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Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners: Breaking the Drug-Crime Cycle Among Parole Violators

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2003
12 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of an evaluation of the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program at the South Idaho Correctional Institution, which targets parole-violating inmates with substance abuse problems.
The RSAT program involves an intensive 9- to 12-month treatment regimen for chronic substance abusers. Alcohol/drug treatment delivered by a private-contract provider addresses both addiction and criminality. Parole violators who successfully complete the program will likely be re-released at an earlier date than those who did not participate. The program combines proven treatment approaches used in correctional facilities, namely a strict process for screening potential participants; the establishment of a therapeutic community; a combination of treatment types (cognitive self-change and behavioral strategies and a 12-step program); the intense involvement of inmates in their own problem-solving and development; and an emphasis on the need for a structured aftercare component. After 2 years of operation, a 15-month process evaluation of the program's operations was conducted. Among the evaluation's findings were that the RSAT program largely conforms to what is known about the most successful substance abuse treatment in correctional institutions; the program's content and delivery of services are substantively and operationally sound; and participants generally have developed more prosocial attitudes after involvement in the program. Evaluation recommendations were to expand training for treatment providers and correctional staff; increase salaries for treatment personnel to be commensurate with qualifications and skills; maintain accurate, complete, and up-to-date client program records; and improve opportunities for interaction between counselors and correctional officers to encourage positive communications. 3 notes

Date Published: May 1, 2003