Evaluating Assisted Outpatient Treatment in New York

Nev Jones, Ph.D., Bevin Croft, Ph.D., Becky Brasfield, CRSS

Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is a legal mechanism that authorizes the (civil) judicial system to mandate treatment for individuals diagnosed with severe mental health conditions whose behavior is alleged to put them or the community at risk for harm. Since AOT’s inception, AOT has been debated for its potential violation of civil rights, disproportionate use among Black service users, and coercive and carceral nature. While there is a robust and critical international literature on AOT (internationally referred to as Compulsory Treatment Orders / CTOs) there is limited research on AOT’s effectiveness and impacts at the person and system levels in the US. Moreover, there is a dearth in understanding of the implementation context for AOT (implementation of AOT itself as well as external factors that impact the use of AOT). This workshop will describe current AOT research evidence and introduce the audience to the presenters’ current evaluation of New York’s AOT program. The evaluation will examine implementation and effectiveness of AOT using participatory approaches with an emphasis on lived experience integration, socio-structural equity, and human rights.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify gaps in the US AOT literature and how this compares to CTO research internationally
  • Articulate AOT specific research design challenges
  • Explain potential mechanisms by which AOT may positively or negatively impact people, including indirect mechanisms such as prioritized housing access