Steps Toward Emotional Growth and Awareness (STAGES) Program

Program Description The STAGES Program is a residential treatment program for male inmates with serious mental illnesses and a primary diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. The program uses an integrative model which includes a modified therapeutic community, cognitive behavioral therapies, and skills training. The program is designed to increase the time between disruptive behaviors, foster living within the general population or community setting, and increase pro-social skills.
Time Frame The STAGES Program is conducted over 12-18 months. Inmates may participate in the program at any time during their sentence. Formal programming is facilitated half-days, five days a week with the remaining half-day dedicated to an institution work assignment or other programming.
Admission Criteria Inmates referred to the STAGES Program have a primary diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and a history of unfavorable institutional adjustment linked to this disorder. Examples of unfavorable institutional adjustment include multiple incident reports, suicide watches, and/or extended placement in restrictive housing. Inmates designated to the STAGES Program must volunteer for treatment and be willing to actively engage in the treatment process. Willingness to engage in the treatment is assessed through a brief course of pre-treatment in which the inmate learns basic skills at the referring institution.
Program Content The program curriculum is derived from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and takes place in a modified therapeutic community. There is also an emphasis on basic cognitive-behavioral skills consistent with other Bureau treatment programs; for example, criminal thinking is addressed through the identification of criminal thinking errors and engagement in pro-social interactions with staff and peers. Program content is designed to prepare inmates for the transition to less secure prison settings and promote successful reentry into society at the conclusion of their term of incarceration. Program staff collaborates with community partners to facilitate reentry.
Empirical Support DBT is an evidence-based practice for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, with strong empirical support. In addition, the cognitive-behavioral interventions and modified therapeutic community model employed in the program are well supported in the professional literature. These interventions appear in a number of evidence-based programs (EBPs) registries.
Applicable Policies 5330.11 Psychology Treatment Programs.
Institution Locations The Stages Program is available at the following facilities:

North Central Region
STAGES Program
FCI Terre Haute, IN-Medium
Secure STAGES Program
USP Florence, CO-High
(Effective 9/ 2014)