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Therapeutic Communities in Correctional Settings: The Prison Based TC Standards Development Project Final Report, Phase II

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 1999
56 pages
This document provides the background and results of Phase II of the Standards Development Project, designed to create standards for treatment programs in correctional settings.
The project consisted of three continuous phases. Phase 1 yielded a draft of the standards and a preliminary field standards assessment protocol. Phase II consisted of a field validation of the assessment procedures to inform a final revision of standards. Phase III will translate the TC standards into a format appropriate for accreditation of modified TC programs in correctional settings. The diversity of programs within the therapeutic community (TC) modality and within the correctional system underscores the need for standards. There are other reasons for developing standards for TC prison programs, which include maintaining quality assurance and best practices in TCS; guiding staff training; and evaluating the effectiveness and cost benefit of TC treatment in prison. The findings and recommendations address the two main aims of Phase II: (1) to assess the utility of a field review protocol, and (2) to assess the utility of and revise the Prison-Based TC Standards. The existing Field Review Protocol was found appropriate and useful for assessing whether programs meet the TC standards. Later versions of this protocol must correspond more closely to the final revisions in the standards themselves. Recommendations include more quality assurance measures; the development of criteria for weighting the subsections of the standards; experiential parity across reviewers that are evaluating different program sites; and some additional components of the process, such as attending a staff meeting. Overall, it was found that the standards were comprehensive, clear, and relevant to assessing the validity of modified TC programming in prisons. Recommendations include items that assess the capability of the program to meet standards; questioning staff concerning their recovery history; including items requiring routine random observation of TC activities; and field reviews for purposes of accreditation of the programs. 3 appendices