The District has three residential facilities that offer the highest structure and control and are therefore designed for the higher-risk offender who requires such enhanced supervision. The residential facilities also offer short-term placements for offenders under supervision in the community in an effort to “stabilize” the offender, thus avoiding possible revocation. Residential facilities in the Sixth Judicial District provide housing for male and female offenders on Probation, Parole, Work Release from an adult institution, and Federal offenders.
Gerald R. Hinzman Center (capacity – 86) provides services to both men & women as a condition of probation, offenders from the Federal Bureau of Prison and Federal Probation, along with women placed in the facility as Work Releasees, 2nd & 3rd Offense drunk drivers, Probation, & Federal.
Hope House (capacity – 58) provides services for male Work Releasees, 2nd & 3rd Offense drunk drivers and Probationers as ordered by District Court and male Federal offenders.
Lary A. Nelson Center (capacity – 93) provides services for male Work Releasees who are returning to the community from a State institution as ordered by the Iowa Board of Parole and male 2nd & 3rd Offense drunk drivers as ordered by District Court. In June 2008, following the Cedar Rapids flood, the Nelson Center serves as a Linn County alternative jail site (1 wing for residential only).
Programming in the Facilities
Each facility resident is involved in a treatment program designed for that individual. The goal is to enhance that resident’s ability to be a success. Some programs such as money management and employment/education have been mentioned previously.
Accountability is stressed and enforced at a high standard. In addition, there are numerous program and treatment opportunities for each resident based upon their assessed need including:
- Education – GED, High School, College opportunities
- Sex Offender Programming
- Substance Abuse Counseling and Treatment in both individual and group settings
- In-house AA
- Cognitive Restructuring
- Mental Health Counseling/Intervention and referral
- Batterer’s Education Program
- Recreational activities
- Community Service opportunities
- Job Development
ANCHOR Center for Women
ANCHOR Center for Women (capacity – 26) provides services to women as a condition of probation, offenders from the Federal Bureau of Prison and Federal Probation, along with women placed in the facility as Work Releases, 2nd & 3rd Offense drunk drivers, Probation, & Federal.
In recent years, the Criminal Justice System has seen a significant increase in the number of individuals that have a diagnosed mental health disorder. According to a report produced in 1999 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics it was stated that 16% of individuals in our national criminal justice system have a diagnosed mental health disorder. However, by 2005, it stated that approximately 50% of the individuals in our prisons and jails have a mental health disorder (James & Glaze, 2006). In addition, of that number, 75% also have a diagnosed substance use disorder.
As of December 31, 2006, 3,535 of the 8,838 individuals incarcerated by the Iowa Department of Corrections had a diagnosed mental health disorder (Mentally Ill Offenders in Iowa’s Prison System: Update, 2007). More specifically, 60% of incarcerated women and 31% of incarcerated males comprised this population. In addition, 47.2% of the individuals meeting the criteria for one mental health disorder diagnosis also met the criteria for at least one additional diagnosis such as a substance use disorder (Iowa Department of Corrections, 2006).
The Chief Judge of the Iowa Supreme Court, Chief District Court Judges, and State Corrections Administrators have seen the need and lack of mental health services for the correctional population. Therefore, efforts have been made within the Iowa Department of Corrections to address the needs of these individuals. Institutions have developed critical care and special needs units within the prisons to provide more specific and individualized treatment settings to these inmates. The Department has also begun to work with these individuals before release and re-entry into their communities through re-entry programs.
The number of individuals with mental health disorders being released on parole into the correctional services districts ranges from 22.5% and 36.0%. Various districts have set up community based programs to address the needs of these individuals. However, very few residential settings are available to these individuals. The 1st District’s Dual Diagnosis program is the only in the state. While this is an exemplary program, and a great stride towards effective treatment for these individuals, the needs for additional location and more specific and intensive programming exists.
Within the two largest counties (Linn and Johnson) of the 6th Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, 42% and 45% respectively of individuals transferred from field probation/parole to prison have at least one diagnosed mental health disorder. Individuals with mental health disorders under the supervision of the 6th district are being provided programming on a variety of levels including re-entry programming to community based services. However, these individuals with mental health disorders were continuing to struggle. One must realize that these individuals provide many unique circumstances and situations to providers.
Community providers lack the knowledge and ability to provide the structure that an individual on correctional supervision needs and address the community safety issues unique to this population. Whereas, correctional professionals lack the knowledge and ability to accommodate for the treatment services that these individuals need. Therefore, making appropriate placements and adequate service provisions difficult for correctional professionals.
