Specialized Correctional Treatment

Introduction

Many young people with identified needs require more intensive and specialized treatment.  Specialized residential treatment includes programs designed specifically for the treatment of serious violent offenders, sex offenders, chemically dependent offenders, offenders with mental health impairments, and offenders with mental retardation.

Youth receive a comprehensive clinical assessment when first entering the TJJD system.  From this assessment youth are matched their specialized treatment needs and each need is given a ranking and priority for addressing these needs.  TJJD's assessment and placement process is designed to ensure youths with the most severe need and/or high risk for violent reoffending are assigned to specialized residential treatment programs.

Capital and Serious Violent Offenders

The Giddings State School operates a Capital and Serious Violent Offender Treatment Program for youths that are committed for murder, capital murder, and if the offense involved the use of a weapon or deadly force. The program helps these young people connect feelings associated with their violent behavior and to identify alternative ways to respond when faced with risky situations in the future. Participants in this program are required to reenact their crimes and to play the role of both perpetrator and victim.

The Giddings Capital and Serious Violent Offender Program has gained worldwide attention and been featured on several national news programs. It is one of TJJD’s most promising specialized treatment programs. Research shows that participation in this program reduced the likelihood of being re-incarcerated for any offense by 55 percent, and for a felony offense, by 43 percent.

Sex Offenders

Specialized treatment for sex offenders is provided at three TJJD institutions. (Prior to FY 2004, this treatment also was provided by specialized contract providers.) The sex offender treatment program (SOTP) builds on the agency's treatment program using cognitive-behavioral strategies and a relapse prevention component.

Youths in the program receive additional individual and group counseling interventions that focus on the youth's deviant sexuality, in particular, and on deviant arousal patterns and deviant sexual fantasies, which contribute to the youth's sexual abusiveness.

Additional program components include psychosexual education and, for those with histories of abuse, trauma resolution therapies. The latest research shows that participation in this program reduced the likelihood of being re-incarcerated for a felony offense by 50 percent, re-arrested for a violent offense by 46 percent, re-arrested for a felony sex offense by 37 percent, re-arrested for a felony offense by 29 percent, and re-arrested for any offense by 28 percent.

Chemically Dependent Offenders

Alcohol or Other Drug Abuse treatment programs are located at all the institutional facilities and several half-way houses.  Youth are placed in treatment based on their treatment need. Residential programs are offered at Giddings, Gainesville, McLennan County Ron Jackson, Evins Regional and McFadden Ranch.

Program components include evidence- based treatment curriculum and substance abuse education, social skills training, group and individual counseling, and relapse prevention.  The criminal behavior is addressed through linking the use of drugs to the youth’s life story and offense; participants examine their life stories, offense histories, and relapse cycles.

Offenders With Mental Health Impairment

The number of youths committed to TJJD with severe mental health problems has increased greatly in recent years. The severity of these problems also has increased.

All the institutional facilities are staffed with Mental Health professionals providing services to meet the youth’s treatment needs.  Youth diagnosed with severe mental health problems and/or illnesses may be placed at the Corsicana Residential Treatment Program to address these treatment needs. Those with unstable mental illnesses who are also dangerous to themselves or others receive care at the Corsicana Stabilization Unit. 

The immediate goal for this group is treating the basic mental health problem or illness and allowing the youths to regain control over their behavior. Once this is accomplished, the young person is better prepared to benefit from treatment that focuses on changing the delinquent and criminal patterns of behavior. The final goal concerns reintegrating the young person with his or her family and community in a program that addresses his or her mental health and correctional therapy needs.

Youth with mental health problems pose a particularly difficult problem for TJJD, yet the specialized treatment is showing promise. Research showed that specialized treatment in a secure restriction program reduced the likelihood of being re-arrested and of being re-incarcerated for a felony offense by 13 percent.