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Specialized probation caseloads

Probation officers are assigned smaller caseloads dedicated exclusively to people with mental illnesses in order to better monitor their supervisees’ treatment progress.

For more information on this intervention, see this resource:
Local Examples

San Joaquin County, CA San Joaquin County Probation Department

  • The designated probation officer works exclusively with moderate- to high-risk adults that are serving a minimum 90-day sentence, will be on probation upon release, and have co-occurring substance addiction and mental illness.
  • The probation officer works with participants to develop their reentry plans before their release.
  • The probation officer receives training in behavioral health, motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral interventions, and trauma-informed care.
For more information on this example, see this resource:

Durham County, NC Carolina Department of Public Safety, Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • This specialized supervision approach for people with mental illnesses on probation is designed to improve mental health and criminal justice outcomes.
  • Mental health caseloads are characterized by (a) a caseload exclusively comprising people with mental illnesses; (b) a reduced caseload; (c) a problem-solving supervision orientation; (d) ongoing training and supervision; and (e) greater connection to community-based service providers.

Multnomah County, OR

  • The Multnomah County Department of Community Justice (DCJ) serves people who are diagnosed with a psychotic or bipolar 1 disorder on the department’s mental health caseloads. The Mental Health Unit has nine parole/probation officers, with two assigned to the local mental health court.
  • Following the Risk, Need, Responsivity (RNR) framework, officer training focuses on symptoms of behavioral health needs, criminogenic factors, and delivering cognitive interventions in a manner that is responsive to the needs of the individual.
  • Officers engage in regular coordination with the embedded clinical team.



3 - Increase connection to treatment
4 - Reduce recidivism

Last updated: August 28, 2023