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Moving On Program’s Successes Shared at Graduation Ceremony for Mission Creek Inmates

June 6, 2016

Submitted by Angela Hosking

Department of Corrections

Moving On is an evidence-based program that takes a strengths-based approach intended to reduce recidivism rates by providing women with alternatives free from criminal activity that lead to productive lives after release (Tim Kelly , DOC Communications) See photo gallery...

BELFAIR Thirty-eight inmates graduated the Moving On program at Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women at a ceremony May 18.

The program, which is offered at both Mission Creek and Washington Corrections Center for Women, is an evidence-based program that takes a strengths-based approach intended to improve public safety by reducing recidivism rates. Moving On curriculum accomplishes this mission by providing women with alternatives free from criminal activity that lead to productive lives after release.

Speakers at the graduation ceremony included Victoria Dalseg, program manager for the Offender Change Division and Brittany Declements, a former offender who graduated from the very first Moving On class at the prison nearly three years ago.

An audience of 130 people—including offenders’ guests, family members and current and past program participants, gathered to watch program graduates receive their certificates and hear Declements speak about how the Moving On program helped her succeed after her release from prison.

“Failure and getting high are no longer an option,” she said. “It’s not about force, it’s about will. Nobody is going to force you to change. It’s about how much you’re willing to change.”

Declements, 30, spent just under four years in prison for taking motor vehicles without permission and was released late last year. She said the Moving On program helped her learn from past mistakes, change her perspective about herself and set goals.

Since she released from prison, she got a job at a coffee shop that eventually turned into a full-time management position. With lots of work and careful budgeting, she paid off fines, bought a car and obtained her driver’s license. She hopes sharing the story of how dealing with challenges helped her find strength to turn her life around will inspire others.

During the class, women attend two hour group sessions twice a week for 13 weeks. The program targets offenders whose classification levels are considered the most likely to reoffend (high violent or high non-violent) and whom are nearing the end of their sentences. Specialists in the offender change division screen offenders and make participant recommendations to program facilitators.

More than 100 women have graduated the program since it was launched in 2013. Its classes teach female offenders to reconnect with their families, build self-esteem, deal with emotions related to trauma, and what it means to be in a healthy relationship.

The program is part of the Department of Corrections’ gender response initiative, which encourages prison staff to focus on specific needs of female inmates. Historically, corrections practices have been primarily used for working with male inmates. However, in recent years, studies have shown those practices often can’t be used the same way when dealing with female inmates. The initiative focused on gender responsive practices such as developing more gender-specific programming, educating staff on effects of trauma, and developing risk and needs assessments for female inmates.

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