The Dangerous Mentally Ill Offender Program

The Dangerous Mentally Ill Offender Program: Four-year Felony Recidivism and Cost Effectiveness


Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Washington State’s Dangerous Mentally Ill Offender (DMIO) program, established by the 1999 Legislature, identifies mentally ill prisoners who pose a threat to public safety and provides them opportunities to receive mental health treatment and other services up to five years after their release from prison. This analysis of 172 DMIO participants four years after release from prison indicates that the program:

Reduces overall new felony recidivism rates 42 percent; and

Reduces new violent felony recidivism 36 percent.

Using methods developed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Institute) for previous crime studies, the felony recidivism outcomes were used to estimate the total economic impact of the program for both taxpayers and victims of crime. The state spends $33,866 (in 2007 dollars) per DMIO participant over four years. For taxpayers and victims, the DMIO program generates:

$55,463 in benefits per participant.

$1.64 for every dollar spent.

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