CIT: Fewer 'behavior Interventions'
Published: August 20th, 2009
By: Melissa deCordova

NORWICH – The board of community members who regularly inspect the Valley Ridge Center For Intensive Treatment learned Wednesday that behavior management interventions are down and more inmates, called consumers, are being successfully discharged into lower level treatment facilities across the state.

Valley Ridge CIT on Upper Ravine Road in the Town of Norwich is home to 60, 18-35 year-old, mentally disabled individuals who have developmental disabilities and require intensive treatment services due to their offending or criminal behaviors. Operations Director Fred Barnes reported that a total of 14 had been transitioned out of Chenango County last year.

“We had three or four at best in previous years,” he said.

Barnes chalked up Valley Ridge’s success to a new relapse prevention program that encourages consumers to become more involved in their treatment. Among other tactics, the program calls for peer mentoring and payments to consumers for attending life and work skills classes.

“Most of the relapse prevention is for motivating and building a readiness for consumers to engage in their own treatment,” said Barnes, who was promoted from principal psychologist to operations director last year.

Barnes said there were fewer false allegations of employee misconduct as well.

At least one consumer, however, recently assaulted an employee who, after an intervention attempt, landed in surgery for a back injury. The consumer is known for “low frequency” but “high intensity” negative behavior, said Barnes.

The higher number of discharges don’t translate into openings at the facility. All spots are quickly taken up by consumers in need of Valley Ridge’s level of care. There is a waiting list.

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