Adult Residential Programs
As a residential community corrections program, Alpha has been in existence since 1973. The program began treating sex offenders in 1974. Alpha Human Services is a private non-profit corporation licensed and certified by the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
Information concerning Alpha's programs can be obtained by addressing inquiries to the Executive Director (612 872-8218 ext. 17) or the Intake Department (612 823-3707). Inquiries may also be sent to Alpha Human Services, 2712 Fremont Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408-1198 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Specific client referrals should be directed to the Intake Department.
One of the characteristics distinguishing Alpha's residential program from all other Minnesota community-based treatment facilities is that Alpha specializes in providing treatment for most categories of sexually deviant offenders.
The adult residential program is highly structured and provides 24-hour staff coverage. Adult males demonstrating sexually problematic or criminal behavior are eligible for admission. Most program participants have a criminal conviction.
The primary objective of the program is to modify deviant criminal and antisocial behavior; i.e., to reduce the likelihood of that behavior recurring. In addition to improved emotional and mental health, the program emphasizes adaptive behavior which generally falls into three basic areas:
- Meaningful interpersonal relationships and family interaction, including appropriate sexual behavior and social skills.
- Appropriate work behavior and responsible self-support skills.
- Healthy, responsible interactions with the community.
Although Alpha has a distinct cognitive-behavioral orientation, the techniques used in therapy at Alpha are eclectic and encompass behavioral, affective, and cognitive techniques.
In general, the staff takes the position that most behavior is learned, consequently, inappropriate conduct can be replaced by newly learned appropriate behavior.
In addition to individual psychotherapy, the program relies heavily on group therapy, and, in a sense, the structure of the program provides a microcosm of society. Alpha emphasizes accountability and individual responsibility for behavior and actions.
In each of the first four phases, the resident has the opportunity to earn successive privileges which give him more responsibility in the program and more freedom of movement in the community.
Intensive therapy takes place during the first four phases while the fifth phase (post-residential) is used to gradually ease the individual back into the community and to allow therapy to continue on an outpatient basis.
The length of time spent in the program is quite variable, depending on client characteristics and the treatment plan objectives.
As previously stated, the primary program goal of Alpha Human Services is to extinguish or reduce the probability of recurring sexually inappropriate or criminal behavior. This larger goal will be satisfied by attempting to resolve a large number of contributing issues considered to support or perpetuate the behavior.
The first treatment issue which must be addressed is the initial suppression of the offending behavior through outside control, comprehensive monitoring and supervision, peer pressure, etc. The offender must be able, very shortly, to admit to his offense(s) and to alter the defense mechanisms and attitudes which have helped perpetuate his behavior. He must also be able to identify and intervene in the chain of environmental and psychological events typically leading to his acting out.
This will include, for many residents, the identification and alteration of the highly reinforcing practice of masturbating to, or ruminating on, unhealthy or criminal sexual fantasy material.
The offender is also required to acquire a thorough knowledge of the total effects of his behavior on the victim(s) and on himself. This requires the development of genuine empathy and respect for the feelings and well-being of other people.
Each client at Alpha is required to demonstrate a thorough understanding of human sexuality and to be able to identify and develop appropriate sexual values stressing respect and empathy for persons with whom one wishes to be sexually involved. This implies the severing of many clients' pairing of their sexuality with exploitation, violence, hostility, need for power, and need to humiliate others.
Most serious sexually problematic and criminal behavior, particularly if it has become patterned, is fueled in part by unresolved emotional trauma and conflict. Intensive therapeutic intervention to relieve and resolve underlying emotional issues through affective and/or dynamic treatment modes is a treatment goal. An offender’s cognitive distortions are also addressed.
Reducing chemical abuse and dependency is of primary concern at Alpha. Drugs and alcohol generally exacerbate sexual as well as other forms of misconduct. Sometimes, offenders use drugs and alcohol to reduce the fear of consequences which might otherwise stop them from acting out. Drugs and alcohol are also used in many cases to medicate the emotional stress (guilt, fear, etc.) caused by the negative behavior. Drugs tend to reduce an already diminished level of judgment, reasoning, and impulse control. These drug-related phenomena, of course, directly affect the probability of an individual acting out.
General Outcome Goals:
- Reduce serious crime and victimization of innocent people.
- Reduce the probability of sexual misconduct recurring.
