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Peer Recovery Support Services in Correctional Settings

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2022
85 pages

The purpose of this technical assistance package is to enable users to achieve the effective integration of peer recovery support services in the work of multidisciplinary treatment teams in correctional settings for persons with substance use disorders (SUDs) or other mental health (MH) disorders.


For the purposes of this instruction, the definition of a “peer supporter” is the one used by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): “a person who uses his or her lived experience of recovery from mental illness and/or addiction, plus skills learned in formal training, to deliver services in behavioral health settings to promote mind-body recovery and resilience.” In correctional settings, peer supporters are persons with lived experience of recovery from SUDs and/or co-occurring MH conditions and criminal justice involvement. They may be currently or formerly incarcerated individuals who have received specialized training, and often certification, to deliver peer education or peer support in a voluntary or paid capacity in the prison, and they can also provide support to others within the community. After defining peer support in correctional settings, this instructional material describes the core competencies for peer support in correctional settings; highlights the use of peer support in short-term, medium-term, long-term, and community corrections settings to improve recovery and reentry outcomes; identifies emerging and best practices for integrating peer support into correctional settings; and provides recommendations for program design and implementation. 2 tables, 5 figures, 48 references, and appended tools and resources

Date Published: May 1, 2022