The Active Ingredients in a Treatment for Justice-Involved Persons With Mental Illness: The Importance of Addressing Mental Illness and Criminal Risk

Faith Scanlon, Robert D. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Corrections research literature is replete with treatment and intervention outcome studies but lacking empirical examinations of the process of change in justice-involved populations. The current studies expand upon previous outcome evaluations of Changing Lives and Changing Outcomes (CLCO), a treatment program for justice-involved persons with mental illness, by using process research designs to examine therapeutic mechanisms of change. Study 1 used CLCO participants' (n = 264) pre and post module quizzes to examine differences in content retention between Mental Illness, Criminalness, and Both mental illness and criminalness domains to determine if participants differentially learn treatment content. In Study 2, 1 CLCO module was administered to 9 groups of adult men on probation in a residential treatment facility (n = 4 to 8 per group) in 3 iterations: (a) Mental Illness-only content (n = 16), (b) Criminalness-only content (n = 20), (c) Full module (mental illness and criminalness content; n = 22). Results for both studies indicated significant treatment gains across outcome measures of interest (namely content retention and symptomology). Contrary to expectations in Study 1, effect sizes of Mental Illness and Criminalness content retention were similar, suggesting there are not differential effects in the magnitude of content retained between the 2 domains. In Study 2, the integration of mental illness and criminalness content produced greater global improvement than focusing on mental illness or criminalness alone. These results underscore the necessity and effectiveness of integrating mental illness and criminalness in the treatment of justice-involved persons with mental illness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological services
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Criminal risk
  • Mental health
  • Process research
  • Treatment

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