Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sarah Nielsen


Prisoners; Social Adjustment; Socialization


A co-occurring disorder (COD) is the coexistence of a substance use disorder and mental health disorder (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016). The prevalence of inmates with COD in correctional facilities is disproportionately high (Grant, Stinson, & Dawson, 2004). Despite the high incidence, correctional facilities are not equipped to meet the complex needs of individuals with COD, which often leads these individuals to re-offending or re-incarceration (Sacks, Chaple, Sacks, McKendrick, & Cleland, 2012). The role of occupational therapy in this area of practice is not clearly distinguished. However, occupational therapy’s holistic, client-centered, and occupation-based principles position the profession appropriately to address the needs of individuals with COD in the forensic setting.

Therefore, the purpose of this project was to develop a product that would demonstrate the role of occupational therapy in forensic settings with a focus on addressing the needs of individuals with COD. Occupational Therapy’s Role in Community Reintegration: Continuum of Treatment for Individuals with Co-occurring Disorders from Incarceration to Community can be used by occupational therapy practitioners to develop programming, guide intervention, or educate non-occupational therapy professionals on the role of occupational therapy in this setting.

A primary limitation of the project is that the feasibility of the product’s implementation is unknown due to the variability of resources at correctional facilities. The generality of the manual may be an additional limitation of the product, as it may be difficult for occupational therapy practitioners to apply it to a specific correctional institution. It is recommended that research is conducted to understand implementation of the product order to determine its effectiveness.