To address this issue, the 6th district developed the idea of building a residential mental health facility. By creating this unique and innovative facility, the treatment needs of these individuals would be addressed, while also providing the needed security and supervision. With the need and the vision in place, the legislature was the next step.
In the 2006 Iowa Legislative session the 6th Judicial District Department of Correctional Services was allocated $2 million dollars to be dispersed in two installments of $1 million in the 2006 fiscal year and $1 million in the 2007 fiscal year to build the mental health residential facility. This facility was to be built on the Correctional Services complex in Cedar Rapids, and is to serve individuals with mental health needs under the supervision of the 6th Judicial District.
The Client Services Advisory Committee was given the charge to develop a physical plan for the facility, and also a plan for the treatment programming that the facility would provide. The larger group, comprised of a variety of community and treatment providers from within the 6th Judicial District, met on a monthly basis to ensure progress and feedback. However, it was seen that a sub-set of smaller, more workable sub-committees was needed to address specific issues.
The Treatment and Assessment sub-committee was formed to begin developing the programming and other clinical aspects of the facility. Initial discussions were primarily focused on the clientele that would be seen and provided services within the facility. A few key factors were found to be key themes.
First, the facility was to be utilized as an assessment and evaluation unit that would be focused on developing an understanding of the individual needs of each client, and then working within the community’s existing services to put those resources in place for that individual, while utilizing the supportive structure to stabilize the individual. Second, with the overwhelming need of adequate resources for clients within the criminal justice system who also have mental health disorders, the desire was to efficiently and adequately serve as many as possible, rather than serving a smaller number for extended periods of time. Third, by providing an additional programming option for these individuals with mental health disorders within the continuum of care we will potentially reduce the number of prison admissions. The goal of these key themes was not to duplicate the services that already existed, but to adequately identify the various needs of our clients and connect them with those resources.
Always keeping in mind the two key themes, a draft table of organization and programming schedule was developed. Feedback on these initial drafts was gathered and support was gained by key officials within the Department of Corrections. Further work included discussions of referral processes, development of treatment plans, and the use of specific assessments that would be utilized within the facility.
The Facility sub-committee was developed to address the unique needs of clients with mental health disorders within the criminal justice system in a residential setting. They physical environment of such a unique facility must be different from the existing residential facilities to reduce the potential risk of suicidal and self-harm behaviors. For example, this group has utilized David Sine and James Hunt’s “Design Guide for the Built Environment of Behavioral Health Facilities,” to specifically include the various hardware that has been developed for this type of facility; ranging from shower heads to furniture.
The challenges that plague this motivated group are the need for adequate and increased staffing in a facility of this type, assuring that appropriate staff is hired, and training for the staff that is hired. Increased staffing allows for the ability to monitor clients while also providing the assessment, evaluation and treatment that each client needs. While treatment is a priority the safety and security of the facility and the public is always a main concern. Therefore, increased staffing to provide for those two elements is key.
A residential facility of this type is unique and very uncommon, so much that it may be the first of its kind. With that, a staffing pattern that includes non-traditional residential correctional staff is essential to its success. Intensive services within the facility is designed to adequately assess and evaluate the variety of needs that these clients have, but then to implement and connect them to community resources that are going to enhance their ability to be successful. The facility will also have to accommodate the medical needs of this population, ranging from them being on a variety of medications to other medical and health issues.
Finally, adequate and appropriate staff to client ratios is essential, but so is the need to have well trained staff. Staff needs to be trained to deal with this population from a clinical standpoint, as well as a correctional standpoint. These two components will need to work together as a team to provide treatment and supervision. With that, an intensive training protocol will need to be provided initially as well as on an on-going basis.
Over the course of the past fiscal year, the ANCHOR Center has become more of a reality for the Sixth District. The physical structure is nearing completion, equipped with features specified for behavioral health facilities. The facility also acquired its name: ANCHOR center. ANCHOR center is an acronym for Accountability and kNowledge to Create Hope Opportunities and Resources.
While extensive work has been done to create programming and facility operations that are conducive to this population; challenges lie ahead. The criminal justice system will continue to struggle with how to appropriately work with these individuals. The 6th District Department of Correctional Services hopes that the ANCHOR Center can become a model to other districts in Iowa, as well as to the nation, as an effective program for clients with mental health and/or substance use disorders within the criminal justice system.
ANCHOR Center is currently open as of April 2015.