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Process Evaluation of Summit House: A Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections

NCJ Number
195795
Date Published
Author(s)
Ackerson, Thiemann H.; Butynski, William; Caswell, Alice; Forshay, Elizabeth; McMurphy, Suzanne
Annotation
This document presents the results of a process evaluation of the Summit House Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program within the New Hampshire (NH) Department of Corrections (DOC).
Abstract
The primary substance abuse problem within the State of New Hampshire is dependence and abuse related to alcohol. It was estimated that 75 percent to 85 percent of all offenders within the system had substance abuse problems prior to their incarceration. The Summit House, an intensive residential alcohol and drug treatment program, was established in 1991. It has evolved and expanded into a three-phase program following inmates through their changes in custody level and into the community. The clinical personnel hired to staff the program include a mix of recovering addicts and substance abuse treatment professionals, both males and females. Phase I is the six-month intensive “modified” therapeutic community inside the walls. Phase II is a re-entry program outside the walls designed to prepare the offenders to re-enter the community. Phase III is focused on support, relapse prevention, and community safety. The primary data gathering methods used were in-person interviews with key administrative personnel at NH DOC, in-depth interviews of Summit House clinical and security staff, examination of program documentation and direct observations of program operations, and semi-structured interviews with clients just prior to entry into Summit House. Results of the evaluation showed that the clinical staff across the three phases of the program shared a similar guiding program philosophy, viewing substance abuse as a chronic relapsing disorder. Staff turnover resulted in major program changes. Physical space issues varied at the three different Summit House facilities. Rules and regulations appeared to be applied somewhat inconsistently due to the power of interpretation left to individual staff. Disability issues exist for Summit House and other inmates. Gender issues emerged in relation to the pre-treatment period, which is a modified boot camp experience. The quality of the psycho-educational lectures and workshops that were offered varied according to the capabilities of the individual presenters. The Summit House sites are affected by the strengths and personalities of the individuals directing and working in the individual programs, as well as the overall institutional philosophies and contexts. 90 references
Date Created: March 12, 2003