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Cost Effectiveness Analysis of In-Prison Therapeutic Community Treatment and Risk Classification

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 79 Issue: 3 Dated: September 1999 Pages: 352-368
Date Published
17 pages

Three-year outcome data from 394 parolees in Texas (291 treated and 103 untreated) were examined to determine the relative cost-effectiveness of prison-based treatment and aftercare, controlling for the risk of recidivism.


Data were collected from 291 parolees who received 9 months of treatment in an in-prison therapeutic community (TC) program in Kyle, Texas. Similar records were available on 103 parolees representing a matched untreated comparison group from the general prison population. Background information and return-to-custody data on subjects was abstracted from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division database. The cost-effective analysis involved estimating daily costs for TC treatment, the general prison population, facility costs, parole, and aftercare. Findings showed that intensive services were cost-effective only when the entire treatment continuum was completed. The largest economic impact was evident among high-risk cases. The authors conclude that assignments to correctional treatment should consider an offender's problem severity level and every effort should be made to engage them in aftercare upon release from prison. 50 references and 3 tables

Date Published: January 1, 1999