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Process Evaluation of Tier IV Connecticut Department of Correction Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Programs, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2001
94 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of a process evaluation of three residential substance abuse treatment programs conducted by the Office of Addiction Services of the Connecticut Department of orrection (CDOC).
Evaluation objectives were to identify those programmatic factors that contributed to inmate success and failure, so that recommendations could be developed to improve implementation of these programs. The CDOC offers four tiers or levels of substance abuse treatment. This evaluation focused on Tier IV programs, which involve 6 months of full-time residential treatment in a separate housing unit. The community environments of the three programs are designed to promote positive interaction and personal growth through socialization in a therapeutic community, with group and individual counseling as well as peer mentoring. The emphasis is on positive changes in inmate attitudes and behaviors that can be observed and rewarded. The evaluation addressed program structure, staffing, participant selection, program content, time in the program, and aftercare. Regarding program structure, two of the three programs used separate locations for housing and counseling and treatment activities. There was apparently a stronger connection between counselors and inmates in the program that housed all program activities in the same unit. Regarding staffing, the rotation of custody staff in and out of the therapeutic communities resulted in inconsistent rewards and punishment of participant behaviors. These problems were minimized in the program with an administrator who had both custody and counseling responsibilities and correctional officers who were specially trained in treatment issues. Selection procedures used by all three programs accurately selected and recruited inmates with clinically relevant drug and/or alcohol problems; these inmates also had sufficient motivation for change. The evaluation recommends that experiences related to victimization and abuse should be more carefully assessed and treated by counselors with expertise in this area. This report also suggests that to achieve increases in effectiveness, programs may need to expand the anger module to six sessions and emphasize cognitive and behavioral skills. The evaluation further noted that the amount of time in the three programs was shorter than the optimal program length of 9 to 12 months. Regarding aftercare, the evaluation recommends that the CDOC incorporate community-based aftercare with transitional supervision. 14 tables and 70 references

Date Published: May 1, 2001