Methods: Administrative data included baseline assessment/intake data for all adults under community supervision between June 2018 and May 2019 (N= 35,805). Using these data, the relationship between substance use treatment needs and mental health treatment needs, criminal history (type of offense, prior convictions and prior prison), was examined while controlling for specific demographics including gender, race, and age. Treatment needs for both substance use and mental health were measured by a DCS assessment of risks and needs. Criminal history variables were binary measures indicating presence of prior convictions and prior prison, and drug-related offenses compared to non-drug related. Gender and race were also binary measures for presence of male and White, while age was in years. A multivariate linear regression examined the correlates associated with substance use treatment needs using SAS software.
Results: The multivariate linear regression model showed that mental health treatment risks/needs (B=0.82, p < .01), a drug-related criminal offense (B=0.21, p < .01), prior convictions (B=0.11, p < .01), and prior incarceration (B=0.02, p < .01) were associated with higher substance use treatment needs. The model also showed that men (B=0.07, p < .01), White individuals (B=0.02, p < .01) and those younger in age (B=-0.05, p < .01) were associated with higher substance use treatment needs.
Conclusions and Implications: Given that mental health treatment needs was the single strongest predictor of substance use treatment needs, these findings highlight the ongoing need to develop integrated models of care that treat both substance use and mental health among adults under community supervision. For those with co-morbid treatment needs under community supervision, continued integrated care can help to deter the likelihood of relapse and recidivism while transitioning back into their communities. Practicing social workers who deliver treatment to adults under community supervision may benefit from this work, as it points to an increased need for training and resources to deliver effective care for those with co-occurring substance use and mental health problems. Future research within social work to improve our understanding of these issues should examine the implementation processes as well as client outcomes associated with integrated care models in criminal justice settings.