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Study of Substance-Free Transitional Housing and Community Corrections in Washington County, Oregon

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2009
64 pages
This evaluation of the Washington County (Oregon) Community Corrections Department's substance-free transitional housing program for offenders focused on its contribution to offenders' self-sufficiency, community adjustment, substance-use treatment, and criminal recidivism over and above the benefits of traditional community services for offenders.
Compared to offenders who could benefit from but did not enter any form of substance-free transitional housing, the participants in the program showed added benefits from the program over and above the other services offenders received. Longer lengths of stay in substance-free transitional housing resulted in less substance use by participants at followup along with decreases in stress over time. There were positive changes for all offenders receiving supervision, regardless of their use of substance-free transitional housing. There were significant increases in employment between baseline and followup, and all offenders showed significant improvement on several other indicators of self-sufficiency. The 12-month followup period was too short to provide a meaningful measure of recidivism. The investment in Oxford Houses was the most cost-effective, costing $2,500 per bed as a one-time expenditure, compared to between $4,200 and $5,700 per bed per year for more traditional transitional housing options. The evaluation recommends that Oxford Houses and other transitional housing programs be part of the constellation of service available to offenders. Oxford Houses offer a self-directed community setting where residents are primarily under the supervision of their peers rather than professional staff. Supervision was paired with substance-free housing in order to enhance offenders' abilities to commit to substance-free and crime-free lives. A total of 356 offenders under supervision were eligible for the study; 301 (85 percent) agreed to participate in baseline interviews, and 238 (80 percent) participated in 12-month followup interviews. Data were also obtained from administrative records. 10 tables, 5 figures, 34 reference and appendix

Date Published: January 1, 2009