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Program Profile: Mentally Ill Offender Community Transition Program (Washington)

Evidence Rating: Effective - One study Effective - One study

Date: This profile was posted on September 25, 2017

Program Summary

The program is targeted at individuals whose mental illnesses are seen as instrumental in their offenses, and who are likely to qualify for and benefit from publicly supported treatment in the community. The overall goal is to reduce recidivism . The program is rated Effective. Participants in the program were less likely to be convicted of any new offense and convicted of felony offenses, compared with the matched comparison group. The difference was statistically significant.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
The Mentally Ill Offender Community Transition Program (MIOCTP) was established by the Washington State legislature in 1998. The program is targeted at individuals whose mental illnesses are seen as instrumental in their offenses, and who are likely to qualify for and benefit from publicly supported treatment in the community. The overall goal is to reduce recidivism for these individuals.
 
Target Population/Eligibility
Candidates for MIOCTP are referred by the Department of Corrections (DOC) mental health-risk-management specialists. The follow selection criteria are applied to possible program participants: 1) the candidate has a major mental illness that influenced previous criminal activity; 2) the candidate is judged by DOC staff as less likely to reoffend if provided ongoing mental health treatment; 3) the candidate is unlikely to obtain housing and/or treatment from other sources; 4) the candidate has time left on his or her sentence for prerelease services (generally a minimum of 3 months); 5) the candidate cannot be a Level 3 sex offender (the highest-risk rating assigned to sex offenders leaving prison, based on criminal history and treatment record); and 6) the candidate is a willing participant in services.
 
Program Components/Key Personnel
There are five main components of the MIOCTP. First, there is coordinated prerelease planning, which involves assessment, treatment planning, and entitlement application up to 3 months prior to a participant’s release. Second, there are intensive, postrelease case-management services, which coordinate individual and group treatment services with a multidisciplinary staff (who include a mental health case manager, psychiatrist, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, substance abuse counselor, community corrections officer [CCO], and residential house manager). The program includes structured programming, daily contact (if needed), bimonthly home visits, individual crisis response planning (available 24 hours a day), and a treatment philosophy of authoritative, structured goals focused on avoiding further criminal activity.
 
In addition, there is close coordination with CCOs, by making them an important part of the community treatment team. Residential support is also available, which includes a housing subsidy, and onsite housing management and monitored living for the primary initial housing option. Finally, co-occurring disorders treatment (i.e., treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues) is carried out by staff who are cross-trained in substance abuse treatment and supported by community corrections programs that are directed at substance abuse. Treatment addresses availability of substance and desire for use in transition to the community following release from prison, and operates under a harm reduction model (Marlatt 1998).

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Conviction of Any New Offense
Theurer and Lovell (2008) found that 39 percent of participants in the Mentally Ill Offenders Community Transition Program (MIOCTP) were convicted of any new offense (misdemeanor of felony), compared with 61 percent of the matched comparison group. This was a statistically significant difference. 
 
Conviction of Felony Offense
The results also showed that 23 percent of participants in the MIOCTP were convicted of a new felony offense, compared with 42 percent of the matched comparison group. This was a statistically significant difference.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Theurer and colleagues (2008) used a retrospective matched control study design to determine the impact of the Mentally Ill Offender Community Transition Program (MIOCTP) on recidivism measures. The study population consisted of inmates in four King County, Washington, prison sites who had major mental illnesses. Level 3 sex offenders (the highest-risk sex offenders leaving prison) were excluded from the study. Candidates for MIOCTP were referred by the Department of Corrections (DOC) mental health-risk-management specialists. The following selection criteria were applied to possible study participants: 1) the candidate has a major mental illness that influenced previous criminal activity; 2) the candidate is judged by DOC staff as less likely to reoffend if provided ongoing mental health treatment; 3) the candidate is unlikely to obtain housing and/or treatment from other sources; and 4) the candidate has time left on his or her sentence for prerelease services (generally a minimum of 3 months). 
 
Treatment and comparison groups (N = 64 in each group) were generated using propensity score, one-to-one matching. Members of the comparison group had been released between 1996 and 2000, while treatment group members had been released between 1998 and 2003. After matching, the groups were tested for pre-existing differences on the following characteristics: past felonies, past misdemeanors, status as a sex offender, infraction rate, mental health residential time, age of release, gender, and ethnicity. No statistically significant differences were found. Of the 64 treatment group participants, 56 percent were male, and 51 percent were white. Thirty percent of the sample was African American, and 19 percent were Native American/Asian/Pacific Islander. The primary diagnosis for the majority (56 percent) was psychotic disorder, 20 percent reported depression, 20 percent reported bipolar, and 3 percent reported other. The study does not provide demographic characteristics for the comparison group.
 
To evaluate recidivism outcomes, the authors used administrative data from several state-level government organizations to determine the proportion in each group who were convicted of a new offense and who were convicted of a felony offense over the 2-year follow-up period. Logistic regression techniques were used. A subgroup analysis was conducted for participants who entered the program after the first year to account for preliminary implementation challenges.
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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Other Information

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A subgroup (N = 39) analysis for participants entering the program after the first year was conducted. Theurer and Lovell (2008) found that 28 percent of Mentally Ill Offenders Community Transition Program (MIOCTP) participants who entered the program after the first year were convicted of any new offense (misdemeanor or felony), compared with 59 percent of the matched comparison group. This was a statistically significant difference. The results also showed that 15 percent of participants in the MIOCTP who entered after the first year were convicted of a new felony offense, compared with 38 percent of the matched comparison group (also a statistically significant difference). In addition, 2 years after the MIOCTP was established, another program in Washington State called the Dangerous Mentally Ill Offender (DMIO) Program, now called the Offender Reentry Community Safety (ORCS) Program, was established and targeted individuals with a mental illness and history of violence who were believed to post special risks after their release. The program is also featured on CrimeSolutions.gov: https://www.crimesolutions.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?ID=438
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Theurer, Gregory, and David Lovell. 2008. “Recidivism of Offenders with Mental Illness Released from Prison to an Intensive Community Treatment Program.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 47(4):385–406.

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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Marlatt, G.A. 1998. “Basic Principles and Strategies of Harm Reduction.” In G.A. Marlatt (ed.). Harm Reduction: Pragmatic Strategies for Managing High-Risk Behaviors. New York, N.Y.: The Guilford Press.


Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. 2008. Mentally Ill Offender Community Transition Program: Annual Report to the Legislature December 1, 2008. Olympia, Wash.: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Health and Recovery Services Administration, Mental Health Division, MIO-CTP Program. (This study was reviewed but did not meet Crime Solutions' criteria for inclusion in the overall program rating.)

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Program Snapshot

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, American Indians/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, White

Setting (Delivery): Correctional, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Aftercare/Reentry, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Probation/Parole Services, Wraparound/Case Management

Targeted Population: Mentally Ill Offenders, Prisoners

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Reentry Resource Center

Researcher:
Gregory Theurer
Northwest Resource Associates
520 Pike Street, Suite 1350
Seattle WA 98101
Email