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Dwight Correctional Center: Evaluation of the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners (1997)

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2001
81 pages
This report is a summary of the evaluation conducted on the residential substance abuse treatment program offered at the Illinois’ Dwight Correctional Center for women.
Previous studies showed that about 50 percent of inmates in Federal correctional facilities, State prisons, and local jails had substance abuse problems with substance abuse among incarcerated women of particular concern. Little is known about the impact of correctional-based substance abuse treatment programs on female offenders. This report was a summary of a National Institute of Justice funded evaluation on the substance abuse treatment program at the Illinois’ Dwight Correctional Center, a 670-bed prison for women. A quasi-experimental design was used for the evaluation of the corrections-based substance abuse treatment program. In Phase I of the evaluation, a treatment group of participants were randomly selected from those entering the treatment program and a comparison control group consisted of a group of randomly chosen female offenders from the general population with a review of client case files. Phase II consisted of one-on-one interviews with a Gateway Site Supervisor and four participants of the program. Gateway is an organization providing therapeutic community treatment in correctional facilities in five States, including the Dwight Correctional Center. Evaluation findings in Phase I were broken down into three components: descriptive statistics, qualitative analysis, and quantitative analysis. The typical female client at the Gateway program in the Dwight Correctional was generally charged with a non-violent, drug-related offense and had a non-violent criminal history. She was often around the age of 35 and from a racial or ethnic minority. Additional characteristics consisted of, dysfunctional family, divorced, single mother, unemployed and undereducated, experienced abuse, and substance abuse. From the data collected from the files and based on interviews, the women needed assistance in the following areas: employment and marketable skills, financial management, assistance with the Department for Child and Family Services, parenting skills, education, and groups to deal with isolation and domestic violence. From the interviews, it was determined that the program benefited the women in several areas including: addiction, adjusting to prison life, mental health well-being, ability to having healthy relationships and get along with others, increased self-esteem, and preparing for their release. Recommendations suggested that research and evaluative data pertaining to this specific population of offenders be expanded to include: the impact of the program on discipline issues; the number of interviews and intensity should be increased; additional follow up of the control and treatment of women during post-release; and address needed services both inside and outside the institution. Graphs, tables, and references

Date Published: August 1, 2001