Building a Program

Building a Program

Wisconsin Model

Before building any correctional based program a wide range of decision points need careful consideration.  In Wisconsin, the direction to build our program came from the state Legislature in the form of a budget appropriation in July 2015.  The general criteria were as follows:

  • The program must use Naltrexone (Vivitrol)
  • Budget not to exceed $836,700 annually ($1.6 million for the biennium)
  • Must be overseen by the WI DOC
  • Must receive approval from the Legislature of program concept prior to implementation for implementing an opioid treatment program within the correctional system

The above points do answer some important questions in the process of building a correctional program.  But for those of you who have built programs before, you know that there are many more decision points before implementation.

It took WI DOC almost a year to research, design, and implement our program.  Our program continues to evolve as we learn more, as more agencies gain experience in programming, and as we gain more experience in our program.

In the end, we choose a model which assisted three populations:

  • Inmates releasing from our state correctional facilities
  • Jail inmates releasing to state community supervision
  • Offenders sentenced to state community supervision by our county court system

We are able to target all three populations given the overall structure of our state criminal justice system.  Wisconsin has a state run system with entry points beginning with county court systems.  In May of 2016, we accepted our first participant and the Wisconsin model was successfully implemented.

Building a Program

In order to share our experience with others, we developed this toolkit in hopes it will help others build their programs.  We realize each state, county, nonprofit agency has different goals and objectives for their programs, but these are some topics to consider when building any program:

  • Program design – program focus, short and long term goals, objectives
  • Logic models
  • Secure setting vs community based
  • Capacity for services – internal and external
  • How many can be served
  • Risk, Needs, Responsivity
  • Content – what services need to be incorporated to ensure success
  • What medication(s)
  • Length of treatment
  • Training – staff, participants and their families
  • Costs, location, amount
  • Education – staff and participants
  • Medical and program structure
  • Policy writing and approval
  • Who will author
  • Length of approval time
  • Who will be impacted
  • Data collection – what will be collected and how
  • Does data support short and long term objectives – who will analyze
  • Who will program information and data be shared with