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Comparing Inmate Perceptions of Two Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 46 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 699-714
Date Published
December 2002
16 pages

This study described, compared, and contrasted perceptions of inmate clients of two residential substance abuse treatment (RSAT) programs in the rural mountain State of Idaho.


The success of therapeutic communities falls on the meaningful involvement and decision making of their communities. In addition, the perceptions of program effectiveness, by those clients served, is a key ingredient of the program. This article attempts to expand the limited research on inmate client perceptions by focusing on the perceptions of the two residential substance abuse treatment (RSAT) programs among current Idaho RSAT inmates. RSAT programs typically range from 6 to 12 months and maintain an Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous component and take place in a therapeutic community environment. A 51-item Likert-type scale instrument was created to measure the perceptions of inmates of the 2 RSAT programs. The response rates were very high at both institutions. Study findings indicated that inmate participants in these two RSAT programs were generally quite positive in their perceptions of most of the program components. The comparative analysis of the two prisons and the regression equations indicated that inmates in each were remarkably similar in their perceptions of their respective programs. One conclusion drawn from this analysis of inmate perceptions is that the public or private delivery system is not as important to the viability of the RSAT programs for inmates as is the substance and delivery of the program itself. References

Date Published: December 1, 2002