In 2014, Central Valley Regional Center was awarded a Mental Health Services Act grant, with ARCA as the primary contractor. Its purpose was to examine concerns expressed by regional centers and other agencies about potential systemic issues encountered by people with developmental disabilities who become involved in the criminal justice system. The outcome of the grant was the identification of potential optimizations of the way such individuals are served during their involvement with the criminal justice system.
ARCA’s Forensic Task Force has, supported by ARCA staff, developed an online repository of information (resource guide) available to all 21 regional centers and others. This resource guide includes national, state, and local best practices that have been effective in work with persons with developmental disabilities involved in the criminal justice system.
The Task Force also identified areas of specific need, such as a lack of competency trainers within the community. Work was directed toward the development of competency training sessions, materials, and technical assistance for potential providers for regional centers to vendor and utilize.
This project was intended to benefit both juvenile and adult persons with developmental disabilities with co-occurring mental health, substance use, and other diagnoses. It was anticipated that this project and the products developed will help persons with developmental disabilities resolve their involvement in the criminal justice agency in a more expeditious manner.
Since 2015, three forums were held, and a variety of resources have been developed as a result.
Juvenile Competency (ppt) PowerPoint describing the work of the LA County Probation Department as relates to juveniles with competency concerns.
Legal Documents – Competence (pdf) Jury instructions for determining if a defendant is mentally competent, penal code description of trial process for a defendant found competent, and penal code description of what happens if competency changes during postrelease supervision or parole
The Development of an Innovative Music Therapy Treatment Method: Trial Competency Through Music (pdf)This article describes and discusses Competency Through Music, a music therapy program, as a competency restoration tool (when used with standard evaluations, psychopharmacology, and psychoeducational treatment) for individuals found incompetent to stand trial. Participants engage in group therapy where they listen to a song and then discuss the legal significance of it (identify crime committed in song, possible legal outcomes for the crimes committed in the song, etc.). In a later phase of treatment, participants role play as the public defender or district attorney for the characters who committed crimes in the song, applying their trial competency knowledge.
Building Trust and Legitimacy within Community Corrections (pdf)Report that discusses the need for community corrections to be taken seriously as a viable way to reform the criminal justice system. It discusses 6 core principles for creating success in community corrections (a summary of these principles can be found on page 20 of the report).
Disability and Criminal Justice Reform: Keys to Success (pdf)This 62 page report addresses the need for reform in the criminal justice system of The United States of America. It highlights the need for appropriate community supports for individuals with disabilities upon their release from incarceration to decrease recidivism rates.
Problem Solving Treatment for Intellectually Disabled Sex Offenders (pdf)This article describes the use and possible benefits of Problem Solving Treatment (PST) as part of a treatment plan for sex offender with intellectual disabilities (ID). The article proposes that there is a need for research on problem solving deficits often present in the sex offending behavior of offenders with ID and the effectiveness of PST treatment for these individuals.
Olmstead County Mental Health Programs (PowerPoint) This is a PowerPoint presentation that discusses several forensic services and programs in Minnesota. Slides 20-22 discuss some local programs regarding jail diversion (CIT, increased collaboration amongst relevant agencies). For example, a 2014 grant called Whatever It Takes (WIT) began providing various wrap around services that aim to support people and maintain their ability to live in the community following hospital release.
Diversion: Overcoming Barriers to Build Capacity for Effective Interventions (pdf) This report aims to highlight the need for innovative and efficient ways to reduce recidivism and prevent incarceration of individuals with mental illness. The report discusses several treatment models that may be applied to individuals with mental illness, substance use disorder, and other diagnoses involved in the criminal justice system (CBT, DBT, SAMHSA peer support specialist, RNR Model).
Effectiveness of a Mental Health Court in Reducing Criminal Recidivism and Violence (pdf) This article reports on a study done to evaluate whether a mental health court in San Francisco reduced the risk of recidivism by people with mental health disorders who had been arrested. The study analyzed the occurrence of new criminal charges for people who entered mental health court versus those with mental health disorders who were booked into an urban county jail.
Exodus Recovery Project Connect (PowerPoint) Project Connect is an innovative program, funded by the San Diego Regional Center, for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities with co-occurring mental health and substance use issues who are currently involved or at a high risk to become involved in the criminal justice system.