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TOW Evaluation Project Final Report, Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2001
31 pages
This report focused on the evaluation of The Other Way (TOW) program located in Iowa.
The data presented in this report focused on a sample of 351 inmates who participated in the TOW program from October 1997 through September 2000. TOW is an intensive residential substance abuse treatment program housed at a medium secured correctional facility in Iowa. Inmates sent to the correctional facility are referred to the TOW program if they have an identified need for residential-level substance abuse treatment and are within 12 months of release consideration. The program is an intense six-month long program helping inmates identify the causes of their addictive behaviors and encouraging changes in unacceptable behaviors and criminal thinking. Six instruments were chosen for use in the evaluation as pre-and post-assessments to determine change over the course of the TOW program in areas such as criminal thinking, cognitive abilities, perceived social support, and readiness for change. These instruments were subject life history, substance use/abuse, mental health and personality characteristics, criminal behavior and attitudes, social support, and involvement in education/employment and therapeutic activities. Results showed that inmates entered and exited the program with deficiencies in multiple areas of cognition. By the time the inmates exited the program they felt worse about the correctional system than they did going into TOW. Inmates appeared to be making progress toward becoming less deficient in attitudes regarding both crime and drugs, which was a desired outcome of the program. Inmates with past psychiatric problems were recidivating at a much higher rate than those without. Subjects with lower IQs and reading levels appeared to cope well when released, suggesting that the TOW curriculum was not too difficult for these populations. For future studies, the availability of a control group is vital for making causal inferences about changes in inmates due to the program. 16 references

Date Published: March 1, 2001