Offender Substance Abuse; Findings from Two Studies

The descriptions below are available through
First study: Hall, Prendergast, Roll, and Warda evaluated a 26-week intervention for substance abusing offenders referred to outpatient treatment. The purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of the use of vouchers for goods and services for participants of a court-ordered treatment program for substance abuse.
Program participation was voluntary. All 136 study participants received a standard evidence-based model for treating stimulant abuse.
Contrary to other studies, the authors found that issuing vouchers for abstaining from substance use and for completing treatment plan tasks showed no significant increase in treatment completion or in the number of weeks spent in treatment, or decrease in drug use relative to the standard treatment.
One possible explanation is that one or more elements of the drug court model had greater influence on positive outcomes than the vouchers. The
study, Reinforcing Abstinence and Treatment Participation Among Offenders in a Drug Diversion Program: Are Vouchers Effective?
Second Study: Pérez evaluated the effectiveness of residential substance abuse treatment in reducing recidivism among high-risk offenders. The study matched 82 probationers who participated in a residential drug treatment program to 82 probationers with similar criminal histories and demographics who did not receive treatment.
The results were similar to those of other studies of residential substance abuse treatment programs. Treatment participants were found
to have reduced amounts of criminal activity during the 18-month follow-up period. While treatment participants had more arrests, the probationers who did not participate in treatment had a higher percentage of convictions.
Similar to offenders under other forms of intensive supervision, treatment participants were more likely to be rearrested for violations of supervision requirements, while non-participants were more likely to be arrested for new offenses. The author believes that this may be a result of the increased levels of supervision that are associated with residential substance abuse treatment programs. The study, Applying Evidence-Based Practices to Community
Corrections Supervision: An Evaluation of Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for High-Risk Probationers,
%d bloggers like this: