News for Immediate Release
Dec. 23, 2013
Department of Corrections Awards
Mental Health Services Contract
Performance-Based Incentives and Sanctions
Harrisburg – MHM Services has been selected to provide mental health services to
inmates in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Under the $91 million, five-year contract,
MHM will continue to deliver psychiatric services for DOC inmates. Psychology services will be provided utilizing
DOC staff; the same delivery method that was in place previously.
the direction of Gov. Corbett, the new contract, among the first of its kind in
United States corrections, comes with performance-based incentives and
longer are we issuing contracts for just a service,’’ Corrections Secretary
John Wetzel said today. “From this point on, our contracts will focus on
results. The new contract includes
performance measures that will ensure taxpayers are getting what they pay for,
including inmates who leave our system better than when they entered it.’’
Virginia-based company held the previous contract, which expired on Nov. 30,
2013. MHM Services was selected again following the state’s competitive
natural end of the previous contract presented the opportunity to update its
language with performance-based measures,’’ Wetzel said.
part of this contract, MHM Services will receive financial incentives to:
● Reduce the number of misconducts for
mentally ill offenders;
● Reduce the number of inmates recommitted to
prison mental health units;
● Lower the number of recommitments to prison
residential treatment units.
Services will also face sanctions for failure to achieve baseline results with
regard to the areas identified above. Additionally,
MHM Services will be required to monitor and maintain or exceed an established
baseline medication compliance rate.
The Association of State
Correctional Administrators in 2011 surveyed corrections departments about
their use of performance incentives. Out
of 35 departments that responded to the survey, just three reported offering
“incentives for positive contract performance” in any of their contracts.
contracting is an innovative and potentially powerful strategy to improve
results in states and counties across the country,” said Adam Gelb, director of
the Public Safety Performance Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts, which helped
develop the performance incentives.
provide a significant amount of the substance abuse and mental health
treatment, as well as other programs intended to reduce recidivism.
“By creating direct
financial rewards for better outcomes, Pennsylvania is encouraging these
providers to use evidence-based practices that will boost public safety and ultimately
cut costs to taxpayers,” Gelb said.
percent of Pennsylvania state prison inmates receive mental health services,
which equates to more than 10,000 individuals.
addition to the performance-based measures contained in the new mental health services
contract, the DOC has implemented other specific changes to the prison’s mental
health system over the past several years, including:
Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) to more than 300 employees who have
day-to-day contact with inmates, with a goal of having all staff trained.
Pennsylvania DOC officials have taken the CIT concept developed for police
departments and incorporated it into a correctional setting. This 32-hour
training helps staff to deescalate situations involving mentally ill offenders.
The DOC also has offered this training to county prisons in Pennsylvania.
approximately 260 inmates as certified peer specialists. Through specialized,
certified training, these inmates will be qualified for certain civil service
jobs once released from prison.
are providing more out-of-cell structured programs and activities for mentally ill
offenders who are housed in the system’s secure residential treatment units.
● The DOC is
partnering with the VERA Institute of Justice to review how segregated housing is
utilized throughout Pennsylvania’s system. VERA and DOC officials will analyze the
number of inmates in segregation in conjunction with DOC policies and practices
to identify any potential enhancements that might benefit the system.
also are continuing efforts to update the DOC’s mental health policy bolstering
the identification of seriously mentally ill inmates when they first enter the state
prison system. Those inmates in need of services will be placed on a separate
track and receive appropriate services throughout their incarceration.
“We are a big
system, and we have to move deliberately as we make changes, in order for those
changes to be safe and become part of the culture,” Wetzel said.
Media contact: Susan McNaughton, 717-728-4025