Problematic Behavior or Activity
The Family Sentencing Alternative Program (FSAP) is a collaborative effort involving the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office, the Oregon Judicial Department’s Third Judicial District, and the county of the Department of Human Services (DHS). FSAP is designed to divert qualified offenders who have primary custody of a minor child from prison to probation or other community supervision. The target population is medium- to high-risk nonviolent property and drug offenders who are custodial parents and have a presumptive prison sentence or a probationary offer with a stipulated prison sentence upon revocation of probation.
In an effort to reduce the traumatic effects that the incarceration of a parent can have on children, other family members, and caregivers, FSAP provides wraparound treatment, mentoring, and employment services to address the drivers of criminal conduct. The program’s focuses primarily on the following:
- preserving family unity and stability by redirecting children from foster care;
- reducing prison usage by allowing community supervision to safely manage and hold offenders accountable; and
- reducing recidivism by providing services that will reduce the likelihood of future criminal behavior.
Impact on the Community
By sending an immoderate number of parents who are nonviolent drug and property offenders to prison, Marion County was tying up valuable resources that could be used for high-risk offenders who present the greatest threat to our communities. Incarcerating these custodial parents creates an adverse childhood experience, leaving the children at a greater risk for problematic behaviors, many of which last into adulthood. This approach was too expensive to our communities in the short and long term.
To evaluate participants’ eligibility, staff complete a battery of assessments including the Public Safety Checklist (or PSC, to ensure that clients are medium- to high-risk), Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (or LS/CMI, to assess for criminogenic risk and need factors), University of Rhode Island Change Assessment (or URICA, to assess the level of motivation), Texas Christian University Drug Screen 5 (or TCUDS V, to assess for substance abuse), and the Women’s Risk Needs Assessment (or WRNA, to assess the women’s risks and needs, including trauma, relationship issues, parental stress, and depression).
The supervising deputy uses information from the assessments to create a case plan tailored to each client. The LS/CMI and WRNA assessments specifically identify each individual’s criminogenic risk factors, those factors most significant to the person and most likely to lead to future criminal activity. They also identify needs specific to female offenders. The case plan is developed to address the highest risk factors first, while taking into account responsivity issues specific to the client and those common to primary caregivers. The deputy also focuses on those criminogenic needs that have the greatest impact on reducing recidivism: antisocial attitudes values and beliefs; antisocial peer associations; and antisocial personality traits.
The deputy follows the Effective Practices In Community Supervision (EPICS) model of supervision and focuses on developing rapport, using a structured program of positive and negative reinforcement, and cognitive behavioral interventions intended to teach the client social skills, problem-solving skills, and techniques to target and change risky thinking. Over time, clients learn problem-solving skills, general social skills, and skills to help them avoid antisocial peers and situations. These interventions are designed to help participants reduce their risk of future criminal activity and develop and/or enhance the specific skills needed to effectively parent their children and maintain a stable home. Additionally, the supervising deputy works closely with Marion County’s Drug Endangered Children’s (DEC) program, which focuses on family reunification and stability, in collaboration with DHS caseworkers. The DEC program works with each family to develop household rules and teach parenting skills. Clients have access to subsidized housing and programs through the Community Corrections Division of the Sheriff’s Office and work with DHS, which helps to find stable, long-term housing and provides clothing and furniture.
Supervision consists of three main factors: access to necessary services and treatment resources; cognitive behavior interventions; and consistent use of positive and negative reinforcement.
Treatment Program Design
Marion County relies on a number of treatment resources depending on the client’s individual needs. As mentioned above, the WRNA is used to assess the women’s risks and needs. Motivation and cognitive programming classes will be provided by Bridgeway Recovery Services (BRS). BRS is an evidence-based program that uses gender-specific addiction treatment, mentoring services, and trauma-informed care within its therapeutic milieu. These classes are designed to introduce clients to cognitive behavioral interventions and prepare them for formal treatment services.
Clients in the program are subject to intensive supervision with the supervising deputy and DHS. During contacts, the deputy provides cognitive behavioral interventions intended to complement and reinforce the treatment curriculum, thus adding to the dosage needed for clients to get the maximum benefit and resulting in 250+ hours of cognitive-based intervention collaboratively. Community Corrections and BRS provide mental health evaluations and connect clients with needed services. Community Corrections also offers parenting classes, mentoring, and employment services, as well as unlimited access to the De Muniz Resource Center, which provides access to legal, medical, and educational services.
Program Participant Criteria
A client is eligible for the Family Sentencing Alternative Pilot Program if:
- The client’s presumptive sentence under the sentencing guidelines of the Oregon
Criminal Justice Commission is a term of imprisonment in the legal and physical custody of
the Department of Corrections of at least one year;
- The client has not previously been convicted of, and is not currently being sentenced for:
- A person felony as defined in the rules of the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission;
- A sex crime as defined in ORS 181.805; or
- (An offense requiring a specified sentence under ORS 137.635, 137.700, 137.707, 164.061,
475.907, 475.925, 475.930 or 813.010; and
- The client is the parent or legal guardian of a minor child and had physical custody of the child at the time of the offense.
Based on Research
- LS/CMI risk/needs assessment
- Women’s Risk Needs Assessment (WRNA)
- Effective Practices in Community Supervision (EPICS)
- Carey Guides
- TCU Drug Screen 5 (prescreen for alcohol and other drug use)
- TCU Criminal Thinking Scales
- Matrix: General Relapse Prevention, Family, and Women-Specific
- Change Companies: Interactive Journaling addressing all risk domains
- Stages of Change (Velasquez, DiClemente): motivation enhancement
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Co-Occurring Disorders (Hazelden)
- DBT (Moonshine): Life Skills
- TCU: Mapping, Brief Interventions for Criminal Justice Populations; Relapse Prevention
- Seeking Safety: (trauma/substance use treatment for women)
- MRT: Untangling Relationships
- Anger Management (SAMHSA)
- Living in Balance (Hazelden): Relapse Prevention
- Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (Bowen)
House Bill 3503 allocated funds to the Department of Corrections (DOC) to fund FSAP in participating counties. Marion County received $443,189.66 from DOC, money that partially funds the program. These dollars cover one parole/probation officer, one Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and one professional mentor.
- The client’s presumptive sentence under the sentencing guidelines of the Oregon
Since project inception in January 2016, 13 defendants who were otherwise presumptively prison-bound have been diverted to community supervision. Of those 13 individuals, one has violated the conditions of probation to the extent that the original prison sentence was thereafter imposed. A full 92 of participants remain on community supervision.
Critical Success Factors
- Develop program protocols. Throughout the process, define who is doing what and when.
- Have open lines of communication. Collaborate and meet early and often. Without established relationships with program partners, program success is not likely.
- Trust is paramount for the success of the program. Have an understanding and appreciation of the other stakeholders and their perspectives.