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Treatment Program for prisoners

Many challenges confront the criminal justice system. One major perennial question is: How can we more effectively deal with individuals who have drug and alcohol problems and are also involved in criminal activity? The complex relationships between drugs and crime have been extensively analyzed. Generally, these studies confirm that drug and alcohol abuse is associated with criminal activity.The magnitude of this problem is also indicated by the recurring finding that about 70 percent of the arrestees sampled by the Drug Use Forecasting program have tested positive for recent drug use. Such findings suggest that it is very important for criminal justice agencies working with offenders to improve their ability to impact the drug and alcohol abuse problems that undermine released inmates' chances of staying out of trouble.( Holder, H., 1991)

The focus of this evaluation will be first of all to assess the impact of the IRP with the hypothesis that inmates who graduate from this program will have less post-program criminal activity than: (a) they had in the year before their arrest, (b) those who started but did not complete the treatment program, and (c) those inmates in the control group who did not receive special drug and alcohol treatment. Secondly, an assessment of the cost effectiveness of this program will be summarized. Finally, several insights are identified that suggest ways in which future versions of this type of program could be modified to increase further the chances of implementing a more successful drug and alcohol program in a jail facility.

The IRP has evolved into a 5-week treatment program that takes place in the jail facility. When inmates are not participating in the program, they are returned to their cell blocks with the rest of the inmate population. The IRP is, therefore, identified as a day treatment model in contrast to a therapeutic community model in which clients are totally immersed in a treatment-dominated setting. The IRP also has an outpatient component for individuals after they complete the jail-based program. This is generally provided by the county drug and alcohol treatment agency and often utilizes additional private programs. During this time the individual may receive individual, family, and group counseling. The length of the outpatient care is determined case by case and usually lasts from 6 months to a year.( Wexler, 1994)

The day treatment program is devoted to providing numerous educational and therapeutic experiences. Clients are exposed to a diverse set of topics related to substance abuse and recovery. These include introduction to the disease concept, physical mechanisms of addiction, psychological mechanisms of addiction, medical consequences of drug abuse, codependency, and the relapse and recovery processes. Reading assignments are made from Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, Narcotics Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and a variety of articles. Clients are expected to complete many homework assignments and share their work with the other group members. For example, clients are expected to: complete a comprehensive personal drug and alcohol history; undertake an extensive assessment of the damage done by their substance abuse; describe the typical thinking errors they employ when involved in substance abuse and criminal behavior; identify the triggers associated with their substance abuse and how they might better cope with these triggers; and develop a relapse prevention plan and a recovery plan to implement after they are released from jail. The overall thrust is to compel each client to examine his or her problematic substance abuse behavior and to initiate and support alternative ways of behaving.( Rose, 2000)

The IRP is staffed by two full-time masters-level alcohol and drug therapists and a half-time jail coordinator. The therapists run the group and individual treatment program, and the coordinator is...
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