MERCI: How the Maslow-Enhanced Re-entry Capital Index Benefits Re-entry Success

MERCI: How the Maslow-Enhanced Re-entry Capital Index Benefits Re-entry Success
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-04-06
Unit 1Presentation Materials: MERCI
Unit 2Transcript: MERCI
Unit 3Workbook: MERCI
Unit 4Recording: MERCI

Once an individual becomes involved with the criminal justice system, it becomes the responsibility of the system the provide them with their needs and support so they may be successfully reintegrated back into the community eventually. Different models and programs have been implemented across the United States that aim to address this gap with different levels of effectiveness. In this webinar, Michael Daniels introduces the Maslow Enhanced Re-Entry Capital Index (MERCI), a data-driven approach to prioritize the needs of those incarcerated to ensure success upon release and re-entry.

Michael Daniels is the Behavioral Health and Justice Equity Director in Shelbyville, Indiana, and has a background in science, business, and social justice.

Points tackled in this discussion include:

  • What the MERCI is, the data source of the study, its methodology, and its findings.
  • The tendency for an individual wants and desires to be not in congruence with their needs and the importance of discerning the value of the things that we measure.
  • A brief backgrounder on Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs.
    • The inception of the concept and the five levels under which human needs are segmented into.
    • A rundown of the specific needs that fall into the five levels of the hierarchy.
    • Debunking the misconception that fulfillment of and mastery of one level is required to be able to move on to and acquire anything at the next level.
    • The level of the hierarchy that is provided for while incarcerated.
  • An overview of the Sequential Intercept Model.
    • How it was developed and the reason why it is called an intercept model.
    • Outlining what happens in each one of the phases of the intercept model.
    • The public safety and criminal justice systems opportunity to intervene in each of these stages to prevent people from coming in and out of the continuum repeatedly.
  • Unpacking the formula of the weighted model that is used to determine the most pressing needs of an individual that must be prioritized to set them up for success.
    • The ordinal values that correspond to the individuals’ answers specific to their needs.
    • The weighting factors assigned to each level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
    • Examples of the specific needs for each level that apply to the incarceration and re-entry setting.
    • The range of the possible scores, and the score threshold that requires critical intervention.
  • The survey that revealed what incarcerated individuals need the most and the nuances between what men and women perceive to be their most urgent need.
  • The different ways that those incarcerated and entangled in the legal system feel that they lack a sense of belongingness and connection to the community.
  • Services and programs targeting belongingness, esteem, or safety that the justice system tend to only provide for women but must also be made available for men.
  • The various types of initiatives that may be incorporated in the carceral setting to support belongingness.
  • The value of providing a sense of belongingness in general or specifically for the incarcerated population.
  • How Franklin County, Ohio’s Pathways for Women program leveraged MERCI towards successful outcomes for both the organization and the individuals.
  • MERCI’s holistic need identification model that may be applied to any segment of the population, not just those that are justice-involved.
  • How MERCI combines the basic needs of human beings with the practical needs of individuals in recovery and reentry and the entities that supervise them.
  • The importance of recognizing recovery and reentry as critical parts of self-actualization and how it fosters connections and the reality of relapse and slippage as part of the process.

Topics raised during the Q and A are about:

  • The stage in the intercept model of the people surveyed.
  • The sampling and methodology of the study.
  • Conducting the assessment and qualifying the answers into the ordinal values.
  • The process of determining the weighting factors.
  • Steps to prepare clients for reentry to ensure that social support systems are in place.
  • Getting employers to be open to hire individuals who’ve been released from incarceration.



Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “The holistic approach to re-entry using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is very valuable and I hope my department can utilize that somewhere in the future.” — Brittany
  • “The information provided in the webinar had valuable insight for a current project I am involved in.” — Billy
  • “The webinar was well done and raised attention to how we viewed and currently view risk/needs and how we can improve how we approach risk/needs in the future.” — Don
  • “Weighing the different stages with different values to help identify which needs are more critical to each person AT THAT POINT of assessment. I believe it is a critical missing aspect to figuring out what we need to focus on for each participant in our programs.” — Frederick
  • “I think the poll questions and responses were very engaging.” — Heather
  • “The most valuable thing from this webinar is confirmation that Belongingness is the most important level of Maslow’s hierarchy. Michael’s statement, “Each statistic is a person with a name” was so powerful I can’t even say it out loud without crying.” — Hilarie
  • “As a re-entry parole officer stationed in the jail, it helped me better prioritize needs and resources for the reentrant.” — Jaclyn
  • “Since I work in the jails and teach Maslow to the inmates in our class this reinforces the need to have your basic needs met to be successful once you leave jail.” — James
  • “That belonging is an objective need for people in reentry. I believed it was, but it’s helpful to have that conclusion objectively arrived at. And the weighted scale for assessing needs in parallel is a great tool!” — Martha
  • “I especially liked the idea that incarceration should not be the first thought when somebody relapses or makes some kind of mistake. I also liked the idea that he doesn’t consider people in recovery “others” anymore. He’s right, we all know someone. Maybe if more people thought like him, people in recovery would talk about it like it’s a good thing, instead of a bad thing.” — Barbara
  • “Really interesting application to combine Maslow and the SIM model. Having more all-encompassing approaches when working with justice-involved individuals & more methods to understand their circumstances will help combat overpopulation in jail/prison systems. Very thoughtful without watering things down to make it “easy to digest.”” — Charles



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