MRT Group In Richland Co. Jail

Since becoming sheriff and even before that Richland County Sheriff John Dynneson has been looking at ways to reduce recidivism in Richland County. Working with local resources to have AA and NA meetings in the jail has been helpful but has not assisted in keeping recidivism numbers down. In the fall of 2021 Sheriff Dynneson reached out to Prairie Hills Recovery Center to discuss some treatment options that could be done in the jail.

Licensed Addiction Counselor Kayla Anderson comes into the jail weekly and provides Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) Group. MRT is a systematic, cognitive-behavioral, step by step treatment strategy designed to enhance self-image, promote growth of a positive, productive identity and facilitate the development of higher stages of moral reasoning. There are over 120 studies that show MRT significantly increases moral reasoning levels, enhances life purpose, facilitates increased social support and give participants more perceived control over their lives.

“This is a great program. You can see the changes in participants as they go through and read the material and think about their lives.” Kayla Anderson facilitates the MRT Group in the Richland County Detention Center weekly for both men and women. “We have had seven inmates graduate since we have been offering the group in the jail. The group started in the Richland County Detention Center in November 2021.”

“Most of the inmates tell me that there is nothing like this offered in other jails around the area they have been in. Some even say there are no self-help meetings that come in from the community to offer addiction support,” says Anderson. “It is a great feeling being part of a community with a sheriff, and other colleagues of mine, that want to offer support for individuals who are incarcerated for many different charges that have to do with their substance use disorder.”

Some of the jail participants have said the book is very good at getting you to evaluate your own mind and thought processes. They say they are learning to be honest and reevaluate their values.

Sheriff Dynneson expresses his sincere gratitude to Counselor Anderson, the county commissioners and his detention staff for recognizing the need for this treatment option and working in a cooperative effort to make this option a success.


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