Inmate Programs

St. Louis County Jail Inmate Services

The Department of Justice Services is dedicated to improving the behaviors, attitudes, and lifestyles of individuals before they are released into the community.  Our goal is to help inmates learn the skills needed to develop a positive outlook and improve their lives. Our classes focus on possible causes of criminal behavior along with ways to focus on more productive lifestyle choices that are not driven by crime.

Anger Management

This course focuses on the emotion of anger and its relationship to their past. Participants are instructed on efforts to control their response to anger and how to identify triggers, recognize physical anger signals, and get in touch with self-talk. Role playing is commonly used to encourage participants to think before reacting, placing their intellect above their emotion.

Art Therapy

In this course, self-perception as well as media are explored. Participants use art materials to create drawings, etc. based on given themes and share them with the class. 
Inmates are also offered the opportunity to prepare and test for the GED exam.

Beat the Streets

The purpose of this program is to provide specific skills and strategies that will assist each participant upon their return to a high risk living environment. Participants will identify the most common relapse traps and determine what relapse preventive strategies they can use to maintain sobriety.

Breaking Barriers

This is a video class on change through cognitive psychology and changing thoughts.

Building Healthy Relationships

The purpose of this program is to inform and assist the participant in learning what is healthy and unhealthy in a relationship and the keys to developing healthy relationships. They learn skills and develop habits that will build and maintain healthy relationships to enhance their personal life.

They learn how to identify links between past experiences and relationships, including family of origin and present relationships. Along with thes skills, participants will evaluate their values, their behaviors, and clarify who they are, what they need, want from, and are willing to give to a relationship.

Our goal is to instill a sense of self-worth and what it means to love oneself while loving another and developing skills that can make it happen.


Choices is a 90-day substance abuse recovery program available to both male and female inmates housed in the Justice Center. Inmates are sentenced to the program by the St. Louis County Judicial Courts. Inmates participate in a 90 day shock incarceration, which includes psycho-educational treatment programs that incorporate a 12-step recovery program.

The Choices program is broken into five phases: Criminality, Substance Abuse, Anger Management, Life Management, and Relapse Prevention/After care.

They learn about addiction and how it affects their lives by attending group sessions, educational classes, lectures and individual counseling. Our mission is to empower participants to choose a lifestyle free of alcohol, other drug addictions and criminal behavior. 

The "Concerned Persons" program meets monthly on Saturdays. This allows relatives and friends to learn more about the program, addictive behaviors and their role in the inmates' lives once the inmate completes the program and returns to society.

There is also a voluntary weekly after care program to discuss recovery issues and life after incarceration.

Commitment to Change

 The primary purpose of this program is to motivate and encourage participants in personal change.  Through classes, they are able to relate to others who have experienced recidivism with certain patterns in thinking, such as doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, only to experience the same result that sent them here in the first place.

Participants begin by looking at themselves, and becomes aware of, and are able to identify errors in thinking and tactics used to block change in their lives. They learn what it is to make  responsible choices and to take personal responsibility for their own actions, also to seek and accept help when needed.

They learn that while change is never easy, there are practical steps and ways to change and to take those steps toward a life that is truly free.

Domestic Violence

This educational course explores several topics related to Domestic Violence such as: the Rights of Battered Women, the Cycle of Violence, Effects of Domestic Violence on Children, Children of Battered Women, Myths of Abuse, Forms of Abuse: Physical, Emotional and Sexual, Cycle of Violence, The Power and Control Wheel, Ex-parte Orders (Protection Orders), and Plans for Safety.

Drug and Alcohol Education

This program provides information regarding the physiological, psychological, social, and legal impact of substance abuse. Participants are instructed on methods to avoid addiction or methods of recovering from an addiction. The primary focus is on the relationship between substance abuse and criminal behavior.

HIV/AIDS Awareness

This is an educational program taught by qualified counselors who have been trained by the Red Cross. The program is designed to teach participants the facts, concerns, and fears that surround HIV/AIDS, and the spreading of this illness.

Life Skills

This program is composed of sessions on money and credit, stress and health, decision making, time management, conflict negotiation, as well as community resources and assertiveness.

Parenting (Male and Female Offenders)

This program's purpose is to inform and assist participants with developing or strengthening the bond between parent and child.   

Attendees will identify individual parenting problems and create ideas and suggestions for improving parenting skills. Different parenting styles and the links between past childhood experiences, including family of origin, in relation to parenting will now be addressed.

We discuss the developmental stages of a child; preventable birth defects; ways to provide loving support and to build self-esteem in children, ways to improve communication with children, discipline methods, setting adult/child boundaries, and building memories and traditions within a family.

Seeking Safety

This is a program directed specifically at females. It is directed to women who have a history of substance abuse and/or post traumatic stress syndrome. It shows women how to deal with the disease and the reoccurring thought processes that may continue after a woman has been traumatized such as through physical, sexual, or mental abuse, and automobile accidents.

Stress Management

The purpose of this class is to teach ways to recognize the causes and types of stress they experience. The offender will learn skills associated with handling stress and physical relaxation exercises associated with alleviating stress. The goal is to gain a sense of control over their responses by using self-talk to control stressful reactions.

Success Stories

The purpose of this program is to assist in the realization that change is possible! 

Through the lives of those that have finally found a path to a better life, participants learn to develop a personal and reality based plan for change by accepting responsibility for their own actions and learning the choices that make the difference.

Barriers to change, along with temptations and triggers that bring so many back to prison are explored. They learn about making responsible choices and to set realistic goals for themselves and to realize the importance of seeking help when they need it.

Family issues, support systems, work, anger, and self-esteem issues are also addressed.