NCCHC Program of the Year Award

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This award recognizes programs of excellence among the thousands provided by accredited prisons, jails and juvenile facilities.

Dauphin County Prison, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Broad Array of Inmate Health Programs

Rehabilitation is the putative goal of most correctional facilities, and the Dauphin County Prison takes this goal seriously, stating that it aims “not to warehouse individuals” but to offer programs to enhance “abilities to deal with normal everyday activities.”

No wonder, then, that the treatment programs provided to the 1,000+ inmates comprise an entire department. The treatment department’s four areas—counseling, education, operations and community connections—provide dozens of services that range from GED education to casework, addiction treatment, violence intervention, support skills, therapeutic communities and more.

Accredited by NCCHC since 1989, the facility holds pretrial detainees and sentenced inmates in minimum through maximum security housing. A full-time correctional counselor is assigned to each housing unit. These dedicated career professionals facilitate the inmates’ participation in a robust array of mental health, medical wellness, life-skills, educational and job-readiness training programs designed to prepare them for a successful return to community life. Reincarceration rates for participants in the therapeutic communities range between 25% and 40%, compared to about 75% for those in the general population.

The treatment programs also directly support many NCCHC standards, including coordinating medical and dental health needs, mental health services, health and nutrition, comprehensive pregnancy services, HIV awareness and detailed discharge planning tailored to each inmate.

These programs owe much of their success to the cooperation, professional approach and mutual respect that exists between the health services staff and all levels of the security staff and administration. And these outstanding programs undoubtedly have had profound positive effects on the treatment and care of individuals housed in the Dauphin County Prison.