Current Projects

Evaluation of the Salt Lake County Criminal Justice Pay for Success (PFS) Program: REACH

Study completion: 2023
Contact Person: Rob Butters or Erin Worwood

Pay for Success (PFS) is an innovative approach that leverages taxpayer risk by funding social service programs with private capital and ties payment for services to demonstrated outcomes through rigorous evaluation. Salt Lake County has spent the past year working with UCJC, First Step House (FSH), and a variety of community stakeholders to develop a PFS project to address high recidivism rates among offender populations. The REACH program was designed by FSH to serve high-risk, high-need adult male probationers with moderate to severe substance abuse disorders. Specific program components include: evidence-based interventions specifically designed to address criminogenic factors that are tied to recidivism; substance use disorder treatment; employment support through job placement, education, and training; support and case management to meet individual needs through benefits enrollment, health resources, and community engagement; and housing support. UCJC was selected as the Independent Evaluator on this $6.3 million six-year project, and will be conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) study to examine the program’s success improving criminal justice and employment outcomes.

Evaluation of the Salt Lake County Homelessness Pay for Success (PFS) Program: HNJ

Study completion: 2023
Contact Person: Rob Butters  or Christian Sarver

Pay for Success (PFS) is an innovative approach that leverages taxpayer risk by funding social service programs with private capital and ties payment for services to demonstrated outcomes through rigorous evaluation. Salt Lake County has spent the past year working with UCJC, The Road Home (TRH), and a variety of community stakeholders to develop a PFS project to address homelessness within the community. Despite spending $52 million in Salt Lake County annually on the homelessness service system, there are still large numbers of persistently homeless individuals in the County. The persistently homeless are defined as those individuals who have spent between 90 and 364 days over the previous year in emergency shelters, on the streets, or otherwise tracked as being homeless. These individuals spend long periods of time in emergency shelter and are commonly booked into jail for low-level crimes related to homelessness (e.g., public intoxication, trespassing). Analysis of this population demonstrates that the persistently homeless are at clear risk of remaining homeless without support and are a strain on public resources. Despite their poor outcomes, these individuals are highly unlikely to receive the currently available services for the homeless. To directly address this population and its unique issues, the County decided to utilize a Rapid Rehousing (RRH) approach to serve persistently homeless individuals through the Homes not Jail (HNJ) program. The HNJ program, developed by The Road Home (TRH), is based on the framework of the Housing First (HF) model, and was designed to move persistently homeless individuals out of the emergency shelter and into a stable housing placement. HNJ augments the RRH and HF models by incorporating a number of evidence-based practices and comprehensive wraparound services, such as intensive case management, behavioral health group services, and referral to employment services. UCJC was selected as the Independent Evaluator on this $5.7 million six-year project, and will be conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) study to examine the program’s success improving housing stability, criminal justice, and behavioral health outcomes.

Statewide Mental Health Court (MHC) Outcome Study

Study Launch: January 2017
Study completion: December 2017
Contact Person: Erin Worwood

This Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) funded study will compare participants from the six largest adult Mental Health Courts (MHCs) in Utah to a matched comparison group. Propensity score matching will be used to match MHC participant and comparison groups on a variety of demographic, mental health, and criminal history factors. Groups will be identified from mentally ill defendants who were adjudicated in traditional courts in the same judicial jurisdictions and timeframes but were not referred to MHC. During the first quarter of Phase II, UCJC researchers will meet with program staff from each of the sites to identify the best method of identifying an adequately sized and appropriate comparison sample. Between groups comparisons will be conducted to examine the impact of MHC participation on both recidivism (i.e., statewide arrests and convictions) and treatment engagement. At a minimum, treatment engagement will include mental health and substance use disorder treatment services received and program completion. Pending available data, additional measures of mental stability (e.g., OQ-45) could also be included. Samples will be selected to allow for the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) recommended two-year post-exit follow-up for both recidivism and treatment engagement outcomes.

