DSH - Coalinga: Treatment

The Department of State Hospitals provides, evaluates and continually improves its "Sex Offender Treatment Program". This multi-module treatment program is designed strengthen an individual’s self-regulation skills and to prepare him for a better life, free of sexual offending. The fundamental goal of the program is for the individual to acquire pro-social skills, reducing their risk of re-offending. Treatment components include:

  • Cognitive behavioral and relapse prevention training
  • Behavioral reconditioning and pharmacological treatments
  • Polygraph examination and plethysmography
  • Substance abuse treatment, vocational training, and cultivation of prosocial behaviors and constructive use of leisure time
  • Close community treatment and surveillance upon discharge

Participants may be released to the community from which they came, when and only when, the Superior Court is convinced they no longer pose a threat to society.

Modules of Treatment Program

The treatment program is structured into four Modules:

  1. Treatment Readiness

    • Facilitates the participants’ transition from the prison culture to the treatment environment.
    • Prepares participants to take an active role in their therapy.
    • Uses didactive methods to educate participants on such topics as hospital attitudes, interpersonal skills, anger management, mental disorders, victim awareness, cognitive distortions, and relapse prevention
  2. Self-Regulation: Building a Better Life

    • Shifts participants’ focus from education and preparation to personal therapy.
    • Teaches coping strategies, behavioral skills, prosocial thinking, and emotional awareness, to increase self-control.
    • Requires that the participants:
      • Acknowledge and discuss past sexual offenses;
      • Express a desire to reduce their risk of re-offending;
      • Agree to participate in required assessment procedures;
      • Be willing and able to conduct themselves appropriately in a group setting.
  3. Treatment Integration and Community Preparation

    • Integrates the skills participants learned during Phase II into their daily lives.
    • Broadens and deepens their skills in relapse prevention, coping with cognitive distortions, and developing victim awareness.
    • Causes participants to examine their daily experience in unit life and to practice their behavioral interventions through extensive use of journals and logs.
    • Requires that participants:
      • Accept responsibility for past sexual offenses;
      • Articulate a commitment to abstinence, that is reflected in current behavior;
      • Understand the trauma resulting from their sexual crimes;
      • Are able to correct deviant thoughts;
      • Demonstrate ability to manage deviant sexual urges and impulses;
      • Show good ability to cope with high risk factors for re-offending;
      • Cooperate with institutional supervision;
      • Display skills necessary for self-regulation;
      • Demonstrate ability to maintain appropriate relations with female staff;
      • Display skills necessary to avoid emotional identification with children.
  4. Community Reintegration

    • Develops a detailed Community Safety Plan developed in conjunction with the offender's assigned Conditional Release Program (CONREP).
    • Involvement of family members and significant others in the relapse prevention plan.
    • Focuses on how the skills in relapse prevention, managing cognitive distortions, victim empathy, and coping strategies will generalize and transfer to the community setting.
    • Treatment teams must determine that participants:
      • Can fully describe the negative impact of abuse on their victims;
      • Acknowledge and accept past sexual offenses;
      • Articulate commitment to abstinence;
      • Correct all cognitive distortions;
      • Able to control deviant sexual urges and interests;
      • Can describe a complete range of prospective high-risk factors and internal warning signs;
      • Cope with risky situations and thinks in ways that reduce his likelihood for re-offending in their daily lives;
      • Follow rule and comply with requirements of supervision;
      • Display no inappropriate impulsivity or inappropriate emotions;
      • Relate well with women and able to avoid emotional identification with children;
      • Conditional Release Program in the county of commitment is willing to accept participant into outpatient treatment and supervision.
  5. Community Outpatient Treatment under CONREP

    • IS administered by Liberty Healthcare in the offenders’ county of commitment.
    • California Superior Court approves and orders placement into this final phase of treatment.
    • Transfers the site of ongoing treatment from CSH to the community setting.
    • Provides intensive on-going supervision and monitoring to facilitate early detection of relapse and ensure community safety.

Treatment Protocol

California law requires that the Department of State Hospitals develop a structured treatment protocol to assess the participants’ treatment progress and to ensure protection of the public. Key elements include:

  • The Director of the DSH submits a recommendation to the court for a person’s release, only when the professional staff is convinced that the person will no longer commit acts of violence.
  • The program is designed to treat and confine persons only as long as their disorders continue to present a danger to the health and safety of others.
  • Basic medical needs are provided within the treatment facility. If a medical specialist is needed or the medical condition requires hospitalization, this will be provided for by local community resources.
  • At all times, staff members and correctional officers accompany any person receiving medical services outside of the treatment facility.
  • The state hospital's visiting policies include specific visiting hours, visitor screening requirements, and a safe, well-monitored environment.