Institution opened in 1955 with the mission to ensure public safety through the psychotherapeutic treatment of individuals who demonstrated persistent antisocial and criminal behavior. The mission has evolved over the years, but the one constant has been Patuxent's role as a hub for treatment services for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Current programming includes the following:
- The Legislatively-Mandated Programs: Eligible Person (EP) and Patuxent Youth (PY)
- Correctional Mental Health Center - Jessup (CMHC-J)
- Mental Health Step-Down Unit
- Mental Health Transition Unit
The Legislatively-Mandated Programs: Eligible Person (EP) and Patuxent Youth (PY)
The legislatively-mandated Eligible Person (EP) Program was established at Patuxent in 1977. To qualify for services, an incarcerated person must have at least three years remaining on his/her sentence, have an intellectual/emotional impairment, and be likely to respond to the treatment services offered.
In 1994, the legislature turned to Patuxent to help address the problem of the youthful adult criminal offender. The Patuxent Youth (PY) Program was subsequently established for those who are under 21 years of age and have at least three years of time left to serve at sentencing. This program otherwise mirrors the EP Program with regard to eligibility criteria. However, unlike the EP Program, the PY Program is not voluntary. If a judge recommends an individual for the program, and if the person is accepted after assessment, he/she then remains in the program until discharged or released.
Patuxent is staffed by experienced clinicians and custodial personnel who are able to collaborate in the delivery of evidence-based, therapeutic services to incarcerated persons. The institution's psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, other civilian employees, and custodial staff work closely with each other to provide treatment services in a seamless manner.
Treatment primarily occurs in the context of therapy groups which are cognitive-behavioral in orientation. Groups address such issues as criminogenic thinking and behavior, emotional regulation, mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, victim awareness, traumatic experiences, and addiction. However, every incarcerated person does not participate in the same curriculum. Instead, each receives an individualized treatment plan based on a formal assessment of history, risk level, and needs. The EP and PY Programs are not time limited, and the length of time to completion may vary based upon a person's specific needs and circumstances.
As part of the individualized treatment, each offender is expected to hold an institutional job and participate in an educational or vocational program. Offenders may also participate in activities such as self-help groups, religious services, exercise programs, and artistic endeavors.
As part of the individualized treatment that each person receives, he/she is expected hold an institutional job or participate in an educational or vocational program. Activities such as self-help groups, religious services, exercise programs, and artistic endeavors are also available.
As an incarcerated person progresses through the EP or PY Program, he/she is rewarded with promotion to higher levels of privilege and responsibility. A person who has made sufficient progress and is eligible based on time served may be considered for conditional release through the program. This occurs via progression through accompanied day leaves, work release, and community parole. Alternatively, a person who has made sufficient clinical progress but is not a candidate for conditional release can be issued a "Certificate of Completion" and discharged by Patuxent's Institutional Board of Review (IBOR).
The granting of accompanied day leaves, work release, and community parole are functions of Patuxent's IBOR, as the Maryland Parole Commission does not have jurisdiction over individuals in the EP and PY programs. The IBOR is comprised of nine members. Four are Patuxent staff (i.e., the Director, the Warden, the Associate Director of Behavioral Sciences, and the Associate Director of Psychiatry). The remaining five are community members, one of whom is from a victims' rights organization. The IBOR recognizes that the treatment of incarcerated persons is a primary mission of the institution. However, length of sentences cannot be disregarded in determining the appropriate point for release. As such, the IBOR's philosophy is to defer the parole of violent offenders in the programs until at least 50% of the sentence has been served.
Patuxent maintains a very strong position on victim rights and endeavors to notify victims of any IBOR appearance by an incarcerated person that might result in release. In such circumstances, the victim is invited to present any information relevant to the Board's decision to the IBOR.
Correctional Mental Health Center - Jessup (CMHC-J)
The Correctional Mental Health Center - Jessup (CMHC-J) was established at Patuxent as a centralized, licensed, mental health infirmary for incarcerated men with acute mental health issues. The aim is to stabilize the individual for return to a maintaining facility in either general population or a special needs area. Regular services include treatment planning, crisis management, group psychotherapy, discharge planning, and recreational activities overseen by an occupational therapist. Psychological assessment and individual psychotherapy are provided on an as-needed basis.
Mental Health Step-Down Unit
The Mental Health Step-Down Unit provides services to incarcerated men with special mental health needs who are at risk for decompensation in a traditional housing environment, but who do not need the intensity of care offered within the Correctional Mental Health Center - Jessup (CMHC-J). Clinical services focus on skills such as medication compliance, personal hygiene maintenance, and social skills training that are necessary for an individual to more effectively function in general population.
Mental Health Transition Unit
The Mental Health Transition Unit is designed for incarcerated men with special mental health needs who are within 12-18 months of release from custody. This program works closely with community-based mental health providers and supervision staff to increase the likelihood of successful aftercare. Clinical services focus primarily on discharge planning that targets housing issues, program placement, and community supervision upon release.