Minnesota Department of Corrections


Division Directive:                204.060                       Title: Challenge Incarceration Program – Phase I

Issue Date:                             1/19/16

Effective Date:                      2/2/16


AUTHORITY:          Minn. Stat. §§244.17 through 244.172


PURPOSE:    To provide eligible incarcerated offenders the opportunity to voluntarily participate in the Minnesota Department of Correction’s Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) - early release program.


APPLICABILITY:   Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC); offenders incarcerated in adult correctional facilities


DIRECTIVE: The CIP is a highly structured and rigorous voluntary program that provides eligible offenders an opportunity to successfully complete targeted programming to meet individual needs, as identified by assessments, thus lowering an offender’s risk for recidivism.  As outlined in Minn. Stat. §244.171, the program’s goals are (1) to punish and hold the offender accountable, (2) to protect the safety of the public, (3) to treat offenders who are chemically dependent, and (4) to prepare the offender for successful reintegration into society.  A copy of all CIP acceptance/denial responses must be filed in the offender’s base file.  A copy of all CIP documentation must be retained electronically in the correctional operations management system (COMS) and/or the CIP file.



Administrative review team – a group of staff comprised of the CIP program director/designee, the director of nursing/designee (medical), the behavioral health director/designee (chemical dependency and mental health).


Discipline – a graduated system of interventions, designed to hold offenders accountable and ensure a safe environment, while at the same time support learning.  This system works to identify anti-social behavior and support the offender in learning and exhibiting pro-social behaviors.


File review team – a group of staff comprised of the program director/designee, case managers, the office and administrative specialist (OAS) responsible for waiting list coordination, health services staff, and mental health services staff.


Full participation – meeting all of the required physical, medical, behavioral, and programmatic requirements of the program.  An offender’s progress is regularly reviewed by the program review team (PRT).


Medical health denial of entrance/program termination – the offender is unable to meet basic physical requirements, unable to participate in prescribed rehabilitative exercise program without causing further injury to an effected body part and/or aggravate a medical condition, or has a chronic or newly diagnosed disease that is not under control, as determined by a medical practitioner in consultation with the CIP program director/designee and the director of nursing/designee.


Mental health denial of entrance/program termination – the offender is unable to meet basic program requirements due to instability of mood/adjustment disorder or major mental illness, or has a chronic or newly-diagnosed mental illness or disorder that is not under control, as determined by a behavioral health provider in consultation with the CIP program director/designee and the behavioral health manager/designee.


Military bearing - the act of self-discipline and the presentation of discipline through an offender's actions and speech, as outlined in the CIP Offender Handbook.


Military drill and ceremony - marching formations for squad and company movements, as outlined in the CIP Offender Handbook.


Program agreement (CIP Phase I Agreement, attached)- outlines the program requirements and expectations to which the offender agrees and signs prior to entering the program.


Program review team (PRT) – a group of staff comprised of (but not limited to): the CIP program director/designee, the behavioral health program director/designee, case manager(s), agent(s), corrections program therapist(s), the athletic trainer, the education teacher, squad officers, and any other staff that is part of the offender’s program planning team.



A.        Application process:

1.         If an offender is within 60 months of his/her confinement release milestone, either at the time of admission to the DOC or at any time during incarceration, the offender may apply for participation in the CIP.

a)         Offenders who are release violators with a new sentence are eligible for CIP admission and must complete any accountability time prior to release to phase II.

b)         Offenders who are release violators due to technical violations are not eligible.

c)         Offenders who have consecutive sentences are eligible for CIP admission.

d)         Offenders who are subject to a current arrest warrant or detainer are not eligible for CIP admission.  This includes offenders with pending charges.  Once a pending change is resolved, the offender may be eligible for CIP.

e)         Offenders must have 13 months or more to confinement release milestone.  Statute requires a minimum of six months (180 days) participation in phase I and a minimum of six months participation in phase II of the program.

f)         Offenders only have one opportunity to participate in the CIP.  Offenders who have previously participated in the CIP are not eligible.


2.         To apply, the offender must contact CIP through his/her case manager (sending an email to “WR-Intake”), by sending an Application form (attached), or by sending a kite to “Willow River Intake.”  The file review team reviews all applications through a formal process utilizing the admission criteria as outlined in Minn. Stat. §§ 244.17 through 244.172.


