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Building an Effective Research Collaboration Between the Center for Public Policy at Temple University and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections: Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2002
315 pages
This document reviews a collaborative research partnership between Temple University’s Center for Public Policy (CPP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) with a demonstration research project.
The demonstration research project included a descriptive assessment of drug and alcohol programming; an intensive on-site process evaluation of representative drug and alcohol programs at two institutions; and design of an outcome evaluation research design based on analyses of data collected at stages 1 and 2. While the demonstration project itself was important, the development of an ongoing working research relationship between DOC and Temple University was the primary outcome, increasing the capacity of both agencies to produce and exploit useful knowledge. An essential part of the overall evaluation strategy was the development of greater research and evaluation capacity within State and local criminal justice systems in order to increase data-driven decision making and policy development. The project produced a comprehensive database on 118 prison-based drug and alcohol treatment programs at different institutions, including descriptions of program content and structure, inmate characteristics, and staff. The final report of the project presented correctional policy makers with a clearer picture of how interventions take shape, how they are implemented, and with what range of expected effects. Study findings show there was considerable variation in program duration and intensity; there was more consistency in treatment approach (primarily cognitive and cognitive-behavioral); and the importance of different criteria for program completion (knowledge test, measures of attitudinal and behavioral change) varied according to program type. Recommendations include standardizing instruments for assessing inmates’ level of need for treatment, readiness for treatment, and psychological functioning; examining the staffing of prison-based drug treatment programs; and designing, implementing, and updating (annually) a Drug & Alcohol Program Census in order to create and maintain a current program database. A successful university-agency research partnership was developed, with highly positive member feedback and an ongoing relationship that continues to produce funded grant proposals and an active research agenda. References, notes, 7 appendices

Date Published: June 1, 2002