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The DPSCS Social Work Department provides comprehensive release planning services to the special needs population returning to the community, cognitive-behavioral group treatment to the entire incarcerated individual population, and short-term, solution-focused individual counseling services.

Release Planning Services

Release planning services are provided to individuals with serious mental illness, major medical issues, HIV/AIDS, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities (including the blind, deaf, individuals who are wheelchair-bound), and those with lengthy sentences. Social Workers complete a psychosocial assessment of each individual and connects them to housing, medical care, mental health care, entitlements such as medical assistance and Social Security Income, addictions treatment, job training programs, veterans programs, support groups, and any other necessary community resources. The social work unit regularly refers individuals to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, transitional housing programs, inpatient substance abuse treatment facilities, Residential Rehabilitation Programs (for the seriously mentally ill population), and VA housing programs. When all other options are exhausted, individuals may be referred to local shelters. Release planning cases may be referred to the unit by any other department or by self-referral from clients. Social Workers also consistently monitor the 12-month release lists for their institutions to track individuals who meet our criteria and qualify for release planning services. They aim to assign qualified individuals to a social worker within 6-12 months of their anticipated release date.

Cognitive-Behavioral Group Treatment

Social Workers across the State provide an array of evidence-based group treatment. Group programming is offered to the entire incarcerated individual population, and at the majority of facilities, there are waitlists to get into social work groups. Referrals for group participation can come from case management, psychology, the parole commission, custody, medical, but most often are by self-referral. Groups usually consist of 10-15 individuals, are held twice per week, and run roughly 6-8 weeks, depending on the program. The goal of group treatment is to address the psychological, cognitive, and behavioral challenges that lead to incarceration. In FY19, the Social Work unit facilitated over 1,600 group sessions and completed 88 group cycles with 1,066 graduates.

Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA) Approved Social Work Groups

JRA identified individuals who could receive 20 credits/month for assignment to these groups. Other individuals can receive ten credits a month for assignments to the following groups:

  • Communications
  • Decisions/ Decision Making
  • Domestic Violence
  • Relationships
  • Seeking Safety (Trauma)
  • Thinking for a Change
  • Thinking, Deciding, and Changing
  • Victim Impact: Listen and Learn
  • Anger Management
  • Parenting Group Treatment Protocol
  • Inside Out Dad
  • Decision Points
  • Trauma Education and Support for Survivors (TESS)

Individual Treatment Services

Social Workers provide clinical counseling and crisis intervention services to individuals in need of short-term, solution-focused treatment to address specific issues. In some institutions with Special Needs Units, Social Work provides long-term individual treatment in partnership with Mental Health staff. In FY20, the Social Work Staff completed 684 Individual Counseling sessions for the incarcerated individual population.