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Outcome Evaluation of the Forever Free Substance Abuse Treatment Program: One-Year Post-Release Outcomes

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2002
67 pages
This study was an outcome evaluation, funded by the National Institute of Justice, of the California Forever Free Substance Abuse Treatment Program demonstrating the effectiveness of an intensive treatment program for female inmates with substance abuse problems.
In 1991, the Forever Free Substance Abuse Treatment Program was established and located at the California Institution for Women in Frontera. The Forever Free Program is an intensive residential treatment program for women inmates with substance abuse problems followed by voluntary community residential treatment during parole. This study was a 1-year post-release outcome evaluation of the program and a follow up study to a prior process evaluation of the Program, funded by the National Institute of Justice. The objectives of the analysis of study were to: (1) contrast the 12-month post-release outcomes of the program participants with those of the comparison group with regard to parole performance, drug use, employment, and psychological functioning; (2) examine differences between groups regarding their relationship with their children following release; (3) examine service needs during parole for both groups; and (4) determine outcome predictors for the entire sample and program participants. One-hundred and nineteen clients entering the program between October 1997 and June 1998 participated in the study. The comparison groups consisted of women attending an 8-week substance abuse education program. Follow up took place approximately 1-year after release from prison. Standardized instruments collected information on the subject’s behavior since release in several areas. Overall, the study demonstrated the effectiveness of the Forever Free Program for women offenders. Results indicate: (1) program participants performed better, in regards to arrest and convictions since release, than the comparison group; (2) program treatment significantly delayed reincarceration; (3) lower levels of drug use among program participants; and (4) higher levels of employment among program participants. Several recommendations were highlighted: (1) encourage or mandate community aftercare; (2) require service needs assessment prior to parole; (3) link program parolees to community services; (4) provide vocational training; (5) undertake research on cognitive-behavioral treatment in prison settings; and (6) undertake research on the impact of post-release services on long-term outcome. Study limitations are discussed. Tables, figures, references, and appendix

Date Published: July 1, 2002