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Penn Foundation’s FACT Program Reduces Incarceration Rates, Saving PA Over $270,000 Annually

A recent study shows that Penn Foundation’s FACT (Forensic Assertive Community Treatment) program significantly reduces incarceration rates, saving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania more than $270,000 annually.

The 2011 Outcomes Report indicates an 82% decrease in the number of days study participants spent in jail after receiving services from Penn Foundation’s FACT team. Prior to admission, the typical forensic client spent an average of 187 days (6 months) in Bucks County prisons. After one year in the FACT program, that same client spent just 34 days (1 month) incarcerated.

The combined cost of incarceration in a Bucks County Correctional Facility for study participants prior to receiving FACT services was $334,305. The next year, after participation in the FACT program, the combined cost was $61,540, a savings to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania of $272,765.

The Outcomes Report also noted that 85% of study participants showed a decrease in their psychiatric symptoms, 62% made positive strides in their recovery from substance use, and all of the study participants reported an improved quality of life.


The ACT Model

Penn Foundation formed its specialized Forensics ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) team in 2008 after a Bucks County Behavioral Health Needs Assessment showed a high rate of recidivism to jail for individuals with an identified mental illness,

ACT is a person-centered approach to care that aims to lessen or eliminate symptoms of mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders (mental illness and substance abuse); minimize or prevent recurrent episodes of illness; enhance an individual’s ability to live independently within his or her own community; and lessen the family’s burden of providing care.

It is unique in that it blends the disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, nursing, addictions, social work, and psychosocial rehabilitation, offering a multidisciplinary team of professionals that works together to provide highly individualized treatment, rehabilitation, and support services in individuals’ homes and communities. Unlike the traditional system of care, ACT allows consumers to receive all aspects of their treatment in one place from one team of providers.

A Forensics ACT team takes this approach one step further by also including a Forensics Specialist whose primary role is to advocate for consumers as they move through the criminal justice system. The Forensics Specialist also serves as the team’s liaison with the judicial system (i.e. police, county corrections, probation and parole officers, etc.)

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