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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
February 2009
In 1999, legislation was passed to better identify and provide additional mental health treatment for mentally ill offenders who were released from prison, who pose a threat to public safety, and agree to participate in the program. A “Dangerous Mentally Ill Offender” (DMIO) is defined by the legislation as a person with a mental disorder who has been determined to be dangerous to self or others.

As part of its legislative mandate, the Institute has published a series of reports that evaluate the DMIO program. Reports published in 2005, 2007, and 2008 demonstrated that the DMIO program significantly reduced felony recidivism, and this 2009 follow-up report finds that reductions in felony recidivism were sustained at the 4-year mark. The benefit-cost analysis in this report indicates that the reductions in DMIO recidivism generated greater financial benefits than program costs—a ratio of approximately $1.64 in benefits for every public dollar spent.
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