Specialized Supervision Caseloads
The Electronic Monitoring Program was established in November 1989 to add an extra level of supervision for both probationers and pre-trial defendants either as an original condition of probation, a condition of pre-trial release, or as a sanction. The technology employs a combination of cell phone towers and global positioning systems (GPS) which can be utilized for a variety of purposes i.e. monitor curfew, record exits from a residence, and indicate if a defendant/probationer is prohibited from contacting a victim or a particular location or zone.
Offenders on Community Supervision and Pre-Trial Services can participate in this program.
The Ignition Interlock Caseload was created in September, 1999 to focus on individuals with the Ignition Interlock Device requirement. Offenders on supervision for Driving While Intoxicated cases may be required, by the Courts, to have the Ignition Interlock Device Installed in their vehicles. These may include offenders under 21 and over 17 years of age convicted of Driving While Intoxicated and offenders convicted of a subsequent offense of Driving While Intoxicated (2 or more).
This device requires an offenders' breath sample prior to starting the vehicle. If alcohol is detected on the breath sample, the vehicle will not start. Cameras are a part of the unit to eliminate the possibility of the offender having someone else provide the breath sample.
With the increasing number of individuals on Supervision with this requirement, the department has created five caseloads that focus solely on this offender population. Officers are required to monitor reports received by the interlock companies to ensure compliance. Officers have extensive contact with the offenders to ensure the devices have been installed and that compliance is being met.
The Sex Offender Caseload Program was implemented in 1991 to provide intensive and specialized supervision and treatment to offenders whose primary offense is sexual in nature. The sex offender officers monitor offender’s compliance with conditions of probation with the ultimate goal being "no more victims".
The Williamson County CSCD has 3 specialized sex offender caseloads. The supervision officers who oversee these caseloads receive specialized training in the supervision of sex offenders and have reduced caseloads. If there is a child victim, special emphasis is placed on monitoring sex offender’s contact with minor children. Typically, sex offenders have restricted access to minor children under the age of 17, limited and monitored internet access, as well as child safety zone restrictions. In some instances an offender may have supervised contact with a child, if in the presence of an approved chaperon. Chaperons must attend a chaperon specific training, participate with the offender in an interview conducted by the panel of sex offender officers and be unanimously approved by said panel prior to the sex offender being able to have supervised contact. The sex offender officers conduct frequent home visits as well as location checks on proposed residences.
The department contracts with sex offender treatment providers (SOTP) to provide sex offender treatment for indigent offenders. The SOTP provides individual and group therapy for offenders. Often, sex offenders are required as a condition of supervision to report for a sex offender evaluation by a licensed provider approved by the supervising officer, including but not limited to, psychological or psychiatric testing, clinical evaluation, and clinical/therapeutic polygraphs. In addition, the offender may be required to attend and participate in a counseling program recommended by the officer. The officers are in frequent contact with the treatment providers and also attend group sessions. Polygraph examinations may be administered regularly to determine if offenders have had contact with children or committed other violations of supervision.
The Mental Health caseload is designed to meet the needs of offenders with mental health/mental retardation issues that meet priority population criteria as defined in the CJAD – Diversion Program Special Grant Conditions for Mental Health Initiative Caseloads. It is intended for people with overt psychiatric diagnosis such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or those with a GAF level of 50 or below. This caseload shall be limited to 40 offenders and will target high and medium risk/needs felony offenders who have special needs due to mental impairment. High and medium risk/needs misdemeanor cases shall be served only on a limited and space available basis, not to exceed 10% of the offenders served on the caseload at any given time. Minimum risk/needs level offenders are not eligible for services.
This caseload is DP funded, and works in cooperation with the Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA) of Williamson County known as Bluebonnet Trails.
A psychiatric evaluation will be conducted on the offender to determine the need for participation in the Mental Health Caseload. A psychiatric evaluation will be required after entrance into the program, if one has not been done prior to entering this program. All offenders must be court ordered onto this caseload and must meet priority population criteria.
Supervision and monitoring of these offenders is a collaborative effort between the Mental Health CSO and the offender’s assigned caseworker and/or treatment provider. Offenders will be required to attend counseling sessions as required and to take any medication that is prescribed to them by a psychiatrist or physician related to their diagnosed disorder. Evaluation/Treatment referrals shall be made for those offenders who abuse alcohol or drugs. Offenders shall also be subjected to the programming that addresses the offender’s criminogenic needs.
Once an offender is accepted in the program, they will be supervised at a high/medium level of supervision and in accordance with TDCJ-CJAD Standards on Direct Supervision and the Mental Health Initiative Caseload Special Grant Conditions. While some offenders will remain on this caseload until the completion of their supervision term, some offenders who’s progress has been staffed with a LMHA caseworker and or other treatment provider, are stabilized and have remained compliant, may be allowed to transition to the department’s newly created Special Needs Caseload or a regular caseload. The offenders who enter the Special Needs Caseload will continue to be monitored and supervised by an officer highly trained in working with this population in keeping with TDCJ-CJAD Standards on Direct Supervision.
The Special Needs Caseload was created in September 2013. The Community Supervision Officer in charge of this caseload is responsible for supervising offenders with mental health related issues who do not qualify to be supervised on the CJAD grant funded Mental Health caseload. Offenders who are no longer in need of the intensive supervision requirements of the Mental Health caseload will be transferred to the Special Needs caseload to continue to monitor the offenders compliance with their mental health issues. Misdemeanor Offenders with mental health issues will be supervised on the Special Needs caseload once the department reaches the maximum allowed misdemeanor offenders on the Mental Health grant funded caseload.
The Special Needs CSO will work closely with the MHMR (Bluebonnet Trails) caseworkers and psychiatrists to ensure the offenders compliance with their prescribed medication and appointments with their psychiatrist. Offenders with significant physical disabilities will also be supervised by the Special Needs CSO. The Special Needs CSO will obtain medical verification from the treating physician and develop a supervision plan based upon the abilities of the offender. The Special Needs CSO will be knowledgeable of community resources and will refer the offender to available services to assist them in their rehabilitation which will enhance their compliance with their conditions of supervision.
In 1992, following the opening of Central Texas Treatment Center, an officer with special training in substance abuse was hired to supervise residents discharged from the treatment center. Following legislative changes in 1993 affecting the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (SAFPF) programs, the Substance Abuse Caseload Program was expanded to include supervision of defendants sentenced by the courts to community supervision and required to enter and complete the SAFPF program.
Two supervision officers provide intensive supervision to offenders discharged from substance abuse facilities for six months to one year, depending on the need of the individual. Officers provide transitional planning, arrange referral services and oversee the progress of residents. Urine samples are frequently taken on substance abuse offenders. Over 3,000 urine samples were collected and tested annually on these two caseloads.
Additionally, substance abuse counselors at the treatment center conduct one hour of aftercare counseling per week. Aftercare group addresses relapse issues, marital and family relationships issues, and other alcohol and drug related issues, including suicide prevention. The offender is required to attend group each week according to the offender’s individualized transitional plan.
The Absconder Caseload/Unit was created in 1992 as a result of increasing caseloads that resulted in line officer's inability to focus their time and attention on locating and apprehending fugitives. Since then, the use of modern technology has been implemented to assist in the location of these fugitives. These include the Internet, Texas Workforce Commission databases, credit bureaus, and local, state, and national criminal justice databases. Contacts with law enforcement, community members, and other government agencies also assist in the location of these individuals.