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Effect of Prison-Based Alcohol Treatment: A Multi-Site Process and Outcome Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2014
170 pages
This mixed-methods study involved process and outcome evaluations of three State-sponsored alcohol-specific treatment programs delivered in Montana, Ohio, and Texas prisons.
Although findings from Ohio should be interpreted cautiously because of low sample size, the sample sizes for Montana and Texas are more robust and suggest that in-prison alcohol treatment can positively impact future offender behavior consistent with treatment goals based on recidivism (defined as return to a correctional facility) outcomes up to 1 year after release. Regarding implementation and management, the Montana program was near ideal, as indicated by high scores from all research team members for all program fidelity indicators: adherence, exposure, quality of services delivered, participant management, and program differentiation. Although featuring evidence-based treatment protocols in service delivery, the Ohio program was burdened by an ineffective referral process, questionable program placement that contradicted the risk principle, and under-enrollment. The Ohio program described itself as a therapeutic community; however, its participants were housed with the general population of a medium-security prison. The Evidence-based practices common across the treatment programs included the use of assessment instrumentation in identifying and linking offender needs with appropriate treatment services, sufficient treatment duration, the development and execution of individualized treatment plans, the delivery of cognitive-behavioral intervention therapy, and drug-use monitoring. Although the issue of voluntary treatment participation remains controversial, short-term treatment facility placement for coercing exposure to programming followed by voluntary continuation proved effective in Montana and Ohio. Treatment participants should be isolated from the general prison population in order to maximize the impact of treatment. Research that extends the period for examining recidivism outcome is recommended. 30 tables and approximately 80 references

Date Published: March 1, 2014