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Therapy Program Helps Shawnee County Jail Inmates Forge New Path

The Topeka Capital-Journal

By Katie Moore

Teddy Kleiner, an inmate at the Shawnee County Jail, said a program at the facility aimed at reducing recidivism has given him the opportunity to “dig down deep.”

The Moral Reconation Therapy program has prompted Kleiner to come to the realization that he has betrayed people and caused them pain.

“I didn’t like what I seen in the mirror,” he said during last week’s group session. “I don’t have to be that guy anymore. I feel so much lighter, capable.”

Corrections officer Edna Raub said MRT was developed based on the belief that there is good in everyone.

The program, for parolees, is voluntary.

“They want change, they want to be here,” Raub said of the participants who meet once a week.

Since the MRT program began in December, Raub said she has seen a decrease in write-ups and fights. “MRT helps us (officers) out,” she said. “I think it’s amazing. The program has just really taken off.”

Chad Askins addresses the group of men, each wearing county issued jumpsuits, to discuss challenges dealing with another inmate. During a confrontation, he momentarily “lost it,” he said. But other men in the group helped deescalate the situation.

“The important part is you got it back,” said program consultant Juna Green. “It’s a huge deal. I’m really proud of you.” Askins said he has some issues including drug use and anger, but the program helps by touching on all of them. “This class is really important to me,” he said.

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