Examining the Effectiveness of In-Jail Substance Abuse Treatment

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Thc recent drug use epidemic has led to a significant increase in the number of incarcerated drug-involved inmates throughout the country and has challenged jail and prison administrators to develop programs to reduce drug relapse and drug-related crime. In response to increasing problems of drug dependence among jail inmates, the US. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance in 1987 funded development of three model demonstration jail substance abuse treatment programs. The current study reviews findings from an evaluation of 535 inmates admitted to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Substance Abuse Treatment Program, in Tampa, Florida from 1988 to 1991. Evaluation findings indicate that over a one-year period following release from custody, inmates participating in the six-week jail treatment program remained significantly longer in the community until rearrest, experienced fewer arrests, and served less jail time in comparison to a group of untreated inmates. Significant improvements were also observed in program participants' abilities to use coping skills to effectively respond to high risk situations for drug relapse, in acquisition of knowledge regarding relapse prevention and recovely principles, and in self-confidence in dealing with high risk situations. Implications for development of jail substance abuse treatment programs and for further research are discussed.

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Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, v. 19, issue 3-4, p. 1-39