October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2004
Expansion of Davidson County Dual Diagnosis Services – Development of a Dual Diagnosis Diversionary Program for Nonviolent Felony Offenders
Michael Cartwright, Executive Director
The intent of the project, entitled Expansion of Davidson County Dual Diagnosis Services for Nonviolent Felony Offenders, was to create a collaborative effort between Foundations Associates (FA) and the Davidson County Community Corrections Program (DCCCP) to deliver a modified drug court diversionary treatment model for dually diagnosed (mental health and substance abuse disorders) nonviolent felony offenders. The project model incorporated integrated mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as support services, into a residential setting to provide an alternative to incarceration for dually diagnosed offenders. The modified diversionary model offered an integrated approach based upon drug court’ principles with an emphasis on long term treatment, psycho-educational and supportive approaches rather than on confrontation and compliance. The project offered a blend of treatment principles by combining multidisciplinary treatment teams with intensive corrections-based community supervision. Project goals included improved periods of sobriety and behavioral stability, and reduced criminal behavior and associated repeat offenses.
In this project, FA’s residential services for individuals with both a mental health and a substance abuse disorder were expanded to include felony offenders who were identified through Davidson County Corrections as appropriate for diversionary services and who, without the opportunity to participate, would otherwise be incarcerated. The Davidson County criminal justice system has offered a drug court program that has provided diversionary intensive outpatient services and residential services since 1997 for nonviolent substance dependent offenders. While the key programmatic concepts were already in place for single diagnosed models of care (i.e., for either a substance abuse or a mental health disorder), this project moved to eliminate barriers to diversion by offering an expanded integrated service program aimed at addressing gaps for the mentally ill/substance abusing offender. This project sought to expand the only integrated (mental health and substance abuse treatment) residential program in Tennessee by increasing capacity to accommodate the unmet treatment and service needs in Metropolitan Nashville and the surrounding area. Drug court participants voluntarily elected diversionary treatment as an alternative to institutional sentencing. Hence, the premise of this project was to offer an integrated residential treatment approach based upondrug court’ principles.
The project was slated to begin on March 11, 2002. However, due to codes requirements and licensure requirements, the actual implemented date was March 26, 2002, with four male and two female residents who were furloughed from the criminal justice setting. FA put forth additional efforts to recruit and retain female residents by encouraging referrals through appropriate court personnel, attorneys, and public defenders. The implementation strategy incorporated a new court team, comprised of multidisciplinary clinicians with dual MH/SA experience, dedicated case managers, dedicated case officers, and a psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology treatment for addictions and mental health conditions. The enhanced diversionary program replaced traditional conflict resolution or community groups with encounter groups that focused on affirmation of progress and individual change efforts.
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