PIMA Pay for Success (PFS) Demonstration Project

Anticipated Launch: January 2017
Anticipated completion: December 2017
Contact Person: Rob Butters

UCJC will be collaborating with The Sorenson Impact Center to assist the City of Tucson and Pima County, Arizona with the feasibility and development of a large-scale Pay for Success (PFS) project addressing homelessness and criminal justice. This $1.3 million grant was award as part of a joint initiative between the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Impact of the Statewide Implementation of the Response and Incentive Matrix (RIM) on Adult Probation and Parole (AP&P) Supervisees

Study completion: June 2017
Contact Person: Christian Sarver

The purpose of this project is to study the impact of the statewide implementation of the Response and Incentive Matrix (RIM) on Adult Probation and Parole (AP&P) supervisees. Work covered under this contract will include: statewide stakeholder survey, in-person trainings on survey results for each AP&P region, and interviews with AP&P supervisees from the Northern Region and Region 6.

Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Relative Rate Index (RRI) Analysis and Report

Study completion: ongoing
Contact Person: Kort Prince

The purpose of the contract is to conduct and report on the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Relative Rate Index (RRI) analyses for the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice (UBJJ). Data are collected, analyzed, and reported back to UBJJ on an annual basis.

A Randomized Study Comparing Batterer Intervention to an Alternative Treatment Approach for Domestic Violence Offenders

Expected Study Completion: Spring 2018
Contact Person: Erin Worwood

Utah law requires offenders to receive treatment following conviction of a domestic violence (DV) crime.  This study uses a randomized controlled design (RCT) to compare the effectiveness of a standard Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP) to Circles of Peace, a restorative justice approach. This study is being conducted in collaboration with New York University (NYU) in Salt Lake City, UT to determine which treatment approach is most effective in reducing violent behavior. Funding for this project is being provided through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

Drug Offender Reform Act (DORA) Evidence-Based Program Evaluation and Quality Improvement

Study completion: June 2017
Contact Person: Jessica Seawright

The original purpose of this project was to provide evidence-based program evaluation and technical assistance to contracted providers serving probationers under Utah’s Drug Offender Reform Act (DORA) in Salt Lake County, Utah County, Weber County, Davis County, Cache County, Tooele County, Carbon/Emery Counties, and Iron/Washington Counties. In June 2016, the contract was amended to extend the program evaluations and technical assistance to five additional Local Substance Abuse Authority (LSAA) sites, including: Summit County, Wasatch County, Northeastern, Central, and San Juan County.

Domestic Violence Treatment Literature Review

Study completion: March 2017
Contact Person: Jessica Seawright

The purpose of this project is to conduct a thorough review of the literature on effective domestic violence offender treatment programs as well as a review of state and federal laws pertaining to domestic violence treatment in Utah. As the conclusion of the study UCJC will provide a report summarizing the findings and providing recommendations within the context of the state and federal laws.

Evaluation of the Housing Support and Stability Project (HSSP)

Study completion: Fall 2017
Contact Person: Christian Sarver

This project is part of a three-year, $1.3 million Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant to develop and evaluate the Housing Support and Stability Project (HSSP). This program was designed by The Road Home (TRH) to improve housing and behavioral health outcomes for persons who have been chronically homeless and have substance use disorders and who may also have mental health disorders. Project staff will address existing gaps in services by providing substance abuse and mental health treatment to participants in TRH chronic homeless programs who have a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and are, therefore, ineligible for Medicaid. Without Medicaid, these individuals have limited access to behavioral health treatment, even when living in permanent supportive housing (where they receive ongoing case management). HSSP aims to address this gap in services by providing treatment to residents living in permanent supportive housing placements who have been denied Medicaid, whose Medicaid spend down is prohibitive to enrollment, or whose mental health symptomology is itself a barrier to Medicaid enrollment. With access to such treatment, HSSP clients would be expected to demonstrate increased housing stability, increased access to mental health treatment, and increased quality of life. The HSSP evaluation will track client characteristics, interventions, and outcomes.

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