Problematic Behavior or Activity
In the first half of 2014, 246 untreated high- and medium-risk offenders were under the jurisdiction of Josephine County Community Corrections. Many untreated offenders are in a pre-contemplative stage of change, resistant to participating in traditional outpatient treatment, and routinely violate the conditions of their supervision, earning an appropriate response of jail for their noncompliance. Upon incarceration in jail through the sanctioning process, offenders typically don’t receive treatment and often abscond or fail to report to treatment upon release. For antisocial and pro-criminal offenders, jail alone is often ineffective for making lasting, meaningful long-term behavioral change . Introducing treatment while people are in jail increases the likelihood of prompting behavior change upon release.
Impact on the Community
Untreated high-risk, antisocial, drug-dependent offenders released back to the community are likely to demonstrate noncompliance under supervision and to recidivate, potentially jeopardizing public safety and increasing community victimization. Further, for individuals who continue to use substances harmfully without making significant changes, addiction will have long-term negative impacts on their lives, damaging their relationships, health, employment opportunities, and their overall quality of life.
The secure treatment platform is geared toward delivering an intensive dosage of cognitive behavioral treatment while participants serve in-custody sanctions at the local jail. It also aims to introduce offenders to the treatment concept, to increase the likelihood of continual care upon their release and reintegration back into the community.
The program provides alcohol and other drug treatment to high- and medium-risk offenders in local jail custody, who are housed separate from the general population in Cell Block 900. Incentives are offered to influence participation, including a reduction in sanctions, at a rate of one day of credit for every three days of program compliance. Throughout the program, participants receive evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy and assessments of their substance use.
The treatment program schedule is 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. for daily group therapy, excluding weekends and allowing flexibility to accommodate jail administrative details. Individual therapy sessions transpire through scheduled assessments and as counselors deem appropriate.
As they transition back into the community in an out-of-custody status, participants receive continued therapy for substance use through outpatient treatment, averting any breaks in service.
Based on Research
Treatment is deployed at a significantly high dosage for group therapy and individual therapy, using cognitive behavioral techniques and evidence-based curriculum known as Matrix, Moral Reconation Therapy, and the Carey Guides. Life skills treatment is also provided at an appropriate dosage.
This program is funded primarily by the state Justice Reinvestment Grant. For a two-year period, $497,000 is allocated to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office for housing of the participant population. An additional $150,000 for clinician personnel is funded by the county Community Corrections Department to facilitate all the treatment within the jail for the participants.
Proposed outcome measures:
The target goal is a capacity of 5-10 offenders at any given time participating in the program in Cell Block 900. With an average stay of 30 days, the target goal is to serve between 60 and 120 participants per year in the program.
Critical Success Factors
Incentivizing the program with rewards for constructive participation throughout the week have proved to be effective. For example, if the group participates constructively throughout the week, on Friday they are rewarded during the afternoon’s session with pizza, a movie, or some other incentive. Cell Block 900 is also far removed from the rest of the general population, and this seems to minimize antisocial/pro-criminal conversations with people who are not in the program. The cell block was originally designed to house 20, but capacity has been capped at 10, thereby increasing living space and comfort (and most participants prefer the lower bunk bed). The program has also added a big-screen TV in the housing area.
Another key element to this program’s success is having the support of probation officers. POs are the main referring source to the program. They are facilitating the case plan and want to be involved with the process of change. We arranged for the clinicians to save the participants’ work and share their progress with their POs. Specifically, when participants are engaged in the change process and complete Carey Guide assignments that have meaningful results and/or information, their POs are informed, to help support their supervisees upon release. Similarly, when a participant is struggling to progress, that information is shared with the PO, giving the officer an opportunity to intervene.
Have realistic expectations. This is a mostly high-risk, antisocial, pro-criminal population you are dealing with. Don’t expect results overnight. The results will come over time.
Develop and maintain good community-partner relationships. We could not make this program successful without the commitment, encouragement, and dedication of our community partners.