Established in 2006 through a grant from the Department of Justice, Project Roots is a community corrections program that provides specialized supervision and treatment for convicted sex offenders under community-based supervision in St. Joseph County.
While extensive registration and notification programs promote public safety through community awareness, they do not address the root issues underlying criminal thoughts and behavior in the individual offender. Two approaches, risk management through supervision and risk reduction through treatment, create a potent system to hold sex offenders accountable and protect the community.
An oversight committee meets monthly to determine individual offender eligibility for the subsidy and to discuss treatment participation. Project Roots offenders must actively participate in their treatment to remain eligible to stay in the program, and a failure to do so will result in sanctions up to and including revocation of their parole or probation. This sex-offender specific treatment consists of weekly group and individual meetings and regular polygraph testing to support and complement treatment.
Project Roots employs a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) model that focuses on relapse prevention. CBT is the best studied and most promising approach to sex offender treatment, and helps participants identify the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that led to their offense. Project Roots participants are required to address the thin