The Forensic Conditional Release Program (CONREP) is the Department of Mental Health's statewide system of community-based services for specified forensic patients. Mandated as a state responsibility by the Governor's Mental Health Initiative of 1984, the program began operations on January 1, 1986.
The goal of CONREP is to ensure greater public protection in California communities via an effective and standardized community outpatient treatment system.
- Who Are CONREP Patients?
- What Services Do Patients Receive?
- What Is The Need For This Service System?
- How Is The CONREP Program Administered?
- CONREP Digest - 09/29/2010
CONREP is a program for judicially committed persons found by the courts to be Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity [Penal Code (PC) Section 1026 or Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) 702.3]; Incompetent to Stand Trial (PC 1370); Persons that had been committed as Mentally Disordered Sex Offenders under the provisions of PC 6316, (repealed in 1981); Mentally Disordered Offenders (PC 2962), Prison inmates required to receive mental health treatment as a condition of parole; and Civilly committed Mentally Disordered Offenders (PC 2972) - MDO parolees in CONREP who have completed their sentence but remain severely mentally ill.
CONREP patients are typically young males (77% are 18-44 years old) with severe mental disorders (66%) who have committed violent felonies (85%). They have moderate arrest histories (5.5 average prior arrests) and most (885) have entered from state hospitals. Many are well known to local mental health providers in their home counties, having been in and out of treatment for years. Seventy percent (70%) have been served by the community mental health system during the two years prior to judicial commitment.
Virtually all patients judicially committed in the CONREP program have experienced long court-directed state hospitalizations. Once psychiatric symptoms have been stabilized and they are considered no longer to be a danger, eligible patients may be referred for outpatient treatment under conditional release. MDO Patients, have met certain criteria (including the use of force or violence in committing a crime) are treated in the state hospital until they are in remission and can be treated safely in CONREP.
Patients must agree to follow a treatment plan designed by the outpatient supervisor and approved by the committing court. The treatment plan includes provisions for involuntary outpatient services. In order to protect the public, patients who do not comply with treatment may be returned, upon court (or Board of Prison Terms) approval, to inpatient status and treated at state expense.
CONREP patients have direct access to a full range of mental health services during their period of outpatient treatment. These services include individual and group therapies, collateral contacts, home visits, substance abuse screenings and psychological assessments.
The Department of Mental Health (DMH) has developed performance standards for these services which set minimum treatment and supervision levels for all CONREP patients. Pre-placement evaluations and assessments are done during the period of state hospitalization, upon entry into the community and throughout CONREP treatment.
In addition, CONREP staff participate in state hospital and court liaison activities. Specialized forensic mental health clinicians are essential to the effective management of CONREP patients in the community.
Research has shown that 27% of a sample of persons released from state hospitals without going to CONREP re-offend within 2 years. CONREP patients have a very low level of re-offense (6%). Additionally, CONREP patients demonstrate significant improvement in employment, social support and independence ratings after one year of CONREP community treatment. Finally, CONREP patients demonstrate very low levels of substance abuse while in the program.
These positive results are possible because CONREP invests community programs with greater authority and specialized resources to implement a comprehensive community outpatient system of assessment, treatment and supervision services.
The state budget provides 100% of the funding for CONREP's intensive level of assessment, treatment and supervision.
DMH contracts with county mental health programs, experienced private agencies or non-profit contractors to provide relevant cost-effective services.
CONREP operates as a caseload-funded system. Contracts are based and funded on an anticipated annual program caseload and mandated performance standards (see above). Claims for other needed supplemental services are reimbursed according to units actually delivered to patients at a contracted rate. This caseload-funded system assures that funds are fairly distributed and will not diminish over the years.