What is (R)IGNITE?
(R)IGNITE is MCSO carrying out its mission of safely operating our detention facilities through progressive, innovative, and humane practices aimed towards rehabilitating those in custody through non-conventional methods and returning citizens back into our community with hope and a chance for a successful future.

(R)IGNITE will expand program opportunities and incentivize good behavior for residents within Detention Center Central, add additional purpose to the role of Detention Officer and create an environment of growth with the goal of extending (R)IGNITE in housing units throughout the facility.

Why is (R)IGNITE important?
(R)IGNITE is important to MCSO staff, it’s residents and the community. It is important to MCSO staff because it will provide a more structured environment within general housing units for residents to better utilize their time. This will result in a safer environment for Detention Officers and residents who will be better equipped to follow the rules of the facility and directives of the officers. Additionally, it will provide officers an opportunity to become change agents who will help facilitate a process of change that begins to occur within participating residents.

(R)IGNITE is important to residents because it provides them an opportunity to address the challenge that brought them into conflict with the law by participating in life-skill based programming in general housing with the eventual aim of transferring into a specialized program housing unit. Residents will understand that their place on respective waitlists to transfer into a specialized program housing unit is contingent upon their participation in programming and behavior in general housing.

(R)IGNITE is important to the community because increased participation of residents in programming will consequently increase the percentage of residents being released to the community with hope and better prepared to be successful. Increasing public safety by providing program opportunities for those who threaten it will in turn create a greater quality of life for all Mecklenburg County residents.

How will (R)IGNITE be implemented?
(R)IGNITE will be implemented into general housing units in a phased approached. (R)IGNITE will be launched on the 3rd floor (3700, 3800 and 3900) and residents in these respective housing units will be oriented with the details of (R)IGNITE and advised of specific program opportunities being made available to them. Upon completion of several program cycles within these housing units, opportunities will expand to the 4th floor (4800 and 4900). The (R)IGNITE expansion will continue until all housing units in the towers are engaged in a continuous program cycle.

Programming in general housing units will be scheduled on M-W-F or T-TH for 90 minutes in the morning or afternoon. A variety of programs (list on separate page) addressing the criminogenic risk factors (antisocial behavior; antisocial personality; criminal thinking; criminal associates; dysfunctional family; employment and education; leisure and recreation; and substance use) will be offered.

1st Phase of Programming

Thinking for A Change: Thinking for a Change is a problem-solving curriculum embellished by both cognitive restructuring and social skills interventions, which teaches participants cognitive skills of taking an objective, systematic approach to identifying thinking, beliefs, attitudes, and values. Participants also learn problem solving techniques, providing participants the ability to evaluate themselves using a skills checklist, to increase their own cognitive skills.

Substance Use Education: Participants gain knowledge on substance use and explore the cycle of substance use and the biological, psychological, and social aspects of addiction.

Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP): The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) program is a wellness and recovery approach that helps people cope with intrusive or troubling feelings and behaviors, increase personal empowerment, improve quality of life, and achieve life goals and dreams. Participants achieve 20 hours toward a Peer Support Specialist certification

Domestic Violence: Male participants explore an evidenced-based curriculum, Growing Up Male®, about how violence starts in men’s lives by holding pain inside and turning anger into violence. This curriculum also explores how women are targets of male violence. Participants learn tools on how to get help with their physical, emotional, and sexual abuse trauma. Women receive an introductory session on domestic violence awareness and participate in one-week long classes.

Life Skills: Participants are taught to accept responsibility for their behavior and to take deliberate steps toward change through an understanding of Perceptual Control Theory.

Working Smart: Participants are enrolled in a 5 module, 16-lesson curriculum that enhances job-seeker skills such as self-awareness, self-management, work ethics, communication, and problem-solving skills. This certification provides participants with soft skills for workplace success.

The Next Great 50: Participants will learn from financial advisors, credit specialists, business consultants, teachers, and educators to create opportunities for aspiring business owners.

Trappin 101: Participants will learn the basics of money management and the keys to wealth, utilizing video content of Leon Howard, a former drug dealer who went from trappin in the hood to trappin on Wall Street.

Officer Talking Points

    • Program Housing Units have zero officer assaults across all Administrations since the late 90’s.
    • Program Housing Units have the fewest fights amongst residents across all Administrations since the late 90’s.
    • The majority of behavior challenges in Program Housing Units are considered minor. (i.e. shirt not tucked in, no arm band, playing cards in bathroom, etc.)
    • (R)IGNITE will provide consistency amongst all (R)IGNITE Housing Units.
    • Officers in Program Housing Unit have fewer residents in the pod due to residents being in classrooms during the day.
    • A major goal of (R)IGNITE is to incentivize good behavior from residents to create safer structured environments within housing units for staff and residents.
    • In general, Program Officers experience less stress in Program Housing Units as opposed to General Housing Unit Officers.
    • In general, there is mutual respect between Program Officers and residents in Program Housing Units.
    • Program Officers and Programs Staff work collaboratively to address behavior challenges within the housing unit.
    • Detention staff will have support from their COC to ensure officers are successful.
    • (R)IGNITE Program Officers will provide support and mentoring throughout program Implementation.

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