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Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision (SSAS)

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Nebraska Probation System Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision

Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision (SSAS) was created in response to prison overcrowding experienced in Nebraska specifically in the 2000’s. Drawn from evidence-based practices, SSAS is a sentencing alternative that combines intensive supervision with substance abuse treatment as a means of crime control. Highly trained officers work with a select drug offender population who are also identified as having anti-social, pro-criminal tendencies. 

The target population for the program is felony drug offenders with substance abuse problems; and probation has developed risk assessment tools to identify appropriate candidates. Founded on evidence-based principles shown to reduce recidivism by targeting the treatment needs of the offender, the program combines substance abuse treatment in the community with intensive case management by specially trained probation officers.

Goals of the SSAS Program are to:

  • Lower Levels of Recidivism and Relapse
  • Improve Education and Enhance Employability
  • Facilitate Reintegration into the Community 

Each offender’s needs are individually assessed so the treatment, including length of time spent in treatment, may be customized. This flexibility creates the most efficient and effective means to assist the offender to recover, maintain sobriety, and become a productive, law-abiding member of the community.

Core components of the SSAS program are:

  • Access to Substance Abuse Treatment;
  • Participation in Cognitive Behavioral Programming;
  • Use of Reporting Centers; and
  • Quality Case Management and Intensive Supervision. 

SSAS is funded with programming fees paid by probationers, and there are currently 14 SSAS sites located in the state, which are affiliated with 16 reporting centers. The sites serve offenders in Douglas, Lancaster, Dodge, Sarpy, Otoe, Buffalo, Gage, Platte, Dakota, Madison, Hall, Adams, Scottsbluff and Dawson counties.

Specialized Substance Abuse Supervision Program History

  • In late 2006 the Specialized Substance Abuse Services program for Felony Offenders was instituted in limited counties over 7 judicial districts:
    • Judicial Districts 2,3,4,6,9,11 -- Sarpy, Cass, Lancaster, Douglas, Dakota, Buffalo, and Dawson Counties
    • In 2008 SSAS reached caseload capacity of 312 offenders 
    • During the years 2006 – 2008 when SSAS was implemented and in full swing the prison population growth was negligible with the smallest growth recorded to date with only 2 additional inmates between 2007 and 2008. (*Department of Correctional Services, DCS)
    •  In January 2013 SSAS was expanded to Grand Island and reached capacity within 60 days; raising the full program capacity to 336. (This expansion was done without the benefit of a reporting center so optimum results are compromised.)
    • In 2016 SSAS has been expanded to all judicial districts except District 8. 

SSAS remains over capacity at 397.

(*DCS Design Capacity and Average Daily Population Report FY 1982-FY2020 – Dr. Hank Robinson)

Internal Report: Examination of the Impact of the SSAS Program on Prisons **

In a 2012 review:

  • 91% of the individuals who were successfully discharged from SSAS remained crime free 1 year following release.
  • 78% of successfully discharged SSAS offenders were employed at the time of their release.
  • On December 31, 2012 there were 14 parolees enrolled in the SSAS program. By June 30, 2013 the number of parolees on SSAS grew from 14 to 47.

From inception until June 2012 there have been 554 people discharged from SSAS, all of whom were diverted from the prison system. Of the 554, 111 (20%) were revoked while on probation and sentenced to prison. Up to one year after discharge from SSAS, 41 (7%) had committed a misdemeanor II violation or above. Of the 41 convicted of a new crime only two were sentenced to Department of Correctional Services. A total of 113 or 20% of the original 554 SSAS participants ended up in the prison system.  

Thus far, 441 participants in the Specialized Substance Abuse Services program have been diverted from prison.



Deb A. Minardi
Deputy Probation Administrator, Community Based Supervision Programs and Services Coordinator
Nebraska State Capitol, Room 1207

Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2141

Fax: (402) 471-2197

This page was last modified on Wednesday, January 20, 2016