Operationalizing the Framework and Next Steps
The conceptual framework described in this paper provides a starting point for ongoing dialogue between professionals in the corrections and behavioral health systems who seek to improve public safety and health outcomes for the populations that they share. The framework offers a rationale and an approach for making better decisions regarding the allocation of scarce resources. The concept assumes that, for the heterogeneous overlapping populations that each system serves, clarity about goals and responsibilities is of paramount importance. The framework was informed by expert advisors and has strong theoretical underpinnings that have been successfully applied in many communities. The field is ready to explore its value: applicants to an FY 2011 grant solicitation from the Bureau of Justice Assistance were “strongly urged to tailor treatment interventions to specific criminogenic risks and functional impairments of people with mental illnesses to improve public safety and public health outcomes.”118 Practical applications and subsequent adaptation will reveal the utility and potential of this approach.
An Example of a Criminogenic Risk-Integrated Program from the Field The Office of Community Corrections within the Colorado Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Justice is the regulatory and oversight agency for a system of 36 residential facilities that supervise adults convicted of felony offenses assigned to community corrections across the state. Community corrections provides services for individuals convicted of less severe offenses who are diverted from prison, individuals in transition between prison and parole, and parolees released by the Colorado Board of Parole. In addition, they provide short-term stabilization services for individuals on probation and specialized treatment for justice-involved individuals with a history of substance abuse and mental illness. All individuals under community corrections supervision are screened and assessed at intake to measure their level of recidivism risk and criminogenic needs. The assessment process also detects and subsequently measures the severity of substance abuse and provides a treatment recommendation based on an individual’s level of risk and the severity determination. Through assessment-driven individualized treatment plans, program staff attempts to match individuals’ risks and needs with the most appropriate treatment modality.119