Federal inmates who participated in the residential drug abuse treatment program (DAP) during
their imprisonment were less likely to be re-arrested or to become involved in further drug use
following their release, according to a new study conducted by Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP)
research staff. The study was comprised of 1,866 inmates at 20 institutions. Specifically, Federal
inmates who were treated for their drug abuse were 73 percent less likely to be re-arrested in the
first six months after release than untreated inmates. Similarly, among inmates who had drug
urinalysis tests under post-release supervision, those inmates who received treatment were 44
percent less likely than those who had not received treatment to be detected for drug use within the
first six months of their release.
This evaluation, which was conducted with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse,
reveals that, of the offenders who completed the drug abuse treatment program and had been released
to the community for a minimum of six months, only 3.3 percent were re-arrested and 20.5 percent
were likely to use drugs again. These findings suggest that participation in drug abuse treatment
while confined assists inmates during the initial resettlement period, and offers encouragement for
the conclusion that this correctional program is making a difference in the lives of offenders and
reducing the likelihood of future criminal conduct.
The residential drug treatment program is a unit-based program that affords inmates up to 500
hours of treatment, focusing on individual responsibility and changing future behavior. The goal of
the program is to attempt to identify, confront, and alter the attitudes, values, and thinking
patterns that led to criminal behavior and drug or alcohol use. Most program content is standardized,
and includes sessions on Screening and Assessment, Treatment Orientation, Criminal Lifestyle
Confrontation, Cognitive Skill Building, Relapse Prevention, Interpersonal Skill Building, and
The FBOP operates a comprehensive residential drug abuse treatment program for the 30 percent of
Federal inmates who have a history of moderate to severe substance abuse. The FBOP offers a
continuum of care, consisting of residential and non-residential treatment, drug education,
counseling services, and community corrections and post-release services. The FBOP is able to
provide drug treatment to all inmates who need it and are willing to accept it.
The FBOP has operated drug treatment programs since 1966. Currently, the FBOP operates 42
residential treatment programs, with a combined annual capacity of over 6,000 participants. There
are currently over 110,000 inmates in the Federal prison system.
The FBOP has received the full support of the Administration and Congress in providing the
resources necessary to implement effective Drug Abuse Treatment programs.