Model Policy For Treatment & Enforcement
Abuse and the Prison Population: Aftercare
This policy developed in collaboration with
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia
Policy MATTERS is a prevention-focused health policy
resource guide developed and published by CCHI.
For more information, or to contribute
your policy ideas, call CCHI at 916 646.2149
Substance abuse is a chronic
relapsing condition. Without continued aftercare services, many parolees
will continue to use drugs, commit crimes and get re-arrested.
Currently, few parolees are given access to drug treatment and many are
sent back to prison for violations involving positive drug tests.
Overall, during 1995, 110,802 parolees were incarcerated for violations
of their parole conditions - many involving positive drug tests (1). To
reduce the likelihood of relapse, long-term management programs and
aftercare should be available to inmates being released from prison.
aftercare services for parolees who need them to help prevent relapse
into the criminal justice system.
Prisons and jails can assist inmates and help reduce
crime by getting released inmates to participate in community-based
treatment services. Without follow-up treatment in the community, the
benefits of prison services, such as drug and alcohol treatment,
educational and vocational training, and psychological and medical care
given to the inmate, will be undermined.
The effectiveness of treatment can be enhanced by
careful pre-release transition planning. This entails identification of
treatment and other service needs such as drug-free housing, literacy
training, job placement and social services; referrals to
community-based programs; support to help inmates avoid people, places
and situations that trigger relapse; and a mechanism for adequate
Opportunity to Succeed (OPTS),
a CASA demonstration program, seeks to pull together all of the services
parolees need to become productive, tax-paying citizens: drug and
alcohol treatment and aftercare, job training, health and social
services, assistance in getting a job and drug-free housing. An early
lesson of this test program is that timely intervention is crucial. Many
parolees who were not met at the prison gates by support personnel
abused alcohol and/or drugs on the day of their release.
Aftercare and transition services that motivate
parolees to join community treatment, residential treatment services,
intermediate care, halfway houses or work release programs are essential
components of an effective treatment program (2). The benefits of
prison-based treatment are greater when released inmates participate in
aftercare programs, as the following examples illustrate.
|Forever Free, a program operated by the California
Department of Corrections for female inmates approaching their
parole dates, reduced the rate of return to custody to 38 percent
for all program graduates, compared with 62 percent for program
dropouts. Participation in community-based treatment further
increased the likelihood of successful outcomes - reducing the rate
of return to custody to 28 percent for program graduates with some
community treatment and 10 percent for graduates with at least five
months of community treatment (3).
|Amity Righturn, which features a three-month
community re-entry component, reduced re-incarceration rates within
one year of parole to 26 percent for Amity graduates who completed
aftercare, compared with 43 percent for Amity graduates who did not
participate in aftercare, 50 percent for Amity program dropouts and
63 percent for a matched comparison group (4).
|Oregon's Parole Transition Program identifies
inmates' service needs and develops community program linkages
before the inmate is released. Preliminary assessments of the Parole
Transition Program found that clients had lower rates of re-arrest
one year after release compared to their rates before incarceration.
Furthermore, 60 percent of the clients were still drug-free six
months after release (5).|
CASA at Columbia University, 152 West 57th
Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10019-3310. Phone:
212-841-5200. Fax: (212) 956-8020. Website: www.casacolumbia.org.
Forever Free Program, California Department of
Corrections, Office of Substance Abuse Programs, P.O. Box 942883,
Sacramento, CA 94283. Phone: (916) 327-3707.
Gary Field, Ph.D. Administrative Counseling and
Treatment Services, Oregon's Parole Transition Program, 2575 Center St.
NE, Salem, Oregon. Phone: (503) 378-8373. Fax: (503) 378-5118. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice
Programs and U.S. Department of Justice (June 30, 1996). Probation
and Parole Population Reaches Almost 3.9 million. Washington, DC.
2. Taxman F, Spinner D (1997). Jail Addiction
Services (JAS) Demonstration Project in Montgomery County, Maryland:
Jail and Community Based Substance Abuse Treatment Program Model: Final
Report. Unpublished Report: U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Maryland Governor's
Commission on Drugs and Alcohol Abuse, Montgomery County Government.
3. California Department of Corrections, Office of
Substance Abuse Programs (1995). California Department of
Corrections Overview of Substance Abuse Programs. Sacramento, CA.
4. Lipton DS and National Institute of Justice
(1995). The Effectiveness of Treatment for Drug Abusers Under
Criminal Justice Supervision. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
5. Field G, Karacki M and Washington County Community
Corrections (1992). Outcome Study of the Parole Transition Release
Project. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Corrections.