This study determined recidivism rates for drug-abusing probationers who participated in a modified therapeutic community (TC) in a large metropolitan area (Dallas County, TX).
Treatment dropouts were more likely to be rearrested for a serious felony within 2 years of leaving the TC program than were TC graduates and probationers in an untreated comparison group. After a 1-year arrest rate of 17 percent, a significantly smaller proportion of the TC graduates (4 percent) were arrested during the second year compared with the untreated comparison group and the dropout group; each of these two groups had a 10-percent arrest rate in the second followup year. The overall rearrest rate of the TC graduates for the 2 years was 21 percent compared with 23 percent for the untreated control group. Thus, clear evidence of treatment benefits emerged only in the second year after treatment. The impact of the TC treatment on recidivism was less than expected. As an enhancement to routine probation, TCs integrate treatment within a controlled environment that maximizes supervision. This evaluation of a 6-month modified TC began with the collection of data at baseline and during treatment for 406 probationers admitted to the program in 1998. Probationers were divided into treatment graduates (n=290) and treatment dropouts (n=116). A comparison group (n=100) consisted of offenders placed on felony probation during approximately the same time period as those who participated in the modified TC program. A criminal records search was conducted for all study participants for the 2 years following discharge from treatment or following commitment to probation. Recidivism consisted of arrest for serious crimes that led to commitment to the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Corrections. 3 tables and 43 references