The 5th Judicial District will assign officers to handle special needs offenders. Special needs refers to those individuals that have been diagnosed with a major mental illness, dual disorders (mental health and substance abuse problems), and mental retardation or brain injury. These offenders typically have limited social and general coping skills, limited incomes and needs for multiple support services to function outside of institutionalization. They often are homeless, unemployable and lacking in helpful family relationships. Such offenders frequently have criminal involvement that is more a reflection of low functioning ability and impulsive behavior verses the entrenched sociopath. Once these offenders are in the legal system they do tend to re-offend unless there are significant interventions.
Special needs caseload officers have experience in the mental health field, substance abuse counseling along with a corrections background. They should be well informed as to the local support services and treatment options in the community. Officers shall supervise a fewer number of offenders on the caseload due to the high risk of re-offending and the constant neediness they require.
The special needs officers shall follow all procedures and standards as set out in other field service policy with the exception of the following;