1st Step Referral Services

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MPRI-Breaking the Cycle

The MPRI-BTC program is modeled after the Breaking the Cycle program first introduced by 1st Step Referral Services in 2002. However, the MPRI-BTC program focuses on Life Skill programming only and was developed specifically for the Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative.


MPRI-Breaking the Cycle (BTC) is a cognitive re-structuring program designed specifically for the men and women transitioning back into their communities after incarceration. Studies clearly show that cognitive behavioral models are a critical factor in the reduction of recidivism. The cognitive behavior theory (CBT) is based on the assumption that most emotional and behavioral reactions are learned. Therefore the goal of programming is to help clients unlearn their unwanted reactions, to re-learn a new way of acting and to break the cycle of unwanted consequences.


One of the primary goals of the MPRI-BTC program is to help the offender take responsibility for his or her actions and raise the level of moral reasoning from doing what feels good, what is demanded by one's peers or what has been learned to what is right, legally or morally. This is done through a series of systematic learning and application modules.


The MPRI-BTC program is highly instructive in nature and makes good use of group problem identification, self-study assignments and practical application. The program is structured and directive with a defined agenda for each session. Specific techniques/concepts are taught during each session. The program does not tell the clients what to do---it teaches clients How To Do It.


An overview of MPRI- BTC:1st Step Referrals Services has been presenting cognitive behavior programming for the criminal justice system since 2002. Clients are referred to the MPRI-BTC program by their Parole Agent or an MPRI Specialist. Programming begins with the client attending one of the bi-weekly Foundation Sessions. The following week they enter a 12-week program comprised of six Workshop Topics: Thinking Errors, Triggers & Resistance Skills, Problem Solving, Anger & Stress Management Skills and Healthy Relationships. Each workshop consists of two sessions and concludes with a Post-Knowledge Quiz, a Client Self-Evaluation and a brief description of their learning experience.


The MPRI-BTC program seeks the following Outcomes:


  • Client becomes aware of thinking and behavior patterns that keep them stuck in a cycle of unwanted consequences.
  • Client develops a more open and honest relationship with themselves and others.
  • Client becomes engaged in applying new, positive techniques to support a higher quality of life and to prevent relapse back into old behaviors.