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West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services, Office of Research and Strategic Planning

 

West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services, Office of Research and Strategic Planning

Partnership Activities:

This partnership developed from a phone discussion between the WVU ICRC assistant director for outreach, and the director of the WV DJCS Office of Research and Strategic Planning (ORSC). The discussion centered on two WVU ICRC initiatives—the opioid overdose prevention feasibility study in southern WV (see the ICRC Partnership 2 section of this report), and the implementation evaluation of computerized adaptive testing for mental health disorders (see ICRC Partnership 6 section)—and their potential applicability to the WV offender populations. The phone call participants agreed upon the potential for future communication and collaboration. A meeting was held between WVU ICRC outreach and a senior justice programs specialist who manages the DJCS Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) program. JAGs provide funding for pilot studies aimed at “fostering a crime-free environment within local communities.” Often successful pilot projects are expanded and implemented as statewide initiatives.

 

Public Health Impact of Partnership:

WV has implemented an initiative to reduce recidivism and monitor recently released offenders. Offenders who have previously abused prescription opioid painkillers face high risk of overdose if they resume use at previous levels with reduced tolerance. Also, the offender population exhibits a higher prevalence of mental health disorders, including depression, and suicide. Drug courts in WV process offenders who are not typically incarcerated, but given the opportunity to receive training, counseling, referrals/treatment, etc. through a system of “day-report” centers throughout WV. The 51 day-report centers may provide the opportunity for implementation of pilot overdose prevention programs with take-home naloxone and/or mental health screenings via the computerized adaptive testing for mental health (CAT-MH) described elsewhere in this report. Potential public health impacts would be reduced risk of opioid overdose and suicide among recently released or drug court offenders.

 

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