Understanding factors that impact responsivity within case management plans of community-based offenders with and without mental health needs

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University of New Brunswick


Many factors influence an offender’s ability to respond to community intervention, such as the severity of mental health issues, motivation to change, quality of the case manager-offender alliance, and level of compliance/adherence to case management plans. Consistent with the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model (Andrews, Bonta, & Hoge, 1990), case plans should address factors that maximize treatment responsivity and positive outcomes. However, very little is known about the responsivity factors that influence community-based case plan compliance among offenders with and without mental health problems. Examining these mental health factors is essential given the overrepresentation of mental health disorders in the Canadian Criminal Justice System (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2012). This dissertation assessed the case management plans of adult community-supervised offenders (N=111) to identify responsivity factors (i.e., offender-case management relationship, motivation and/or therapeutic engagement, severity of mental health symptoms, and presence of psychopathic traits) that best predict dimensions of case plan compliance (i.e., lack of adherence to structure aspects of supervision as well as lack of engagement within the intervention process). Results showed that these responsivity factors partially mediated the hypothesized relationship between criminological predictors and case plan compliance, and therefore would be important targets for pre-intervention programming. Unfortunately, few conclusions can be drawn regarding whether case plan compliance fluctuates with varying levels of adherence to the principles of the RNR model because of insufficient information available to code adherence in case records. Collectively, this research provides insight into the development of more effective strategies for enhancing responsivity among offenders supervised in the community, especially for those suffering from mental health difficulties.