MDC - Report Reviewing Sex Offender Treatment Program :
In mid-2013, DRM learned that a man who had been found "guilty but developmentally disabled" and sent to Montana Developmental Center (MDC) to serve his sentence was transferred to the Montana State Prison. Although the law permits this transfer to occur, we were very concerned this decision was made. The sentencing court had the benefit of two expert assessments confirming the man’s developmental disability and need to be served at MDC. He was assessed as a Tier 1 sex offender, which means that he was at the lowest risk to re-offend.
Because he was convicted of a sex offense, he was required to participate in the MDC sexual offender treatment program. When he was transferred to the Montana State Prison, MDC believed that he would be placed in a "special needs" sex offender treatment group. This peaked our curiosity, as we had assumed that MDC had a "special needs" sex offender treatment program, which should have been able to serve him as well.
DRM contracted with Dr. Robert Page, the president of the Montana Sex Offender Treatment Association to review and assess MDC’s program. He did so, and produced a report in December 2013, which made eight recommendations for improvement of the program.
Dr. Page found the MDC program to use acceptable methods of interventions, and that it incorporated all necessary areas of focus and education for effective treatment. He found that the primary therapist had excellent experience and credentials and developed a great deal of respect and trust among the clients in the program. He found that there was a positive group dynamic among participants and that the MDC administration was supportive and open to recommendations for improvement.
However, unfortunately, Dr. Page also found that MDC did not make sufficient individual cognitive assessments of the participants. He located IQ testing information with a scaled score profile for only one client. Three files had no mention of IQ testing at all. This is problematic as it wouldn’t allow one to tell "whether or not the reading and comprehension levels [of the program material] are commensurate with the abilities of each client." As a "known accommodation trait among some ID individuals includes acquiescence" any sex offender program must recognize this as a behavior and not allow it to be the basis to pass "the person through any given assignment without it being effective."
Dr. Page found that some participants had been graduated to higher levels than they understood cognitively. He also found that personality, clinical, and psychophysiological testing was lacking.
Dr. Page’s recommendations included full scale IQ testing for each individual client, as well as various other testing early in the process. He also recommended modifications of assignments for participants, and the use of more dynamic behavioral tactics in group therapy.He also recommended a formal method of measuring therapeutic outcomes.