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Process Evaluation of the Michigan Department of Corrections' Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) Program

NCJ Number
James Austin Ph.D.; Kelly Dedel Johnson Ph.D.; Wendy Naro
Date Published
February 2000
80 pages
A process evaluation of the Cooper Street residential drug treatment program in the State prison in Jackson, Michigan, focused on the central components of the program's design, implementation, and operation.
The major areas of focus included the program context, the program goals, the participant selection criteria, the program intervention, and interagency linkages. The multiple data sources included information from the State correctional management information system, data on applicant selection and service tracking, and program documents. The program model included a 6-month in-custody component guided by a cognitively based curriculum, followed by a mandatory 12-month aftercare phase. The significant support from the facility's warden was one of the greatest program assets. All stakeholders agreed that the program's goals were to reduce recidivism and drug use after release, but they did not appear at times to value the in-custody and aftercare components equally and also were lacking in coordination and cooperation. Findings indicated that the program needed more specific eligibility criteria, that modifications in the design due to space and staff shortages have significantly reduced the hours and days of treatment, and that complicated interagency relationships were a significant impediment to service delivery. Recommended actions include revising the eligibility criteria, examining the issue of accepting large numbers of offenders unlikely to be discharged from prison soon after completion of the in-custody phase, revising the screening form, developing an automated service delivery tracking system, and others. The Michigan Department of Corrections has started to address these concerns. Tables, figures, footnotes, and 12 references