In some instances, UST individuals who are unable to be restored to legal fitness, NGRI individuals who have made significant clinical progress or other individuals who have had legal barriers removed may be eligible for continued treatment in minimum security or non-secure settings. The Forensic Step-Down Unit Program is designed to assist these individuals in making successful transition back to the community.
Multidisciplinary teams from the secure Forensic Unit and the Forensic Step-Down Unit work in coordination to ensure that risk has been reduced to the point that individuals may safely transfer and proceed to the next phase of treatment. Although the Forensic Step-Down Unit is similar to a civil unit, it still operates with a high level of structure and 24-hour supervision. Individuals are assessed daily as they progress through a graduated system of increased privileges towards greater independence.
Individuals on the Forensic Step-Down Unit are involved in the same essential treatment programs as the Forensic Unit but have greater access to facility grounds, vocational opportunities and supervised community involvement. Once behavioral and psychiatric stabilization is achieved, the focus is on identifying specialized community placement alternatives and support services. Coordination with the Criminal Court, with corresponding conditional discharge orders, is required in some cases depending on legal status.
This continuity of care model has proven to be highly successful with DD/ID Forensic individuals with resulting low re-offending, readmission and recidivism rates.