This article reviews the evaluation findings for the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI), which was launched in 2003. marking one of the first concerted efforts to address offender mental health and drug addiction, which have been linked to persistent reoffending.
This effort was reinforced in 2004 by the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Rediction Act (MIOTCRA) and the Second Chance Act in 2008. These efforts provided significant resources for addressing crime-related problems such as substance abuse and mental health issues among offenders released to the community. This article reports on the impact of these efforts almost a decade after SVORI was launched. There is evidence that declines in substance abuse and increases in access to substance abuse treatment among high-risk groups under criminal justice community supervision may partially explain why crime rates in many cities have remained low despite other challenges, such as unemployment. This finding, however, must be tempered by the unchanged rates of mental health problems and the unchanged treatment gap for mental illness among probationers and parolees. Since mental health services are largely dependent on public funding, it is unclear what effect the recent fiscal crisis may have on the provision of these services to offenders. This article describes the methodology used to judge the impact that SVORI may have had on the substance abuse and mental illness of offenders supervised in the community. 2 notes