Policy Number:                     204.060

Title:                                      Challenge Incarceration Program – Phase I

Effective Date:                      2/1/20


PURPOSE:    To provide eligibility requirements, admission procedures, and program requirements for phase I of the challenge incarceration program (CIP).


APPLICABILITY:   Offenders incarcerated in adult correctional facilities


DEFINITIONS:        None



A.        Eligibility for the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP)

1.         Offenders are not eligible for CIP if they:

a)         Are committed to the commissioner or corrections, or have been convicted and committed to the commissioner of corrections in the preceding ten years, with a sentence for murder, manslaughter, criminal sexual conduct, assault, kidnapping, robbery, arson, or any other offense involving death or intentional personal injury;


b)         Have been convicted or adjudicated delinquent within the preceding five years of escape from custody in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.485;


c)         Are committed to the commissioner’s custody for an offense that requires registration under Minn. Stat. § 243.166;


d)         Are subject to a current arrest warrant or detainer;


e)         Have fewer than 13 months remaining on their term of imprisonment;


f)         Have been placed in segregation or had disciplinary confinement time added to their term of imprisonment within 90 days;


g)         Are currently subject to a suspended formal disciplinary sanction;


h)         Are serving a sentence from another state or the United States;


i)         Are serving a sentence that involved an aggravated dispositional departure; or


j)         Meet criteria for mandatory intensive supervised release (ISR).


2.         Eligible offenders:

a)         Must have 13 months or more to their confinement release milestone when they are admitted to CIP;


b)         Who are serving mandatory sentences, must fulfil their full term of imprisonment prior to release from Phase III;


c)         Who are release violators, must complete their terms of reimprisonment before they can be released on Phase II; and


d)         Who have previously participated in CIP, must have been incarcerated for at least 60 days in a level 3 or higher facility before re-applying for CIP.   Applicants may be individually reviewed by the assistant commissioner of the facilities division/designee to determine acceptance of re-entry to the program.


B.        Admission to CIP

Because CIP is a voluntary program, offenders must apply, undergo eligibility and medical/mental health screening, and complete pre-admission programming requirements.

1.         Application

Offenders may apply when they have reached 60 months or less to their confinement release milestones.  Offenders may apply by sending an application or a kite to “CIP Intake.”


2.         Eligibility screening

a)         CIP caseworkers review all applications to determine whether offenders meet all eligibility requirements and recommend provisional admission or denial to the CIP director/designee.


b)         The CIP director/designee reviews recommendation and either approves or denies provisional admission in writing to the offender and sends a copy to the offender’s caseworker, noting a tentative admission date if provisional admission is approved.  A copy of the provisional admission decision is retained in the offender/resident document storage system (ODocS).


c)         Offenders who decide they do not want to participate in CIP must notify “CIP Intake” in writing.


d)         Male offenders approved for provisional admission are transferred to the Minnesota Correctional Facility (MCF) – Moose Lake in sufficient time to complete the subsequent admission procedures; female offenders complete the subsequent admission procedures at MCF-Shakopee.


e)         Copies of all forms and notifications are retained in ODocS and retained by the CIP program.


            3.         Medical and mental health screening

a)         Medical and mental health providers evaluate each offender to determine whether the offender will be able to comply with all CIP requirements. Disqualifying conditions include such as examples as:

(1)       An uncontrolled or unstable chronic illness;

(2)       A frequently-occurring acute illness that requires medical or mental health monitoring beyond the resources of CIP; or

(3)       A condition that has a high likelihood of requiring urgent or frequent medical or mental health intervention.


b)         If the medical practitioner determines the offender has a disqualifying condition, the medical practitioner notifies the CIP director/designee in writing that the offender does not currently meet pre-screening eligibility criteria. A copy of the notification is retained in ODocS.


c)         If the offender does not currently meet pre-screening eligibility criteria, the CIP director/designee notifies the offender in writing, and retains a copy of the denial letter in ODocS.


4.         Appeal of ineligibility decision

Offenders who are denied admission, except those who have previously participated in CIP, or those who have been reviewed by the assistant commissioner of the facility services division/designee for discretionary review, may appeal the decision to the assistant commissioner of the facility services division/designee by submitting a Denial of Entrance/Program Termination Appeal form (attached) within 10 days of receiving notice.  Copies of the appeal and decision are retained in ODocS.


C.        CIP Phase I

Before offenders receive a certificate of completion for Phase I, the CIP director/designee must verify that they have fully participated and successfully completed all required program components, and have actively served a minimum of 180 days in Phase I.  Program components include such examples as:

1.         Physical training:  A rigorous physical training program designed to teach personal discipline and improve the offender’s physical and mental well-being.


2.         Education:  Individualized educational programming designed to improve adult basic education skills.


3.         Chemical dependency treatment:  Treatment to identify the biological, environmental, behavioral, and social causes and consequences of alcohol and drug use and addiction; and to develop new and improved strategies to prevent drug and alcohol use and its consequences.


