Information for Offenders Exiting Work Release by oqc70458

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									          MCORP                                            Minnesota Comprehensive
                                                               Offender Reentry Plan


                                Steering Committee Meeting
                                     November 1, 2005
                                    9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Members Attending
  Jeri Boisvert (DPS)                          Shelley King (DOC)
  Lynda Boudreau (Health)                      Tim Lanz (DOC)
  Chris Bray (DOC)                             Barry Schaffer (Education)
  Luis Brown-Pena (DEED)                       Cheri Shoquist (Housing)
  Dave Ellis (DOC)                             Lynne Singelmann (DHS)

Members Absent
  Ken Merz (DOC)
  Jeff Shorba (Courts)
  Reggie Wolds (Veterans)

Guests
  Jeff Brown (DOC)
  Paul Herman (Center for Effective Public Policy)
  Gary Johnson (DOC) sitting in for Ken Merz

Introductions and Review of Goals and Agenda
   Paul Herman, the project’s consultant from the Center for Effective Public Policy,
   attended the meeting. Also in attendance was Gary Johnson, the Director of Housing for
   the Minnesota Department of Corrections, who sat in for Ken Merz. Jeff Brown attended
   the meeting to provide information on mental health and chemical dependency services
   offered in the correctional facilities. Finally, Barry Schaffer was introduced. Barry
   replaces Amy Roberts as the representative from the Department of Education.

   Chris Bray began the meeting with a brief synopsis of the last meeting as well as the
   work that’s been done by Chris, Paul Herman, and Shelley King since the committee last
   met. Chris noted that the DOC has begun the process of hiring two people to serve as
   coordinators/managers of the reentry process.

   Chris turned the meeting over to Paul, and Paul began with a review of the agenda and
   the goals hoped to be achieved.
Define the Target Population
   Paul began the discussion stating that the previous decision not to include all of the 6,000
   offenders released each year in the initial phase of the reentry project required the
   committee narrow this population down. There are many ways to do this. Some states
   focus on the criminogenic needs of offenders since empirical research shows the
   relationship of these needs to recidivism. However, the “big six” criminogenic needs
   included on the LSI-R (criminal history, family/marital, companions, alcohol/drugs,
   emotional/personal, and attitude/orientation) do not include issues related to the more
   basic (i.e. “survival”) needs of the offender such as housing, employment, education or
   the most basic requirements such as obtaining a driver’s license or social security
   number. Some then decide that they do want to focus upon criminogenic needs but also
   include some that all into the “survival” needs category.

   A second approach taken by other states is to reduce the population according to
   geography. If we were to take this approach, we likely would focus our efforts on
   offenders released to Hennepin and Ramsey counties since roughly 70% of inmates are
   released to one of these two counties.

   A third approach combines the first two by considering the criminogenic risk/needs of the
   population and eliminating the low risk offenders, then determining the survival needs
   most often lacking in the population and focusing on these, and finally identifying the
   geographical areas in which most offenders are released and selecting from these areas.

   The group agreed to use the third approach in selecting the target population, and Paul
   reminded them again that this is the first phase of the process and that eventually all
   releasees will be included. Paul then began to describe the work that he, Chris, and
   Shelley had done in the last month in an attempt to provide the group with some
   information that might help them make this decision. He said that we asked a number of
   questions, focusing on the criminogenic needs of the offenders and geography. Paul then
   asked Shelley to review the handout she prepared for the committee. The data, much of
   which reflected the population of offenders on supervised release or Intensive Supervised
   Release (ISR) as of 10/11/05, gave some indication of where the high-risk offenders are
   released to and the domains on which they score most highly. Not surprisingly, many of
   the offenders were released to transitional housing (e.g., a halfway house or a shelter), but
   the data did not reveal where the offender moves after leaving such housing. Data
   collected on the last known residence of the offender prior to admission to prison should
   be used with great caution, as the accuracy of these data is considered suspect. The
   handout also included recent recidivism statistics from the Information and Technology
   Unit of the DOC. These statistics show that just over 40% of offenders are returned to
   prison at some time after release, either for a technical violation or for a new sentence.

