A lawyer from the Legal Aid Society referred Kevin to CASES when she suspected that mental health needs were behind his frequent involvement in the justice system. As Kevin puts it, "I had been in jail so much, it was like a second home to me."
In FY 2011, nearly 80% of individuals sentenced to TCM successfully completed their court mandate.
In response to the fact that people with mental illness who are sentenced to very short jail stays in New York City may not receive any mental health or discharge planning services, CASES launched the EXIT program in 2004. This federally-funded demonstration project provided voluntary case management services to low-level offenders with mental illness. The program showed that judges sentenced 88% of mentally ill defendants to case management services, that 69% of this population engaged in voluntary case management services, and that there was a corresponding reduction in recidivism for this group.
Based on its success, the program expanded in 2007 to become our current Transitional Case Management (TCM) program, which targets individuals with repeat misdemeanor offenses who are at risk of short-jail sentences and also have a serious mental illness. The program provides immediate case management services and linkages to address clients' mental health and substance abuse treatment needs. By intercepting individuals with mental illness in arraignments and criminal court, and supporting their integration into the local continuum of case management and treatment resources, the program supports reductions in jail days and recidivism. TCM thus provides direct assistance to participants to secure community resources with the aim of achieving improvements in psychiatric symptoms, treating substance abuse, and teaching life skills necessary for community stability and crime-free lifestyles.
Please see report on TCM services and outcomes by the Policy Research Associates (August 2012).
A clinical psychologist screens individuals in criminal court. Those found eligible for the program are then mandated by the judge to participate in a set number of case management sessions. Individuals may also enter the program voluntarily after completing the Day Custody Program.