Criminal Offenders (working through the court system)


Why do criminal offenders re-offend? What is it about HAT that can help parolees, probationers, and offenders stop the cycle of thinking that leads to criminal behaviors?


HAT uses a model of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that helps people understand, identify, and modify the dysfunctional beliefs, thoughts, and patterns that lead to criminal behaviors in the first place. This therapeutic model applied through the HAT program explains how flawed thinking, lack of personal awareness, cognitive deficits, and distorted beliefs lead to breaking the law or other negative behaviors affecting personal relationships. Our program emphasizes personal accountability and helps the offender to understand their beliefs, cognitive limitations, and lines of thinking that leads to negative outcomes of their life choices. The offender learns how their distorted thinking leads to breaking the law and how to change their thought processes before they commit a crime. When applying the HAT program, a focus on how criminal thinking leads to criminal behavior is used to challenge distorted cognitions. Many times criminal offenders misinterpret social cues, justify their flawed thinking and behaviors, feel entitled and a need to dominate, and may lack moral reasoning. These patterns of criminal thinking are learned behaviors and can be “un-learned”. Current justice system penalties focus on punishing the behavior rather than treating the origin of the actual problem. People commit crimes because there is a flaw in the way they think and perceive the world around them. That kind of thinking does not change merely because they have been punished. If the punishment method was effective all on its own, then recidivism rates of offenders would be much lower than they are. The thinking changes when the offender is placed in a structured therapeutic environment that challenges their beliefs and distorted perceptions over time and treatment of underlying psychological disorders that contributed to the criminal behavior originally.


I really want to try Horse Assisted Therapy (HAT), but is it safe?


Paradise Ranch has an extensive training program for HAT providers and horses. Paradise Ranch horses are selected based on their personality, attitude, and desire to work with people. Our horse handlers and providers spend years studying horse behavior and natural training techniques. Our providers understand how to read the horse’s behaviors and know what the horse is saying to the people around the horse. Also, providers take cues from your body language and verbal tones to help you understand what the horse is “hearing” from tone and body position. The horses are trained to never kick, bite, or show any aggression towards humans. This makes our program one of the safest and most effective horse programs.


How long does the HAT process take?


Every person is different in their needs, experiences, and life challenges. HAT providers take this into consideration when developing the treatment plan for you and assess progress every 90 days. Some people benefit from weekly sessions while others that have been in the program for several months see continued success through bi-weekly or once a month sessions. Generally, sessions start frequently and are more intense and as you see improvements in behavior and attitude, the intensity and frequency slows down. We encourage you to take the program one day at a time and before you know it, you will feel like a happy and productive version of your former self.


Does Paradise Ranch take insurance?


Paradise Ranch does currently take fee for service (FFS) Medicaid for medically necessary treatment. This includes psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) and family therapy. The process for this treatment is a little different from HAT and requires annual assessments and a mental health diagnosis. Talk to your in-take provider if you think this is an option for your family. Additional programs may be available through the court system or parole. Talk to your judge or parole/probation officer if you think HAT may be an option for you.


How do I start HAT sessions?


Call 702-515-7117 to schedule your evaluation appointment. During this appointment you will fill out all the necessary paperwork and meet your in-take provider. Your provider will give you a full tour of the facility, introduce you to all the horses, and answer any questions you have about the HAT program. Treatment is a team effort, so your family is welcome at the appointment and is invited to provide feedback during the appointment. This appointment is when we establish general goals and objectives. Make sure to wear closed toed shoes and pants. No sandals, flip-flops, crocs, etc. 

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