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Offender Treatment - Comparison of Prison & Non-prison Treatment

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Published On:
August 30, 2001          Updated On: September 06, 2001
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

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Comparison of 
Prison and Non-Prison Treatment
August 30, 2001

A new study shows that women receive different types of benefits from prison-based addiction treatment programs and those located off prison grounds, Substance Abuse Funding News reported Aug. 14.

Elizabeth Hall, project director of the Forever Free Substance Abuse Treatment Program Outcomes Study <see the study on line> at the University of California, said the study found that women who received prison-based treatment initially did better on parole and with cutting drug use. On the other hand, women in the non-prison program fared better finding jobs. 

But a year later, when researchers conducted a review of study participants, they found that 35 percent of the prison group had used alcohol or other drugs during the month before the interview, compared with 8 percent of the non-prison group.

Also, 75 percent of the prison group reported using alcohol or other drugs at some time during their parole period, compared with half of the non-prison group.

The study's findings were presented at the recent National Institute of Justice's Research & Evaluation Conference in Washington, D.C.

Study Title:
An Outcome Evaluation of 
The Forever Free Substance Abuse Treatment Program
<Read It On Their Website>

Michael L. Prendergast, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
Elizabeth A. Hall, Ph.D., Project Director

The Forever Free Substance Abuse Treatment Program is an intensive residential treatment program lasting four to six months for women inmates with substance abuse problems, followed by up to six months of community residential treatment in contracted facilities during parole supervision. The Forever Free program is located at the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Frontera. As part of NIJ's Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Evaluation Program, the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center (DARC) is conducting a two-year outcome study of the Forever Free Substance Abuse Treatment Program at the California Institution for Women (CIW).

The specific objectives of the study are as follows:

bulletTo compare the 12-month outcomes of Forever Free participants with a comparison sample from the general prison population with regard to parole performance, drug use, employment, and psychological functioning.
bulletTo determine differential outcomes of Forever Free participants within selected subgroups (defined by time in community residential treatment, primary drug problem, ethnicity, criminal history, child custody/parenting status, psychological functioning, level of therapeutic alliance, treatment readiness, and locus of control).
bulletTo examine differences between Forever Free women and comparison women with regard to their relationship with their children following release to parole (custody, placement, services received, and reunification).
bulletTo disseminate project findings to policy makers, researchers, and practitioners in criminal justice and drug treatment.

Proposed Research Design and Methodology.

The focus of the study, which extends our current process evaluation of Forever Free, is an outcome evaluation of the program including collection of follow-up interview data by telephone, urinalysis results from a subsample of subjects to validate self-report, and data from criminal justice records on approximately 100 in the program participant group and approximately 100 in a non-treatment comparison group, with a focus on the variables listed above.

Status: As of October 2000, Forever Free has finished data collection and is currently in the data cleaning mode.

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