- Reduce reliance on public assistance.
- Provide services at a cost to the taxpayers that are less than the cost of incarceration.
Client Intra-Psychic (Psychological) Goals:
- Encourage client to admit to and take full responsibility for offense(s).
- Address with client possible compulsive characteristics of offense(s) and sexual behavior.
- Increase the likelihood of conscientious, responsible appropriate sexual behavior.
- Address and alter behavioral events leading to acting out such as masturbating to unhealthy fantasies, identifying potential targets, using violence or abusively-oriented pornography, etc.
- Increase client's proficiency at daily living skills.
- Increase client's skill level in interacting socially in friendships and in romantic/sexual, and other types of relationships.
- Strengthen client's capability to control his own behavior through effective ego intervention.
- Increase client's overall capacity to respond honestly and responsibly in all areas of life.
- Increase general capacity to behave in a conscientious and responsible fashion.
- Extinguish or decrease criminal, inappropriate, and unhealthy sexual behavior.
- Extinguish or decrease antisocial behavior in general.
- Help client reduce the connection between destructive emotive state (anger, need for power) and sexuality.
- Increase the pairing of love, friendship, and empathy with sexuality.
- Increase client's capacity to identify and express feelings appropriately.
- Resolve client's past and present emotional trauma through intensive psychotherapy.
- Reduce client's feelings of shame, inadequacy, mistrust, and hostility.
- Increase client's capacity to experience feelings of genuine remorse, love, happiness, trust, empathy, etc.
- Increase client's capacity and likelihood of healing affective wounds through trusting relationships with others.
- Challenge client's distorted and ineffective belief systems and values.
- Challenge and confront client's cognitive defense system perpetuating negative behavior.
- Educate client thoroughly in the area of sexuality.
- Alleviate client's identity confusion by nurturing positive sexual and personal identity.
- Educate client thoroughly in decision-making skills.
- Improve client's general cognitive functioning and problem-solving ability.
- Provide positive and influential peer group in therapy.
- Give the responsibility of providing and carrying through treatment objectives to peer group.
- Create norms in peer group stressing honesty, empathy and taking of personal responsibility for behavior, etc.
- Establish "family" atmosphere among peers, thus promoting strong bonds of friendship, care, and trust.
- Encourage through peer group a sense of “belonging” and reduction of self-centeredness.
- Reduce or eliminate chemical and alcohol abuse through specialized groups, individual therapy, and outside resources.
- Increase level of vocational adjustment.
Improve work behavior.
Improve job-seeking skills.
Improve ability to achieve and maintain responsible self-support.
- Improve financial management skills.
- Address and change maladaptive culturally-reinforced values.
General sexual objectification of humans by society.
Stereotypic male/female roles stressing aggressiveness in men, passivity in women, etc.
Pairing of violence, need for power, etc., and sexuality reflected in mass media.
- Improve parenting skills.
- Obtain a minimum educational level of high school diploma or the equivalent.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to adequately describe all therapeutic aspects of intensive programs. Because of the basic structure, environment, and constant observed interactions with others, many therapeutic experiences occur for each resident.
Alpha offers a 90-120 day remedial option for sex offenders who are not adequately progressing in their outpatient treatment programs. This is a therapeutic alternative to revocation for those individuals who have not sexually re-offended, but who are in danger of being adversely discharged from outpatient programming.
Discharged Due to:
- Failure to fully disclose information about current conviction and deviant sexual practices.
- Failure to adequately participate in treatment process.
- Poor attendance.
- Noncompliance with assignments and restrictions.
- Monitoring difficulties in the community
- Unsupervised/unauthorized contact with victims or minors.
- Increased amenability for outpatient treatment.
- Increased disclosure about offense and deviant sexual arousal patterns.
- Increased participation in treatment groups.
- Improved interpersonal skills.
- Development of cognitive-behavioral reconditioning techniques to decrease deviant arousal patterns.
- Reduced cognitive rigidity and modified belief system.
- Completion of individualized goals as formulated with the referral source.
- Participation in treatment program milieu.
- Group therapy participation.
- Written assignments.
- Behavioral assignments.
- Psychiatric or psychological evaluation.
Since Alpha's residential program is located in the community rather than in a secure institution, concern for community safety is always a primary consideration in the day-to-day operation of the program. Public safety is inherent in all staff decision-making.