Motivation and the Effectiveness of Prison-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Gerald Melnick, N. D. R. I., Inc.

The presentation focuses on raising the effectiveness of prison-based substance abuse treatment programs by increasing the levels of client motivation, satisfaction and participation. Data from a large meta-analysis is reviewed showing that relatively low levels of motivation and readiness for treatment among admissions to prison-based substance abuse treatment programs. Additional evidence shows the negative effects of low motivation on engaging in the treatment process and post-prison aftercare. Procedures are discussed for raising the level of motivation as a means of increasing participation in the treatment process. However, a study of the quality-of-care in prison-based programs suggests an alternative interpretation of the usual treatment model, which may be better suited to prison-based programs. In his approach, improved program organization and treatment implementation is utilized to improve the organizational culture and increase client satisfaction and in the program. The increased satisfation, in turn, is believed to lead to higher levels of client participation and motivation that sustain engagement in the treatment process and entry into aftercare programs.

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Updated 05/20/2006