Archives for September 2012

Recovery Month and Parole and Probation

By Kim M. Barry

National Recovery Month Observance is part of a national initiative sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) observance of National Recovery Month emphasizes our belief in the value of partnerships with community organizations, local, and federal criminal justice agencies, city government, the faith community and individual citizens in promoting both successful reintegration and public safety.

CSOSA is a federal, executive branch agency providing parole and probation services to Washington, D.C. We supervise 16,000 people on supervision daily and 24,000 yearly. Ninety percent have histories of substance abuse. CSOSA is a research based, best practices agency.

This article examines the integration of SAMHSA best practices into the work of CSOSA.

Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for substance use and mental disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible.

In recognition of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month 2012, President Obama issued this Presidential Proclamation: “Every day, millions of Americans with substance use disorders commit to managing their health by maintaining their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.  People in recovery are not strangers:  they are our family members, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.  During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, we recognize their strength and resilience.”

Research on Substance Abuse and Recovery:

According to research findings by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), at least four major types of drug abuse treatment can be extremely effective in reducing drug use. These include supportive group therapy, urine monitoring during treatment, relapse prevention, and post-treatment involvement in self-help groups. In addition drug abuse treatment produces decreases in illegal acts and increases in full-time employment.

CSOSA’s Mission:

The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency’s mission is “To increase public safety, prevent crime, reduce recidivism, and support the fair administration of justice in close collaboration with the community.” CSOSA contracts with experienced providers to offer outpatient treatment, long-term residential treatment, short-term inpatient treatment and a Secure Residential Treatment Program (SRTP). The Secure Residential Treatment Program provides an alternative to incarceration for offenders facing revocation of parole or supervised release as a result of illegal drug use, criminal arrest or other violations of their release conditions.

In addition, CSOSA‘s Reentry and Sanctions Center provides offenders with a 28-day assessment and treatment preparation program prior to placement in residential or outpatient programming. Also, CSOSA has Faith Community Partnerships designed to provide mentors for returning offenders and to establish a network of faith-based institutions that may have housing, employment, substance abuse, or other resources that can benefit returning offenders. In addition, CSOSA provides supportive services such as drug aftercare, relapse prevention groups, and educational seminars for family members.

Recent Developments:

CSOSA’s Director Nancy Ware stated in her Strategic Plan that over the next five years CSOSA will strive to enhance public safety by lowering the re-arrest rate among supervised offenders and increasing the numbers of offenders who successfully complete supervision. CSOSA will achieve this goal through continued use of assessment-driven case planning, evidence-based interventions, consistent use of sanctions and incentives, and effective partnerships with the community, law enforcement and other stakeholders. Integrating the efforts of regional law enforcement will also be critical to success. Ware stated that, “Through its supervision activities, CSOSA’s seeks to continually enhance the agency’s impact on a safe Nation’s Capital.”

Overview of the Treatment Management Team:

The goal of CSOSA’s Treatment Management Team (TMT) is to enhance public safety by providing supportive services to community supervision staff. TMT is responsible for making timely referrals to drug treatment based on clinical evaluations, matching offenders with appropriate interventions, timely processing of placements and monitoring of offenders in treatment.

In 2010, CSOSA contracted an average of 3,000 treatment placements into 1 of 4 treatment modalities, namely detox, outpatient, short-term or long-term residential treatment.

The Agency’s fiscal appropriation allows for CSOSA to meet 25% of the population’s addiction treatment need. CSOSA focuses its resources on high-risk offenders and strives to make clinically appropriate treatment placements. Lower-risk offenders are referred to the District of Columbia Department of Health, Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration (APRA), the agency primarily responsible for addressing substance abuse treatment needs of eligible District of Columbia Residents.


CSOSA’s Director Nancy Ware states that “The long-term outcomes toward which CSOSA directs its efforts are the successful completion of supervision and the reduction in recidivism among supervised individuals, particularly those persons assessed as high risk”.

CSOSA embraces Recovery Month which spreads the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.

CSOSA’s vision is to create a model of community supervision that is recognized for positively impacting public safety by ensuring that offenders are referred and approved for treatment and supportive programs consistent with SAMHSA protocols.

Work Cited:

  1. NIH Press Release- New Research Documents Success of Drug Abuse Treatments-12/15
  2. A Guide To Treatment, Education and Job Related Services Within The Court Services article/28820
  3. CSOSA Fact Sheet-CSOSA Office of Legislative Intergovernmental and Public Affairs
  4. CSOSA 2011-2016 Strategic Plan
  5. Presidential Proclamation—National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month 2012 issued by press-office/2012/08/31