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Role of Corrections Officers in Jail/Prison Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2021

This manual is a training resource for jail/prison corrections officers (COs) involved in implementing the federal Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) grant program in a jail or prison, with a focus on preparing them to assist in breaking the cycle of drug abuse in justice-involved individuals while they are incarcerated and after they re-enter the community.


The manual emphasizes that COs have a key and distinctive role in administering and operating programs that treat substance-use disorders (SUDs) of incarcerated persons. This manual presents an overview of the therapeutic community (TC) model promoted by the federal RSAT initiative, as well as the general therapeutic environment required to facilitate prison and jail SUD treatment. Some RSAT programs provide treatment through modified “Therapeutic Community (TC)” models. Others provide treatment that features group and individual cognitive-behavioral therapy. Guidelines are provided for COs in communicating with treatment staff, setting goals for SUD inmates, using sanctions/rewards, and addressing criminal attitudinal disorders. Instruction also covers planning for inmates’ release into the community. 9 references

Date Published: May 18, 2021