   Committee members noted that it would be nice to have more information on offenders
   who succeed while on supervised release. In addition, we should look into using the
   offender’s social security number (which we have for most offenders) to track
   employment through DEED.
Committee members asked several questions regarding the DOC’s tracking of offenders
with mental health issues and whether or not we have more data on this issue. Also, the
committee wondered how we assess mental health issues at intake. Jeff Brown noted that
the DOC keeps track of recidivism rates for serious or persistent mentally ill (SPMI)
offenders, and we also know how many offenders leave with psychotropic medication.

The committee then began to identify the initial target population. The committee was
reminded that it will recommend this to the commissioner who must approve.

At the request of the committee, initial criteria were identified by DOC employees:

      A score of 24 or more on the LSI-R score (medium or high risk)
      Released to Ramsey and/or Hennepin County
      Released to an “outstate” location such as Dodge/Fillmore/Olmsted or Beltrami
       County
      We need to look at and consider resource availability in the geographic areas
       finally selected

Other criteria suggested by the committee:
    Offenders with co-occurring problems in mental health and chemical dependency
    A high score on the accommodation domain (possibly an indicator of
       homelessness)
    Race/ethnicity
    Time the offender has to serve in prison in order to give the project a long enough
       period of time to work with the process but want to exclude life-sentenced
       inmates

The committee also discussed the fact that neither Ramsey nor Hennepin County
completes an LSI-R for all offenders (although Hennepin does complete them on ISR
cases). Targeting offenders on ISR would include less serious offenders such as those
released from CIP or through CRP, and we do not want to do this.

The final target population was defined as:
    A score of 24 or more on the LSI-R and
    Released to Ramsey and Hennepin County, likely narrowing this large area down
       by identifying the specific communities and zip codes with a high concentration
       of higher risk offenders and
    A location in outstate Minnesota determined also by identifying an area with a
       high concentration of high risk offenders. We also want to consider the
       racial/ethnic composition of the area.
    EXCLUDE the highest risk ex offenders who meet the above criteria but are
       likely to be labeled Level 3 upon their release.

Whether or not the offender had time left to serve on supervised release at the point of his
or her release was discussed, but it was decided that we wanted to include those released
at discharge, too.
What Additional Information/Data Do We Need?
On the outgoing population (using the “snapshot” population already analyzed):
       1. Of the 2,208 offenders for whom we have LSI-R data and zip code
           information, how many are released to Hennepin and Ramsey? What are the
           communities (defined by zip code)? How many go to transitional housing
           (e.g., a halfway house, shelter, or treatment if we can identify the latter) versus
           home? What are the counties of commitment for these offenders? Consider
           sentence length, race/ethnicity, gender, and ISR versus SR for each of these
           questions.
       2. Of the 2,208 offenders for whom we have LSI-R data and zip code
           information, where are the majority released outside of Hennepin and Ramsey
           County (identify top three unless there is a clear cutoff point elsewhere)?
           What are the communities (defined by zip code)? How many go to
           transitional housing (e.g., a halfway house, shelter, or treatment if we can
           identify the latter) versus home? What are the counties of commitment for
           these offenders? Consider sentence length, race/ethnicity, gender, and ISR
           versus SR for each of these questions.
       3. What do our successful offenders – those who remain in the community until
           discharge of sentence – look like? Collect last LSI-R score (total and
           domains). Can we get the SPMI and CD data on this group? Can we connect
           to the DEED data using social security number to check employment history?
       4. What are the program criteria for ISR? Send these to everyone and then look
           at distribution geographically. Also identify Level 3 sex offenders.
       5. Who are the offenders who return to prison multiple times after release? What
           are the reasons for violations (from the disposition summary)? Grant Duwe
           may be able to assist on this. Also contact HRU to determine if they have
           additional information on release violators. What are the LSI-R scores? Can
           we get DEED data? What about SPMI and CD data?

The Importance of Case Management
Paul asked the group to discuss the prison intake process and how case management pulls
this information together. According to DOC staff, the following assessments are
completed for each new offender at intake:

