Bar Association Support to Improve Correctional Services (BASICS) is an offender rehabilitation program sponsored by the BASICS Committee of the State Bar of Georgia. BASICS assists program participants in being able to stay out of jail, by legitimate means, once they are released by providing effective instruction, guidance, and employability counseling.
BASICS Mission is to aid and steer inmates in the direction of self-rehabilitation. During the classes, we assist with developing career, educational and/or work plans, preparing resumes, setting goals, and teaching interviewing techniques. Upon release, we assist with job research, applying for colleges or vocational schools, completing or changing personal action plans, as well as developing financial plans. This decreases the likelihood that these individuals will return to jail.
BASICS is offered at 26 sites throughout GA and has graduated over 10,000 participants in 35 years.
The BASICS Program was initiated in 1976 by the American Bar Association in answer to a Supreme Court challenge to attorneys to have a more active role in criminal reform. About 22 Bar Associations around the country started BASICS programs at that time. While each program was different, they all addressed criminal reform. The State Bar of Georgia's BASICS World of Work Program is the only one still in existence.
BASICS provides stable, positive, weekly instruction by well trained and dedicated instructors and staff, positive relationships with participants and facility staff, comprehensive exposure to BASICS World of Work principles, and carefully prepared lesson plans with handouts and homework relevant to instruction.
BASICS World of Work Course
BASICS is a ten-week course that teaches motivation, business education, and personal development to inmates that are within a year of release. The program offers workshops to residents of Georgia diversion and transitional centers, as well as employability counseling to individuals that participated in the program while they were incarcerated.
The BASICS program has specific goals. However, the bottom line is to equip program participants with a set of competencies which are necessary to have a positive foundation for success.
BASICS participants are exposed to: Structured World of Work Program delivery; Positive guidance, instruction, counseling, and outreach to facilitate growth; Cultivation of moral assets and value direction; and Educational and career competencies promoting respect for community, family, and work.
BASICS Client Population
The BASICS program is offered to inmates within the Georgia prison system that are within 12 months of release and residents of diversion and transitional centers. There is no requirement to participate in the program, as it is a voluntary class. The average class size is 20 participants. BASICS graduates 80 percent of its participants.
The cost for BASICS per person varies from year to year, but it usually stays between $300 and $400. On the contrary, it costs from $18,000 to $25,000 to keep one person incarcerated for just one year in GA. The GA Department of Corrections is housing 50,000 inmates, of which 52 percent have been incarcerated before and 40% will return within 3 years of release.
BASICS Impact on Society
Society benefits by having fewer people incarcerated, more individuals paying taxes, more productive citizens, and less crime. Whenever a successful BASICS graduate is released into the community and becomes a productive citizen, the community safety is increased and law enforcement and prison costs are reduced. Accordingly, both society and the former inmate-participant benefit from the operation of BASICS.
Previous evaluations have shown that inmates who graduate from the BASICS program are less likely to return to incarceration than their counterparts. In addition, 75% of BASICS graduates maintain jobs and/or are promoted after their release.
BASICS Instructors are extremely qualified, well-trained professionals, who are dedicated to serving the client population. BASICS Instructors meet quarterly to receive relevant training updates, build on each others strengths, and ultimately share experiences that will facilitate the ongoing success of the program. Instructors are individuals with college degrees, most with masters or doctorates, who are business and/or human resource professionals with years of experience with the BASICS program and in private industry, federal, state and local government.
The State Bar of Georgia is the ground sponsor of the World of Work Program through the BASICS Committee. The GA Legislative Council and GA Bar Foundation provide generous funding support for the program. Since its inception, BASICS has received private donations from various agencies and organizations to help meet the expenses of operating the World of Work Program.
BASICS Initial Outcomes --
Participants are prepared to:
Comprehend the World of Work;
Develop a plan of action and prepare a budget;
Comprehend basic principles of work;
Identify career choices/educational choices;
Develop a sense of connection with their community; and
Understand and respect the role of management, supervisors, and employers.
BASICS Intermediate Outcomes --
Develop a sense of self-worth, usefulness, competence, influence and self-control;
Lead productive lifestyles, have a positive self-concept, and are more socially adaptable;
Employ basic values and beliefs and value diversity in styles and beliefs; and
Are employable or prepared to be entrepreneurs.
BASICS Long Term Outcomes --
Motivated about the World of Work;
Equipped with a plan of action to ensure success;
Able to communicate effectively and present themselves appropriately;
Equipped with a value system to contribute positively to society;
Able to understand a basic budget and money management for financial planning;
Maintaining employment, pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities and being promoted within jobs; and
Leading successful lifestyles that prevent them from returning to a life of crime.