This naturalistic study involved 569 offenders who had a history of substance abuse or dependence prior to incarceration, and were subsequently approved for early parole to a community-based substance abuse treatment facility (SATF).
Overall 495 offenders were paroled directly to a SATF while 74 were paroled to the community without transfer to a SATF due to prison overcrowding. Criminal history records for all 569 offenders were obtained approximately 24 months following parole. Any new conviction as a result of a new crime committed during the 24-month window following parole to the community was considered a negative outcome. Results found that 22% of offenders paroled to a substance abuse treatment facility (SATF) were convicted of a new crime compared to 34% of offenders paroled directly to the community (chi-square = 4.57, df=1, p=.03). A stepwise logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine how different factors contributed to a new conviction. Overall more prior convictions (p<.001) and lower age (p=.001) were strong significant predictors and cocaine dependence (p=.06) and parole without treatment (p=.08) were predictive of a new conviction. Additionally, offenders who completed treatment were significantly less likely to be convicted of a new crime (11.8% vs. 29%) than those who dropped out of treatment (chi-square = 11.50, df = 1, p<.01). These data suggest that early parole to a SATF could be considered as a viable means to reduce prison sentences for addicted offenders.