This study examined the impact of residential aftercare on recidivism following prison-based drug treatment for drug-involved offenders.
Data were collected from 293 parolees who received treatment at the 9-month New Vision in-prison therapeutic community (ITC) in Kyle, Tex., as well as from 103 parolees in a matched non-treated comparison group from the general prison population. Matching criteria for the treatment and comparison groups included drug use and criminal history. All inmates were scheduled for parole between March and December 1994. Background information (gender, ethnicity, age, education level, criminal history, and risk for recidivism) was obtained from the State criminal justice databases and a structured interview conducted by clinical staff. Post-release recidivism was based on arrests recorded by the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal History Record Information database. The relationship of transitional residential aftercare with recidivism was explored by using survival analyses. After differences in rearrest rates between the two groups were examined, a second set of analyses identified factors associated with aftercare completion. During treatment, process measures were based on inmate self-ratings of their counselors, the program, and peers. A post-treatment interview conducted by field research staff assessed satisfaction with transitional aftercare. Findings show that ITC treatment, especially when followed by residential aftercare, was effective for reducing post-release recidivism rates and in prolonging the length of time until a rearrest occurred; the treated group was 12 percent less likely than the untreated comparison group to be rearrested. Lower satisfaction with transitional aftercare treatment was associated with failing to complete the residential phase of community-based aftercare. The study concludes that corrections-based treatment policy should emphasize a continuum of care model (from institution to community) with high-quality programs and services. 3 tables and 50 references
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