Creating Effective Treatment Programs for Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders in the Justice System

About the Course:

Much attention has been paid in recent years to the increasing number of incarcerated individuals who have co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders. This monograph highlights key elements that are important to consider when developing treatment programming for persons with co-occurring disorders (mental illness and substance abuse) in the criminal justice system. This monograph begins by describing the population to be treated and reviews the reasons why treatment of persons with co-occurring disorders has been so challenging. Models of treatment that have been described in the clinical and research literature are reviewed. Generic program principles, irrespective of theoretical orientation, are outlined. Challenges encountered when trying to provide improved services to offenders with co-occurring disorders are also considered.


The GAINS Center

Publication Date:

March 2000


Holly A. Hills, Ph.D.

About the Author:

Holly A. Hills, Ph.D., is associated with the Department of Community Mental Health, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about treating persons with co-occurring disorders in the justice system. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Identify the population of offenders with co-occurring disorders and the development of treatment models for them.

  2. Explain the incorporation of program principles and discuss specific models of intervention to address co-occurring disorders.

  3. Describe the issues confronted in clinical treatment and factors to be considered when initiating services for offenders with co-occurring disorders.

Exam Questions

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