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Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners (RSAT) Partnership Process Evaluation, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
129 pages
The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program at the South Idaho Correctional Institution began accepting inmate clients in May 1997 and was designed to meet the need for treatment of Idaho correctional populations.
The intent of the RSAT program design, based on a 9-12 month treatment regimen for chronic substance abusers that addressed addiction and criminality, was to create a structured environment with three treatment modalities (cognitive, self-change, and behavioral) and 12-step programming set within a therapeutic community. To conduct a process evaluation of the RSAT therapeutic community, qualitative and quantitative data were collected using a multi-method approach to address lessons learned from the research literature on correctional programming. Research questions focused on whether the RSAT program met its stated goals and objectives, was consistent with identified successes in the literature, addressed the target population, was likely to result in reduced recidivism or measurable behavioral changes, was solidly established so that an outcome evaluation could be conducted, and was affected by communication or other implementation barriers. Data collection techniques included a review of archival materials, field observations, structured interviews with key participants, and inmate questionnaires on perceptions of program strengths and weaknesses. Evaluation results showed the RSAT program was substantially and operationally sound in its content and service delivery. Program content included in-depth programming on cognitive self-change, 12-step programming, and the traditions and reinforcement of behaviors of a therapeutic community. Attributes of the RSAT program that reflected successful programming in the literature included cognitive processes and practices, pro-social modeling by staff and inmates, intensive engagement by clients in their own treatment, and external support from the Idaho Department of Corrections. Appendixes contain the questionnaire and interview forms used in the program evaluation. References and tables

Date Published: January 1, 2001