State DOC Helps High-Risk Offenders Readjust Their Attitudes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

State DOC Helps High-Risk Offenders Readjust Their Attitudes

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YAKIMA, WA.--The State Department of Corrections is making some changes, and taking a new approach when it comes to improving high risk offender behavior out of the prison cell.

"I had the whole office on standby ready to, I don't know I blew up," said Chris Gilchrist.

Gilchrist talks about a recent mishap with his corrections officer. He lost his cool and made a scene. In Thursday's class, he practiced apologizing.

"Prior to being in this class, I was a type of person that was very argumentative," said Gilchrist. "I was full of excuses. I didn't know how to get what I wanted in an appropriate manner."

"It's been helpful to them," said Teresa Carlson, a Community Corrections Officer. "They have seen now that where their thinking has led to errors."

Like all of the people in class, Gilchrist has found himself behind bars a time or two for committing a felony. The Washington State Department of Corrections wants to help, and is taking on a new approach to help high-risk offenders get their lives back on track.

It's called "Thinking For a Change," and it asks offenders to reflect on their previous attitudes and behaviors.

"Before, I really wouldn't think before I reacted, I'd just do whatever I wanted to and then deal with the consequences later," said Skyler Metherd. "Now, I think about my consequences before."

"I'm not running around with old friends, and acting the way that I used to act," said Gilchrist. "I'm more interested in employment and recovering and being more presentable."

The class will last about four to five months, and then it's up them to use these skills in their everyday life.

The State Department of Corrections adopted the program, "Thinking For a Change," last year. They've joined corrections agencies throughout the nation using this program to successfully reduce the amount of repeat offenders.