3.         The offender applicant is either approved (eligible) or denied.  CIP sends the offender applicant a response in writing, noting the status of the application and if approved, a tentative admission date.  A copy of the response is sent to the offender’s case manager.


4.         If denied entrance, the offender may appeal the decision of the file review team; see the Appeals Process Chart (attached) and Procedure F “appeals process.”


5.         When an offender changes his/her mind regarding application to the CIP, he/she must notify his/her case manager, who completes the CIP Intake Removal form (attached).  The case manager must send the completed form to the “WR-Intake” email address.


B.        Admission process:

1.         Each offender must meet the medical and mental health criteria as determined by the screening process and if unable to meet the criteria, the offender is denied entrance.  To continue to be eligible for CIP, offenders must fully cooperate with and successfully complete all pre-CIP reception and orientation sessions, programming, and screening components.  To complete the screening process –

a)         Male offenders are transferred to the Minnesota Correctional Facility - Moose Lake (MCF-ML) in sufficient time to prepare for admission.

b)         Female offenders are screened at the Minnesota Correctional Facility – Shakopee (MCF-SHK).


2.         Once all pre-CIP components are completed, the administrative review team reviews the offender’s admission file.  If the offender is fully approved for participation in CIP, the offender is admitted, as appropriate, based on his/her case plan, release date, and availability.


3.         If an offender is denied admission into the program for medical or mental health reasons or after review by the administrative review team, the denial of entrance may be appealed; see the Appeal Process Chart and Procedure F, “appeal process.”


C.        Participation: to receive a certificate of completion for CIP phase I, all offenders must fully participate, successfully complete all of the appropriate program components, and have actively served a minimum of 180 days in phase I.  An offender’s progress is reviewed by the program review team (PRT).  Program components include such examples as: physical training, education, chemical dependency treatment, military bearing, drill and ceremony, work crews, restorative justice programming, and cognitive behavioral skills development programming. 


D.        Graduating to CIP phase II and phase III: during CIP phase I, an offender must work with his/her case manager and field services agent in the community of release to develop a release plan.  Upon successful completion of CIP phase I, offenders are transitioned to the community phase of CIP, phase II; see Policy 204.061, “Challenge Incarceration Program – Phase II and III” for information.


E.         Termination process: after program admission, offenders may terminate from CIP under one of the following statuses.  Terminations may be appealed, except for voluntary termination.

1.         Rescind –if a change occurs in the offender’s eligibility status (e.g. legal, medical, mental health or other administrative reasons).  Offenders who are rescinded are administratively reviewed for reentry to the program if and when the eligibility issue is resolved.


2.         Revocation –when the offender is unable to complete the program because of a violation of the program agreement.  Offenders who are revoked must be removed from CIP and transferred to the appropriate correctional facility.


3.         Voluntary – when the offender voluntarily chooses to discontinue participation in the program.


F.         Appeal process for denial of entrance and program termination:

1.         Denial of entrance and program termination may be appealed by following the appropriate chain of command as established on the Appeal Process Chart. 


2.         To appeal a denial of entrance or program termination, an offender must complete the Denial of Entrance/Program Termination form (attached).


3.         Voluntary termination from CIP Phase I and Commissioners Administrative Decision (Denial of Entrance and Termination) cannot be appealed.



A.        A copy of all CIP acceptance/denial responses is filed in the base file.


B.        A copy of all CIP documentation is retained electronically in COMS and/or the CIP file.


REVIEW:      Annually


REFERENCES:        Policy 204.061, “Challenge Incarceration Program – Phase II and III”


SUPERSESSION:     Division Directive 204.060, “Challenge Incarceration Program – Phase I,” 12/2/14.  All facility policies, memos, or other communications whether verbal, written, or transmitted by electronic means regarding this topic.



Application form (204.060M)

CIP Phase I Agreement (204.060T)

CIP Intake Removal form (204.060U)

Appeals Process Chart (204.060R)

Denial of Entrance/Program Termination form (204.060Q)




Assistant Commissioner, Facility Services



204.060TOGOCIP, “CIP Restorative Justice Work Crew Program”

204.060WR, “Challenge Incarceration Program Termination Process”

204.060-1WR, “CIP Restorative Justice Work Crew Program”