Prison-Based Therapeutic Community Treatment: Participant Outcomes

William M. Burdon, UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center
Nena Messina, UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center
Meredith L. Patten, UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center
Michael Prendergast, University of California at Los Angeles

This paper presents and discusses parole and return to custody (RTC) data on inmates who received prison-based therapeutic community treatment and were subsequently released to parole. Currently, the California state prison system has approximately 9,000 beds devoted to therapeutic community (TC) substance abuse treatment, which are spread over 35 programs in 19 state prisons and two Community Correctional Facilities. Under two contracts with the California Department of Corrections (CDC), the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center is conducting 5-year process and outcome evaluations on 15 of these programs at ten state prisons, totaling 3,300 beds. Since they commenced operations in 1998 and 1999 over 6,800 inmates (male and female) have been classified into these 15 TC programs to receive substance abuse treatment services. Using data collected from CDC's Offender-Based Information System (OBIS), we will examine differences in RTC rates, length of time until reincarceration, and current parole status based on selected independent measures collected at intake into the prison-based TC programs (i.e., relating to personal background, drug and alcohol use history, and involvement with the criminal justice system), length of time in prison-based treatment, discharge reason (i.e., completers vs. non-completers), and participation in community-based treatment following release to parole.

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Updated 05/20/2006