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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2007 Apr;32(3):239-54. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

Drug treatment services for adult offenders: the state of the state.

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  • 1Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23220, USA. fstaxman@vcu.edu

Abstract

We conducted a national survey of prisons, jails, and community correctional agencies to estimate the prevalence of entry into and accessibility of correctional programs and drug treatment services for adult offenders. Substance abuse education and awareness is the most prevalent form of service provided, being offered in 74% of prisons, 61% of jails, and 53% of community correctional agencies; at the same time, remedial education is the most frequently available correctional program in prisons (89%) and jails (59.5%), whereas sex offender therapy (57.2%) and intensive supervision (41.9%) dominate in community correctional programs. Most substance abuse services provided to offenders are offered through correctional programs such as intensive supervision, day reporting, vocational education, and work release, among others. Although agencies report a high frequency of providing substance abuse services, the prevalence rates are misleading because less than a quarter of the offenders in prisons and jails and less than 10% of those in community correctional agencies have daily access to these services through correctional agencies; in addition, these are predominantly drug treatment services that offer few clinical services. Given that drug-involved offenders are likely to have dependence rates that are four times greater than those among the general public, the drug treatment services and correctional programs available to offenders do not appear to be appropriate for the needs of this population. The National Criminal Justice Treatment Practices survey provides a better understanding of the distribution of services and programs across prisons, jails, and community correctional agencies and allows researchers and policymakers to understand some of the gaps in services and programs that may negatively affect recidivism reduction efforts.

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