Behavioral Health Services

Behavioral Health Services sets the policy standards for the delivery of mental health and substance use treatment services and evaluates the care provided throughout the TDOC system. The goals are to (1) reduce the debilitating effects of serious mental illness and maximize each offender's ability to participate in programs while maintaining a safe prison environment for offenders and staff, and (2) help prepare offenders with mental illness and/or substance use treatment needs to successfully transition from incarceration back to the community. A continuum of services is provided including psychological assessment, case management, medication management, crisis intervention, individual/group therapy, substance use treatment services and sex offender treatment program.

At initial intake into TDOC, mental health staff assess all offenders for their level of mental health functioning. The designated level of care allows for an efficient allocation of mental health resources while ensuring that offenders are placed in a facility that is capable of providing for their mental health needs. An offender's level of care designation is periodically reviewed to ensure the assigned level accurately reflects his or her current mental health functioning and level of treatment needs.

Offenders, whose ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life within a correctional environment is significantly impaired due to mental illness, are housed in designated Supportive Living Units (SLU.) The SLU provides a structured environment separate from the offender general population and are designed to assist seriously mentally ill offenders in functioning psychosocially and vocationally at the highest possible level within the correctional setting. These units offer a therapeutic milieu with a spectrum of programming designed to support and treat the mentally ill offender based on his/her individual treatment plan.

Behavioral Health Services utilizes standardized protocols and guidelines for community transition of offenders with mental illness. The focus is treatment team effectiveness, case management, and transition/reentry of offenders with special mental health needs. Forensic social workers are additionally utilized to help identify treatment resources in the community and provide for successful reentry. Behavior Health Services supports the use of behavioral and cognitive-behavioral interventions as an alternative to the exclusive reliance on psychotropic medication in addressing offenders' mental health issues.