198268 Expect the unexpected: The challenges implementing and maintaining random assignment in the Frequent Users of Jail and Mental Health Services Program - Chicago

Monday, November 9, 2009: 8:50 AM

Caterina Roman, PhD , Department of Criminal Justice, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Jocelyn Fontaine, PhD , Justice Policy Center, The Urban Institute, Washington, DC
Jacquelyn Anderson , Corporation for Supportive Housing, Oakland, CA
Doris Weiland, MA , Department of Criminal Justice, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
In Chicago, the Evaluation of Frequent Users of Jail and Mental Health Services program focuses on individuals with a serious mental illness who move between homeless shelters and jails. As a new project, the first year of the evaluation was spent developing a strict human subjects protocol that would need to pass four Institutional Review Boards (IRB). After numerous IRB hurdles specifically related to the random assignment design, the research met a new set of experimental challenges amidst a declining economy and a variety of provider needs. In addition, enrollment was slow; competing jail programs began to siphon potential research clients. This presentation will focus on the numerous lessons learned by the research team during the first two years of the experimental study. The challenges in implementing an experimental design amidst an ever- changing landscape of corrections and supportive services will be described.

Learning Objectives:
1) Explain the purpose of the FUSE initiative (2) Identify key issues in maintaining random assignment in an unpredictable program. (3) Discuss the process for ensuring integrity of random assignment with vulnerable populations.

Keywords: Homelessness, Jails and Prisons

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on the grant.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.