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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149556 Find in a Library
Title: Centralized Approach to Managing Special Needs Offenders
Journal: Forum on Corrections Research  Volume:6  Issue:2  Dated:May 1994  Pages:28-31
Author(s): J. Briscoe
Date Published: May 1994
Page Count: 4
Document: HTML|PDF
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This article examines how Texas formed a central agency to initiate change in the ways in which the correctional system responds to special needs offenders.
Abstract: "Special needs" offenders are those with one or more of the following conditions: developmental disability, emotional disturbance, mental health disability, terminal illness, physical disability, and advanced age. Because of the difficulty of developing programs for such offenders, the Texas legislature conducted a study on offenders with mental health and developmental disabilities. The study identified a large number of these offenders within the criminal justice system and recommended increased cooperation and collaboration among mental health, law enforcement, and correctional agencies. In 1987, the legislature responded to this recommendation by designating funds and drafting legislation to create the Texas Council on Offenders with Mental Impairments. The council has since evolved into a centralized body that responds, primarily through innovative programming, to an increasing variety of offenders' special needs. The council is composed of nine appointed members with expertise in managing special needs offenders, plus representatives from various State agencies. This article describes two of the pilot programs established by the council. One is Project CHANCE, which is a diversion program that provides community-based and cost-effective alternatives to incarceration for offenders with mental retardation or developmental disability who have not committed aggravated offenses. The second is Project ACTION, which is an intensive case-management program designed to divert certain offenders with general mental health disability away from the criminal justice system and reduce their recidivism rate. A centralized approach to managing special needs offenders thus allows correctional systems to develop effective programs accessible and relevant to offender groups whose special needs have often been ignored in correctional programming. 4 notes
Main Term(s): Corrections management
Index Term(s): Mentally ill offenders; Older inmates; Persons with Disabilities; Persons with physical disabilities; Texas
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