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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008 Jan 11;93(1-2):163-75. Epub 2007 Oct 29.

A Rasch model analysis of evidence-based treatment practices used in the criminal justice system.

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Department of Psychology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX 77341-2247, USA.


This study used item response theory (IRT) to examine the extent to which criminal justice facilities and community-based agencies are using evidence-based substance abuse treatment practices (EBPs), which EBPs are most commonly used, and how EBPs cluster together. The study used data collected from wardens, justice administrators, and treatment directors as part of the National Criminal Justice Treatment Practices survey (NCJTP; Taxman et al., 2007a), and includes both adult criminal and juvenile justice samples. Results of Rasch modeling demonstrated that a reliable measure can be formed reflecting the extent to which juvenile and adult correctional facilities, and community treatment agencies serving offenders, have adopted various treatment practices supported by research. We also demonstrated the concurrent validity of the measure by showing that features of the facilities' organizational contexts were associated with the extent to which facilities were using EBPs, and which EBPs they were using. Researchers, clinicians, and program administrators may find these results interesting not only because they show the program factors most strongly related to EBP use, but the results also suggest that certain treatment practices cluster together, which may help stakeholders plan and prioritize the adoption of new EBPs in their facilities. The study has implications for future research focused on understanding the adoption and implementation of EBPs in correctional environments.

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