      Mental health assessment (medication and psychiatric)
      Rule 79 (determines if the offender meet the criteria for SPMI)
      General health
      Education
      Chemical dependency
      Classification score
      Intake interview
      Incompatibilities
      Sex offender risk assessment
      LSI-R
According to DOC staff, the case manager pulls together all the information gathered at
intake. The Program Review Team (PRT), which now only consists of the case manager
and his or her supervisor, reviews and creates a case management plan for the offender.
This occurs approximately four weeks after intake. This is a very mechanical review that
once consisted of a multi-disciplinary group but now no longer does. The case
management plan includes programming recommendations for the offender but excludes
any mental health diagnosis; there is only a check box that indicates the offender has a
major mental health issue. Notably, there are separate reports compiled for mental health
and general health that the case manager is not allowed to access. The case management
plan does explicitly state the offender’s need for chemical dependency or sex offender
treatment, as the case manager is allowed access to this information. Once compiled, this
information almost always ensures a male inmate will be sent to a different institution
depending on security classification score and treatment needs. Security classification
score primarily determines where an offender is sent, but treatment need and bed space
availability are also considered. While incarcerated, the case manager is the person
responsible for the continued assessment and programming for an offender if he or she
does not have major mental health or general health issues.

Committee members interjected a few comments pertinent to the case plan. First, there
really is no obligation for an offender to complete treatment even if it is recommended in
his or her case management plan. If an offender is directed to complete treatment, and
there is room for the offender in an appropriate treatment program, the offender will
receive 30 days of discipline only. Second, corrections historically has not been
equipped to deal with the mental health issues of offenders. The number of offenders
with mental health issues has increased in recent years, and corrections still is not
equipped to deal with this.

Generally, release planning for offenders starts 120 days prior to release. Offenders who
meet SPMI criteria begin release planning 180 days prior to release. Case managers
drive the release planning for most offenders, but offenders meeting SPMI criteria have
separate release planners. Jeff Brown noted that offenders exiting prison while in CD or
sex offender treatment soon will have separate release planners who will begin the
process 180 days prior to release. The PRT, mental and medical health staff, supervising
agent, and transition coordinator also are involved in release planning for the majority of
offenders. A transition coordinator, who offers pre-release classes and helps connect the
offender to resources in the community, is employed in all prisons except MCF-Oak Park
Heights. In addition, a few community agencies (e.g., AMICUS and the Salvation Army)
identify an offender some months prior to his or her release and work with that offender.
However, this often occurs separate from the release planning headed by the case
manager as the case manager rarely knows about the involvement of others. Upon
release, the supervising agent assumes responsibility for the case management plan and
treatment providers in the community may contribute as well.

Paul asked the committee if the current case management plan builds from intake,
through the offender’s incarceration, and then into the community phase? To some
extent, yes: The plan is created at intake, the case manager completes an annual review
and then a release plan. In the community, some agents complete annual reports but
many do not. The only reporting that is done on a regular basis within the community is
related to violations.

Paul stated that the case management plan should build from intake, and it should include
issues and priorities for the offender based on assessed needs, the actions taken, and the
actions needed. Anyone involved with the offender from intake to discharge should be
able to go back to the case management plan and determine what has happened, when it
happened, and what else needs to be done. Also, it is critical for outside agencies to be
able to view and contribute to this plan, as it is becoming more common for other state
agencies and others from the community to be involved with the offender while in the
institution phase and upon release. To this end, some states have created a web-based
case management plan. Paul recommends that the committee include an implementation
group whose focus will be the case management plan.

Committee members noted that there are a few other groups that have addressed case
management and the continuity of case management throughout the phases of the
offender’s sentence. Patricia Orud (DOC) led a project that focused on assessments,
someone else from the DOC worked on case planning, and “Closing the Gap” is a group
that meets sporadically to examine the gap between the institution and the community.

Next Steps
   1. Receive and review data identified under “What Additional Data/Information Do
       We Need?”
   2. Decide the geographic location(s) to target and the target population.
   3. Select and educate partners in the geographic locations; they will “lead the
       charge.” Also look at the composition of the Steering Committee and determine
       if there should be changes or additions.
   4. Define the work groups and invite members
            a. Think carefully about how we want to structure these. Remember that we
                want them to sanction this project as well as work with us on this process.
            b. What are the resources in the areas to which the target population is
                released? What are the protocols, etc.?
            c. Define a final product for the work groups so the committee does not
                receive reports in many different forms. This will make it easier to
                consolidate and extract recommendations.
            d. Want final assessment of each issue, including recommendations, from
                each work group.
   5. The Steering Committee must reconvene and make necessary decisions to move
       the project forward.

The next meeting of the Steering Committee is scheduled for December 6, 2005 from
9:00 a.m. to noon. The meeting location will be the same (Holbeck Room/LL Room 27).

								
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