MSSP SealUNITED STATES PROBATION & PRETRIAL SERVICES

Southern District of Mississippi

Carolyn M. Romano, Chief U.S. Probation Officer __________________________________________________________________

About Treatment Services

 

The goal of Treatment Services is to help the offender eliminate substance abuse and/or stabilize mental health issues, and to protect the public. We recognize that substance abusers, mentally ill, and sex offenders engage in criminal activity with greater frequency. The objective is to remove any obstacles that impede recovery, address and treat issues, and provide increased support and progressive sanctions where appropriate.

 

 

Substance Abuse Frequently Asked Questions

(Courtesy of Office of Probation and Pretrial Services, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts)


What is substance abuse treatment in the federal probation and pretrial services system?

Substance abuse treatment is a tool that helps U.S. Probation officers supervise or monitor defendants and offenders in the community. This treatment includes urine testing and services such as counseling and detoxification, and is provided to persons who abuse illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. These individuals are either on probation, parole, or supervised release after being in prison, or under pretrial supervision while awaiting a court appearance. Treatment is ordered either by the U.S. District Court or by the U.S. Parole Commission as a condition of release to the community.


How does substance abuse treatment help officers carry out their supervision responsibilities?

Treatment gives officers the means to directly address individuals' alcohol or drug abuse. For offenders under post-conviction supervision, treatment helps officers enforce the conditions set by the court or Parole Commission, control the danger offenders may pose to society, and promote law-abiding behavior. For defendants under pretrial supervision, treatment helps officers reasonably assure that they appear in court and that society is protected from harm. The Substance Abuse Treatment Program provides the framework for supervising people with drug problems.


What is the Substance Abuse Treatment Program?

Administered by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts since 1979, the Substance Abuse Treatment Program is a national program that guides U.S. Probation Officers in identifying and treating the substance abusers under their supervision. The program's goal—to promote abstinence from drugs—is achieved through close supervision, drug testing, and appropriate treatment. The program enables officers to supervise defendants and offenders in the community and to ensure public safety while doing so.


How do officers identify substance abusers?

Defendants or offenders may simply tell their officers that they have a substance abuse problem. They may be identify through information in records and reports (including information from state and local law enforcement agencies), interviews with the individuals and their families, or drug testing. Also, many officers use formal evaluations and testing methods to screen for substance abuse. One important consideration in identifying substance abusers is whether they also suffer from mental health problems. These are "dual diagnosis" cases and require officers to develop supervision plans that address both problems.


How is substance abuse detected?

Officers use breathalyzers to test for alcohol and they use urinalysis to test for drugs. Urinalysis can be ordered by the court or the U.S. Parole Commission. Officers also may use it periodically when an individual's behavior indicates that he or she may be using drugs. Testing usually is unscheduled or random. The person has less than 24 hours’ notice that a specimen will be collected. Urinalysis is a useful tool to deter the recreational drug user as well as the long-time drug user.


Who provides treatment?

Treatment most often comes from either community programs that provide services at no cost to the federal government or from treatment providers who are under contract to the United States Courts. The Director of the Administrative Office, under 18 U.S.C. ¤ 3672, has the authority to "contract with any appropriate public or private agency or person for the detection of and care in the community of an offender who is an alcohol-dependent person, an addict, or a drug-dependent person. . . . "


What if substance abuse continues despite treatment?

Revoking supervision may be in order. While officers should try any viable treatment approaches before initiating revocation, substance abusers must face the consequences of their actions. If these individuals continue to submit positive specimens, fail to give specimens, give adulterated specimens, or otherwise fail to comply with court ordered treatment, officers report such noncompliance to the court.

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Mental Health Frequently Asked Questions


What is mental health treatment in the federal probation and pretrial services system?

Mental health treatment is a risk management tool that helps U.S. Probation officers supervise or monitor defendants and offenders in the community. Mental health treatment may include such services as psychological/psychiatric testing and individual, family, or group counseling by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other licensed practitioner.

Who receives mental health treatment?

Mental health treatment is ordered either by the U.S. District Court or by the U.S. Parole Commission as a condition of releasing individuals under federal supervision to the community.


How do officers identify mentally disordered persons?

Individuals may come to the probation or pretrial services office already diagnosed with a mental disorder, or officers may identify them through information in case files, interviews with the individuals and their families and friends, or consultation with mental health professionals.

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Who provides mental health treatment to defendants and offenders?

Counselors, clinicians, and other professionals in the community provide treatment under an agreement with the United States Courts. The Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, under 18 U.S.C. § 3672, has the authority to "contract with any appropriate public or private agency or person for the detection of and care in the community of . . . a person suffering from a psychiatric disorder . . . ."

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What services do mental health contractors provide?

No single treatment approach will help every person who requires mental health treatment. To be able to address defendant’s and offender’s individual needs, officers must solicit for various services, including:

•Psychological/psychiatric evaluation and testing

•Individual, group, and family counseling

•Sex offender-specific individual or group therapy

•Psychosexual evaluations for sex offenders

•Polygraph testing for sex offenders

•Substance abuse counseling

•Clinical consultation between officers and mental health professionals to discuss supervision issues

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