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Process Evaluation of the Therapeutic Community Initiative at the Illinois Department of Corrections' Illinois Youth Center-St. Charles, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2000
188 pages
A process evaluation of a juvenile drug treatment program located at the Illinois Department of Corrections youth center in St. Charles, IL, examined the program’s implementation and described why and how the program was designed and implemented and how it currently operates.
The evaluation also focused on the effects of program participation on offender prerelease behavior as a preliminary indicator of program impact. The program began operation in September 1999 with funding from the Federal Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Formula Grant Program. Its treatment efforts operated within the context of a therapeutic community. The evaluation information came from program administrators and staff, youth participants, youth files, and internal documents. Results revealed that the four phases of treatment involved 6 months of programming. The program included various features typically found in therapeutic communities, including group meetings, individual therapy, community jobs, the use of a unique language, and an authority structure affording youth a considerable amount of input in community management and discipline. However, the Setlen program lacked design modifications that the literature has recommended for individuals who are incarcerated, adolescents, or both. In addition, delays affected program implementation. Findings indicated that the program experienced many of the implementation problems of other programs funded under the same initiative and lacked a well-defined aftercare program. Analyses of the program’s short-term impact on behavior produced ambiguous results. The analysis concluded that therapeutic community programs involving juveniles in a secure correctional facility need to address several specific issues: (1)early attention to contracting issues; (2) a quality program staff, and staff involvement in program design and implementation; (3) ensuring a fit between the program, setting, and population; (4) the provision of staff cross-training; consideration of gang influences; (5) the inclusion of a pre-therapeutic-community program; and (6) aftercare planning. Figures, tables, footnotes, appended instruments and background information, and 36 references

Date Published: September 1, 2000