inmate is within 180 days of release, he is asked about needs he might have upon release. Those needs are documented and available resources are researched for the area in which he plans to reside. Within 90 days of release, the inmate is encouraged to attend a 20 + hour program designed to address many of the fears and concerns the inmate has about release. Topics discussed are: Readjusting to Society; Community Resources/Survival Planning on the Streets; Understanding the Parole Board Process and the Probation and Parole Officer’s Process; The Inner You (Cognitive Skill, Values Clarification, Time and Stress Management, Communication Skills, etc.); Preparing for Success; and three sessions on Employment Search (encouraged to complete a resume during these sessions, role playing job interviews, etc.). At the end of this program, each inmate receives an individual packet of information (Department Of Employment Services, Department of Vocational/Rehabilitation/Veteran Affairs, Ky. Cares, etc.) for the area in which he will be residing. The packet will include general information and additional information to meet the individual needs of the inmate, which he expects to have upon release, as documented through out the program. The packet is still available for those who choose not to attend the program, if requested in a timely manner. The program’s goal is to give the inmate population the skills and resources needed to contribute to their successful reintegration into society.
The institution currently has two (2) Alcoholic Anonymous groups, which serve the needs of the inmate population. The AA groups follow the 12-step program of the National AA program and use teaching material from the national organizations. Each group has over 125 participants due to the high number of inmates with alcohol addiction histories. Each group maintains an extensive waiting list of inmates that have been recommended to the program through their caseworkers. Alcoholic Anonymous Group I meet on Tuesday nights and Group 2 meets on Wednesday nights of each week. The meeting are conducted in the KSR Visiting Room. The 2 AA groups have outside volunteers who each week bring in speakers from outside AA groups to help the inmates understand and follow the AA program and to share their experiences and problems with alcohol and/or drugs on the street.
The Audio Visual Club at the Kentucky State Reformatory assists all other institutional organizations with the procurement and operation of audio / visual equipment whenever they are needed. The have by-weekly meetings and usually have guest speakers from outside church groups and universities. They contribute $1000.00 dollars annually to the scholarship fund. This fund is used to pay for college classes provided to inmates here at KSR. They raise the money for the scholarship fund by organizing food projects with outside vendors such as Domino's Pizza and Avon. This experience gives the inmates a chance to learn operational and organizational skills that will be extremely beneficial to them as they rebuild their lives in the community.
Books Behind Bars
Books Behind Bars is a program which brings together college students from Bellarmine University and KSR Inmates to discuss contemporary issues in our society. The main objective is to interact with and learn from people whose social backgrounds and life experiences are very different from and to read selected articles on current topics and to discuss these issues in small groups which include a mix of inmates and students. Reading material is provided by the Professor from Bellarmine.
Boy Scouts of America - Troop 825
Troop 825 was started at KSR in 1990 and is the only Boy Scout Troop located inside a correctional facility in the United States. The troop has a membership limit of 25 members, which stays full. Most of the members reside in Unit C. Special allowances were made for the fact that these are inmates (such as the age requirements and mental health condition) and scout activities which would not be appropriate in an institution. The Troop meets once a month for fellowship and study programs. The Troop has an ongoing program of collecting soft drink cans to raise money for Troop activities, inmate scholarships and outside projects. The Troop has been written up several times in the past by the Courier Journal and Channel 11 has taped a short piece on the Troop to be aired in November.
The KSR FireHouse Stay Straight AA/NA is a non-professional, self-supporting, non-denominational, multisocial and a political group. There are no age or educational requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to do something about his drug or alcohol problem. The mission for AA/NA members is to share their experiences with those who seek help for a substance abuse problem. The group set forth ways for each member to develop a life without dependency through our twelve- (12) step program. The group has open speaker meetings for inmates by using outside volunteers and guests. The group uses open discussion meetings (one member speaks and we have open discussion afterwards) and we discuss one particular step of the twelve (12) step program.
The primary purpose of AA/NA is to carry a message of recovery to anyone seeking help. Every AA/NA treatment tries to maintain sobriety hopefully with enough tools and information. AA/NA also participates in community services by providing donations to the Crusade for Children and a Christmas donation to the HOST House located in LaGrange. When someone is released back into society, with continued participation they can hope for a better and more productive life.
Narcotics Anonymous is a self-help group that meets once a week within the institution. The NA group follows the 12-step program of the National NA program and use teaching material from the national organization. The mission statement of our group is to provide an environment within the correctional setting where those with drug dependencies can participate in a twelve-step program comparable to those programs available outside the correctional setting. The group meets once a week in the visiting room and has 183 members at this time with the use of outside volunteers. The group has by laws and a governing board voted on by the inmate members. It has the same status as a club within the institution and as such is required to have two service projects per year and two money making projects per year.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is an organization that has affiliation with the National NAACP organization. The purpose of this organization is to improve the political, educational, social and economic status of minority groups. The NAACP currently has about 40 members. The club participates, helps to fund Educational Programs, and some Social events. The NAACP also promotes good behavior, as members must keep clean conduct to participate in the program. The NAACP Chapter also follows the same guidelines as the National NAACP.
The Thespians Club
Thespians, Inc. (Incarcerated, not Incorporated) provides an artistic outlet for talented inmates to showcase their acting, singing, and playwriting abilities. The group operates on a semester basis in conjunction with Bellarmine University, producing two shows a year. In the fall, the group produces a holiday show to be performed in December. In the spring, the group produces a show centered around a theme of their choosing. All plays are original pieces written and acted out by inmates of the Reformatory with Bellarmine University students and staff directing, producing, and organizing the performance. Performances include one-act plays, multiple act plays, humorous musical company numbers, as well as solo musical performances and narrative flashbacks. The shows are presented to inmates housed in the C.P.T.U. (Correctional Psychiatric Treatment Unit) and the N.C.F. (Nursing Care Facility), as well as for the institution’s general population. The shows are also performed for staff, Bellarmine students, and the families of the performing inmates. The Bellarmine students get to witness first hand the positive aspects and results of disciplined, dedicated, and responsible inmates. The inmates involved are held to a high standard - they must attend all rehearsals and are removed from the group for incurring disciplinary action.
The Kentucky State Reformatory Veterans Club is an organization available to all military veterans of the United States, regardless of status of discharge, provided they have documented record of service verified by either a DD Form 214 or Certificate of Service. The organization serves as a forum for items of interest to the Veteran, resource center for areas of assistance to Veterans, and a gathering place to share common experiences, concerns, and solutions specific to an Incarcerated Veteran. Besides being a conduit for Veteran assistance, the KSR Veterans Club is also oriented toward assistance to the general inmate population. Through the use of fund raising projects, the Veterans provide tuition assistance for those inmates desiring college education, regardless of Veteran status as well as funding for special activities in the KSR Nursing Care Facility. The KSR Veterans Club, being aware of special needs in the community outside of the correctional system, also provides monetary assistance to group homes and special need housing shelters.