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Process Evaluation of Tier 4 Connecticut: Department of Correction Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Programs, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
95 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of an evaluation that examined the various components of three residential substance abuse treatment (RSAT) programs within the Connecticut Department of Correction.
Both qualitative and quantitative methods of evaluation were used to explore program structure, staffing, selection of participants, program content, and preliminary outcomes. The results of this study established baseline measures for the NIJ-funded outcome evaluation of these programs. All three programs were designed around a modified therapeutic community model; however, there were some differences in procedures, housing, interaction with the general inmate population, and inmate-staff relations. One consistent finding was the importance of cooperation and sensitivity from custody staff in supporting treatment goals. Although many of the interactions between custody and counseling staff were positive, the rotation of custody staff in and out of the therapeutic communities resulted in inconsistent rewards and punishment for participant behaviors. Additionally, there was significant variability in the educational backgrounds, skill levels, and treatment philosophies of the counseling staff within and across all three programs. Selection procedures among all three programs accurately selected and recruited inmates with clinically relevant drug and/or alcohol problems. These inmates also had sufficient motivation for change; however, mental health issues were not given significant attention, with many being sufficiently serious to limit individual treatment gains and possibly contribute to relapse once outside a structured environment. Treating addiction and early childhood sexual victimization in female substance abusers would be cost effective, since there is strong evidence that such treatment would reduce the likelihood of relapse. There are a number of issues that should be addressed regarding length of time in treatment, since the amount of time in the programs was shorter than the optimal program length of 9 to 12 months. All of the programs were perceived by participants as helpful in the treatment of their addictive behaviors and related issues. Ten recommendations are offered to further enhance the effectiveness of the RSAT programs. 17 tables and 94 references

Date Published: January 1, 2001