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Evaluating Corrections-Based Treatment for the Drug-Abusing Criminal Offender

NCJ Number
Journal of Psychoactive Drugs Volume: 31 Issue: 3 Dated: July-September 1999 Pages: 299-304
Date Published
September 1999
6 pages

The recent increase in drug abusers in the criminal justice system has led to the expansion of corrections-based drug treatment facilities, and this article addresses some of the issues related to the assessment of treatment outcomes for drug-abusing offenders.


For many drug-abusing offenders, drug treatment in the criminal justice system represents the first potential opportunity for formal intervention. Further, in response to continuing social concerns about the connection between drugs and crime, more government resources are allocated to drug treatment efforts. Studies over the past few years indicate offenders who complete drug treatment programs have better outcomes than non-completers and untreated comparison groups. Several drug treatment programs are described and evaluated that show corrections-based drug treatment is associated with favorable recidivism and relapse rates. In addition, individuals who go on to complete an aftercare component of the drug treatment continuum have the best outcomes. Future drug treatment program evaluations need to use stronger designs and better assessments of offender screening and treatment referral procedures and involve information systems that document the intervention process and interim engagement indicators. 32 references and 2 figures

Date Published: September 1, 1999