4.         Military bearing, drill and ceremony:  Intensive instruction in military drill and ceremony, military bearing, customs, and courtesy.


5.         Facility work crew or work detail:  A facility work crew assignment and work detail component that includes strenuous work on campus.


6.         Cognitive behavioral skills programming: Training in the ability to focus and providing offenders the opportunity to model and practice social skills and problem-solving skills that allow them to be more successful and reduce maladaptive behaviors.


7.         Restorative Justice Work Crews (RJWC):  Opportunities to give back to the community while learning work ethics, job skills, good work habits, and positive attitudes by serving on RJWC.

a)         Non-profit community and government organizations may submit project requests, which are reviewed and approved by the safety administrator and CIP program director/captain annually.


b)         The RJWC sergeant ensures offender training is provided and proper personal protective equipment is used during all work projects.


8.         Team building:  Offender squads participate in team building exercises that promote prosocial skills, effective problem solving and successful communication.


9.         Squad meetings:  Assigned correctional officers facilitate regularly-scheduled squad meetings to discuss squad issues, to practice effective problem solving, and to identify any issues preventing positive squad cohesion.


10.       Levels of advancement (indicated by hat colors).


D.        Informal Progressive Interventions and Sanctions

            During CIP Phase I, offenders are subject to informal interventions and sanctions for minor behavioral issues and unacceptable program adjustment.  Participants may receive formal discipline according to Offender Discipline Rules.  The informal sanctions are based on the CIP philosophy and general orders and designed to provide a broad range of responses to deal with violations of CIP’s informal rules. Staff may implement informal sanctions at any time, including such examples as:

1.         Refocus:  Pushups are assigned to an offender to help the offender refocus after a minor infraction.


2.         Intervention:  A documented interaction between a staff member and an offender that occurred to remedy a below-standard action or behavior, or to acknowledge an above-standard action or behavior.


3.         Thinking report:  A written assignment which requires the offender to identify behavior(s) which led to an intervention.  The offender examines their thinking, recognizes the risk, and then identifies new thinking that leads to different consequences.


4.         Learning experiences (LE):  A sanction given to an offender who commits an informal rule infraction.


5.         Hat color hold:  The non-advancement of an offender’s status due to poor motivation, unsatisfactory program participation, unsatisfactory evaluations, or accumulation/ progression of discipline.


6.         Hat color reduction:  The reduction of an offender’s hat color status due to poor motivation, unsatisfactory program participation, unsatisfactory evaluations, or accumulation/ progression of discipline.


7.         Recycle:  An offender is reduced to a red hat color and reviewed weekly for hat color advancement due to accumulation of LEs, convict status, or not progressing in the program as required.


8.         Convict status:  A status assigned to an offender for conduct inconsistent with CIP philosophy and commitment to the program.


9.         Revocation:  Removal from the program due to an accumulation of progressive informal sanctions, refusal to participate in programming, termination from chemical dependency treatment, or imposition of formal discipline.  Offenders who get revoked are returned to a higher custody facility.


E.         Termination from Phase I

1.         Once admitted to CIP, offenders may be terminated in any of the following ways:

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


b)         Revocation – when the offender has violated the program agreement.  Offenders who are revoked must be removed from CIP and transferred to the appropriate correctional facility.


c)         Voluntary termination – when the offender voluntarily chooses to discontinue participation in the program.


2.         Terminations, except for voluntary termination, may be appealed to the deputy commissioner of the facility services division/designee.


3.         Records of any termination are retained in ODocS and by the CIP program.


F.         Program Completion and Release to Phase II

During CIP phase I, an offender must work with the offender’s caseworker and field services agent in the development of a release plan.  Upon successful completion of CIP phase I, offenders are transitioned to phase II, which occurs in the community; see Policy 201.010, “Adult Community Supervision,” for information.



A.        A copy of all CIP documentation is retained electronically in ODocS, or the CIP file.


ACA STANDARDS: 1-ABC-1A-11; 1-ABC-1A-16; 1-ABC-4A-01


REFERENCES:        Minn. Stat. §§ 244.17 through 244.172; 609.485; and 243.166

Policy 106.300, “Management of Records and Sentence Administration”

Policy 201.010, “Adult Community Supervision”

Policy 303.010, “Offender Discipline”

Policy 303.101, “Kites/Communication”


REPLACES:              Policy 204.060, “Challenge Incarceration Program – Phase I,” 7/1/19.

All facility policies, memos, or other communications whether verbal, written, or transmitted by electronic means regarding this topic.


ATTACHMENTS:    Denial of Entrance/Program Termination Appeal Form (204.060V, on CIP iShare site)




Deputy Commissioner, Community Services

Deputy Commissioner, Organizational Services

Assistant Commissioner, Facility Services

Assistant Commissioner, Office of Strategic Planning, Implementation and Employee Development