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Substance Abuse Program

Substance Abuse Program / Program Therapist

Open to Upper-level Undergraduate Students and Graduate Students

The Minnesota Department of Corrections is seeking talented, person-centered individuals who are interested in gaining experiences toward obtaining licensure as an alcohol and drug counselor as well as candidates who may be licensed in another field of behavioral health studies. Internship/Practicum at the Minnesota Department of Corrections is a comprehensive training experience where students learn about all aspects of client care in the treatment setting. We offer practicum placements at multiple locations that meet requirements for the above licenses.

Substance Abuse Treatment programs within the Department of Corrections utilize a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy which assists clients with identifying, challenging, and replacing their thinking and beliefs that result in substance abuse and criminal behaviors. Treatment strategies include education, group therapy, reinforcement, modeling, rehearsal, and skill building. In addition, conducting a comprehensive assessment interview for each client assists in developing his/her individual treatment plan to address problem areas in the bio-psycho-social realms. Structured curriculum, written by MN DOC treatment providers in partnership with Hazelden Foundation, focuses on treatment readiness, criminal and addictive thinking, drug education, socialization, co-occurring disorders, relapse prevention, community reintegration, and victim impact. All components of treatment are designed to enhance a client's ability to maintain sobriety and conduct himself/herself in a pro-social, law-abiding manner.

Residential Programs LADC Internship: Primary Residential Substance Abuse programs are therapeutic communities operated in residential setting separate from the general population. Residential programs for males are located in close custody (St. Cloud, Stillwater) and medium custody (Lino Lakes, Faribault, and Moose Lake) facilities. The female residential program is provided at the Shakopee facility. The size of the programs varies from 32 to 290 beds based on the facility. Substance Abuse and Sex Offender programming is available at St. Cloud and Lino Lakes facilities. One of the Lino Lakes programs provides Substance Abuse treatment for those with dual mental health and substance use diagnosis.

Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) LADC Internship: Consider a challenging and rewarding internship at Togo, Willow River, or Shakopee. These are the only Correctional Facilities in Minnesota offering CIP. The Challenge Incarceration Program is a para-military program with three, 6 month Phases. Phase 1 occurs within a facility and involves an intensive and challenging program where clients will attend substance abuse treatment, education, work crews, restorative justice, military bearing, and other activities to enhance personal accountability, attention to detail, and lifestyle changes to help people move toward more productive futures in all areas of their lives.

Internship Description: 
• Interns can expect to receive experience in all “12 Core Functions” during their practicum experience.
• Interns will obtain knowledge and understanding of how the criminal justice system works in general, specifically related to the areas of treatment and corrections.
• Interns will attend and co-facilitate group lectures and work towards presenting a lecture. Interns sit in on 1-1 sessions, learning the process of individual counseling and building up to facilitate those sessions with supervision.
• Interns will co-facilitate process groups with their assigned LADC/supervisor.
• Interns will attend weekly case reviews with staff to discuss client cases.
• Interns will chart on clients progress weekly, and monthly, as well as create individualized treatment plans to address clients’ needs.
• Interns will participate in weekly meetings with the assigned intern supervisor to review progress, discuss experiences, set goals, review hours, etc.

• Interns will work with a Lead Therapist who is currently licensed in the field of behavioral studies (LADC, LPCC) in the State of Minnesota.
• Interns will also have an opportunity to sit with other therapists, including mental health therapists, and case managers to gain a better understanding of the multi-disciplinary approach to working with incarcerated individuals.

• Interns must be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university in a program which offers course credit for internships
• Applicants should have completed introductory course work in substance abuse theories and practices or group and individual counseling skills coursework.
• Interns must clear a security background check and follow department policies and procedures.

Length of Internship: As required for your program

Locations Available and types of Internships:

Residential programs:

1. MCF-Faribault (LADC)

2. MCF-Lino Lakes (LADC/LPCC)

3. MCF-Shakopee (Women’s Facility) LADC

4. MCF-Stillwater (LADC)

5. MCF-St. Cloud (LADC/LPCC)

6. MCF-Moose Lake (LADC/LPCC)


1.  MCF-Shakopee (CIP) (Women’s Facility) LADC  

2.  MCF-Togo (CIP) LADC

3.  MCF-Willow River (CIP) LADC

Note: If you are selected, there is a mandatory DOC Intern/Practicum Student Orientation that must be completed prior to starting your internship/practicum.

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