Identifies 10 key components found in successful initiatives to improve outcomes for people with mental illnesses under probation supervision. This first-of-its-kind report provides specific recommendations to probation and mental health policymakers and practitioners for effectively responding to this population’s complex treatment and service needs while improving public safety and health.
AbstractIn 2007, Texas elected officials faced a major dilemma: spend a half billion dollars to build and operate new prisons to accommodate the surging number of people expected to be incarcerated or explore options to control that growth. The Council of State Governments Justice Center assisted state officials with developing plans to address this potential crisis, in partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts Center on the States—which in 2006 launched the Public Safety Performance Project to help states advance fiscally sound, data-driven sentencing and corrections policies to protect public safety and control corrections costs—and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.
In response to this work the Texas legislature adopted, and the governor approved, a budget that included greater treatment capacity in the prison system and the expansion of diversion options in the probation and parole system. A total of 4,500 new diversion beds and 5,200 new program slots were funded. The final budget adopted by the legislature for the 2008–2009 biennium reflected an increase of $241 million in funding for additional diversion and treatment capacity. The expansion of these programs translated into a net savings of $443.9 million in the FY 2008–09 budget by reducing funding for contracted bed space and canceling funding for the construction of the new prison units originally proposed. The initiative has stabilized the growth of the Texas prison population. The increase in treatment capacity and intermediate sanction facilities funded by the initiative has helped to increase the number of people on probation connected to services and reduce the number revoked to prison. Looking at where Texas is today in the management of its state correctional policies in comparison to California, “be more like Texas” may not be a bad thing. Unlike in California, the actions of Texas policy makers has maintained the prison system operating within capacity, and, more importantly, has led to major strengthening in the treatment and community corrections system that should serve the state well in the future in terms of reducing correctional costs and improving public safety outcomes.In 2007, Texas was projected to need 17,000 additional prison beds by 2012, at an expected cost of $2 billion. Between 1997 and 2006, the number of people revoked to prison from probation increased 18 percent. More than 2,000 people were awaiting placement for substance use and mental health treatment in 2006 and parole grant rates were much lower than the parole board’s own guidelines. In 2006 and 2007, the CSG Justice Center worked with Texas state leaders to analyze criminal justice system data, interview stakeholders, and develop data-driven policy options designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety.
Justice reinvestment policies were adopted in the 2008–2009 biennial budget. The framework included several policies designed to address theses challenges, such as:
Increasing treatment capacity in the prison system by 5,200 program slots for substance abuse treatment (outpatient, in-prison, and post-release) and mental health treatment; and
Expanding diversion options in the probation and parole system by 4,500 beds for technical violations of supervision, transitional treatment, and substance abuse treatment.
These policies mitigated the state’s growth in prison population by about 9,000 and saved the state $443 million between 2008 and 2009. The state reinvested $241 million to expand in-prison and community-based treatment and diversion programs.
Since the enactment of justice reinvestment legislation in 2007, Texas has closed three correctional facilities and averted/saved billions of dollars. Texas has deservedly received applause for these measures, but what is less discussed is the myriad reforms the Texas legislature has steadily enacted, and agencies and courts have implemented, over the past three decades. Several themes emerged in a recent review of the state’s criminal justice system reforms that have been enacted since 1983: shaping policy through data analysis; focusing on people with mental disorders in the justice system; and periodic attention to improvements in the distinct components of the system, from indigent defense to parole.The statutory language associated with the policies referenced below can be found at: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/?link=CR. pic Poli
| Collaborative Planning and Administration
2 | Defining, Identifying, and Assessing a Target Population
3 | Designing the Initiative and Matching Individuals to Supervision and Treatment Options
4 | Setting Conditions of Community Supervision
5 | Developing an Individualized Case Plan
6 | Providing or Linking to Treatment and Services
7 | Supporting Adherence to Conditions of Community Supervision and Case Plans
8 | Providing Specialized Training and Cross-training
9 | Sharing Information and Maintaining Confidentiality
10 | Conducting Evaluations and Ensuring Sustainability
"Justice reinvestment is a criminal justice approach that diverts a portion of funds spent on imprisonment to local communities where there is a high concentration of offenders. Money that would have been spent on imprisonment is reinvested in programs and services that address the underlying causes of crime in these communities .