Treatment Readiness

Preparing for change at the Multnomah County Inverness Jail

At the Treatment Readiness program, we seek to engage and motivate individuals to increase their readiness to participate in treatment upon release. With a 78-bed dorm located within the Inverness Jail (MCIJ), we utilize evidenced based practices and curriculum designed to engage people and create relationships before release to reduce their risk to re-offend. VOA Oregon staff partners with the Multnomah County Sherriff’s Office, Department of Community Justice and Corrections Health to coordinate interventions and placement.

Treatment Readiness is a part of the Multnomah County Justice Reinvestment Program (MCJRP) presenting individuals who have been arrested with a unique opportunity to positively shift the direction of their lives. Instead of serving years in prison, some people may qualify and opt for sentencing in the Justice Reinvestment Program (JRP), a second chance to stay in our community. Once released, a comprehensive menu of housing, mentors, employment, family, and outpatient and residential treatment services are provided alongside parole and probation supervision. Surrounding people with healthy connections promotes better decision-making, resulting in drug-free and crime-free lives.

Prior to the Treatment Readiness program, a significant portion of MCJRP clients were not engaging in services when they were released from jail resulting in people being sent to prison instead of receiving community-based treatment. After a series of listening circles with community stakeholders, the MCJRP Steering Committee funded pre-release programming and the Sherriff’s Office dedicated an entire dorm at the Multnomah County Inverness Jail to MCJRP-eligible individuals. By removing individuals from the county jail’s general population, they are given an opportunity to explore how to change their criminal behaviors and find recovery from addiction with other likeminded individuals in a more therapeutic environment.

Treatment Readiness is the first step to help individuals transition from addiction and life on the street into someone ready to change their lives. The program seeks to stabilize and prepare MCJRP-eligible individuals to increase their readiness to engage in treatment and other services upon release.

“Treatment in a County Jail is so unusual. Most therapeutic work in correctional facilities happens in state or federal prisons where individuals serve lengthy sentences and have time for the hard work of cognitive change. In contrast, people cycle through (Multnomah) County Jails after an average of only 12 days. Providing a significant amount of treatment at a county jail is largely unchartered territory, and no formal evaluation has ever been published.”

This success is why Multnomah County’s Department of Community Justice’s Research & Planning (RAP) Unit received funding to conduct a formal evaluation of the Treatment Readiness program. The outcomes are definitive that this intervention has profound impact on individuals directly correlated to VOA Oregon’s intervention.


  • Conducted by Multnomah County’s Department of Community Justice’s Research and Planning Unit.
  • 18-month period:  January 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 with a sample size of 529 unique individuals.
  • 529 participants received 20,501 treatment sessions (60-90 mins) specific to the treatment readiness dorm programming during the 18-month observation period.
  • Approximately 29,600 hours of readiness for change and substance abuse treatment services.
  • Recognition and Taking Steps scales increased significantly from intake to exit for both Alcohol and Drugs (p≤.05)
  • Retention in community-based treatment was significantly longer for clients who had a longer Length of Stay (p≤.05)
  • Receiving a sanction was significantly less likely for clients who had a longer Length of Stay (p≤.01)
  • Absconding from probation supervision was significantly less likely for clients with longer Length of Stay (p≤.001)
  • Probation revocation was significantly less likely (p≤.05) and successful for longer (revoked later) when had longer Length of Stay (p≤.05) 

The outcomes are definitive that this intervention has profound impact on individuals directly correlated to VOA Oregon’s intervention.


The curriculum has participants split in to four cohorts where they engage in American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) assessment, treatment planning, weekly group therapy, and counselor led group activities.

Additional Activities

  • Exercise
  • Self-help groups
  • Mindfulness practice
  • Meditation
  • Writing
  • Art Therapy
  • Stress Management skill building
  • 12-step program work

Curriculum Groups

These groups are designed to motivate participants for treatment post-release.

This is a process group that uses Motivational Enhancement Therapy to help eliminate barriers to treatment, support motivation to change, build trust with staff and cohort, and increase understanding of program rules and expectations in the unit. It presents a preview of skills they will learn, pre-contemplation exercises, and general information about how treatment works which helps to reduce anxiety and become familiar with the process.

An excellent beginning therapy for those entering the Treatment Readiness unit. The key components of the DBT curriculum include mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance. The skills taught in this curriculum are helpful for this population as incarceration combined with post-detox can be a highly stressful and emotional time for most clients.

We use motivational interviewing to help clients move through the stages of change by building skills for acknowledging a problem, deciding to act, developing and executing a plan, and accomplishing other critical tasks. This is a Cognitive Behavioral Treatment curriculum specifically designed to meet the needs of clients who may be pre-contemplative and unsure if they have a substance abuse problem. (17 structured sessions)

The Matrix Model has been specifically adapted to meet the unique needs of law-involved clients and includes a focus on criminal thinking, re-entry, and adjustment issues.

  • Relapse Prevention A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Combined with drug and alcohol education to help clients maintain abstinence, gain a prosocial lifestyle, and offer guidance on handling triggers and cravings. (46 sessions)
  • Skill Building: Skills training and practice is essential for substance-abusing offenders. Counselor or mentor led pre-release, cognitive behavioral skill building curriculum including goal setting, problem-solving, scheduling, identifying strengths and resources, expectations of others (Parole Officers, family, peers, counselors, and mentors), communication, identifying criminal behaviors, and an introduction to outside support groups. (23 sessions)

Contact Outpatient Services:

Brad Osborn at

Dedicated to helping those most vulnerable, the abused and those in need of a second chance.