Earl Warren has been instrumental in the growth and expansion of our Corrections Division, almost from its inception. With over 24 years in the field, he brings invaluable expertise to his new role as Vice President of Correctional Services. Warren now provides executive oversight, including program design and development, for all correctional treatment programs in Massachusetts, Virginia, and Georgia.
“Many of our services weren’t there when I started,” Warren recalls. “Over the years, the mission and vision of state departments of corrections have evolved, becoming more treatment oriented and helping offenders make cognitive and behavioral changes so they are less likely to recidivate and return to prison.”
Warren credits growing research in the field of criminogenic risk for playing a key role in elevating the importance of offering robust treatment programs to offenders. Criminogenic needs are defined as “dynamic risk factors,” like personal attitudes, background, and substance use, that most strongly correlate to future criminal behavior. Behavioral professionals increasingly use this assessment model to develop evidence-based programs that encourage accountability, structure, and other ways to positively change offender behaviors.
“Departments of Correction (DOCs) themselves have made a huge shift to providing more treatment options to offenders,” Warren observes. “That’s the biggest change I’ve seen over the years. DOCs have become partners in treatment rather than just supervisors of the treatment professionals who do that work.”
Since joining Spectrum in 1998, Warren has developed, implemented, and managed a broad range of residential and non-residential treatment programs, offender reentry programs, and high-risk offender treatment programs. He has held numerous positions, spending the last 12 years as Spectrum’s State Director in Massachusetts where he managed multi-site programs treating over 5,000 individuals per year with a staff of close to 150 clinicians. In 2021, he was the recipient of the Professional Excellence Award by the Massachusetts DOC for dedication and professionalism characterizing exemplary performance in the field.
“For many people, the perception is, ‘why are we spending all this money on offenders when they’re never going to change?’ That’s just not true. I see change every day when I go behind the walls. I see offenders hard at work, engaging in treatment, trying to make change,” he notes. “It’s an incremental process. Someone who has spent their whole life in a particular mind set, they’re not going to change that in a six-month treatment program. It takes time to make those changes and to internalize it. We’re looking for incremental changes, not huge epiphanies.”
Warren holds a Master of Business Administration and is completing his Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership. He has taught counselor education courses at Worcester State University and holds memberships in the American Correctional Association’s Substance Use Disorder Committee, and the International Correctional and Prison Association’s Research and Development Committee. With his wide-ranging expertise and experience, he is frequently a presenter at national conferences on the topics of substance use disorders, medication for opioid use disorders, and program design.
In addition to his new position in leadership, Warren will also continue to serve as Chair of Spectrum’s Institutional Review Board.
“With Spectrum, I felt, from my first day on the job, that I was a valued member of a team,” Warren reflects. “That what I had to say, my experience, counted for something, and I was part of something that was making a difference. That’s why I got into addictions treatment in the first place some 30 years ago—I wanted to make a difference. And with Spectrum, I’ve felt right from the start that I could do that.”
For more information about working at Spectrum Health Systems, visit the careers page on our website.