THE EFFECT OF THE BOPíS RESIDENTIAL DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT PROGRAM ON PRISONER MISCONDUCT
Executive Summary - 2000
Overview of Study
Results from the Treating Inmates Addicted to Drugs (TRIAD) study found that the Federal Bureau of Prisonsí residential drug abuse program (DAP) reduced arrests and drug use in the six months following subjectsí release from prison, taking into account the effects of self-selection into treatment. The TRIAD study improved upon previous research by considering the entire population of eligible subjects in comparing the outcomes for those who entered and completed treatment and those who did not.
Researchers and prison administrators are also interested in the impact of the DAP program on in-prison misconduct - defined as an infraction of a law or administrative rule by a prison inmate - because inmate misconduct disrupts the order of the institution, endangers the lives of both inmates and staff, and results in considerable economic costs.
Although the purpose of the DAP program has never been explicitly related to the reduction of misconduct, this study tested the hypothesis that the DAP program, which was originally intended to affect post-release behaviors, also reduces in-prison inmate misconduct. If this is true, then these programs should be acknowledged for providing an effective inmate management tool for correctional administrators.
The study sample consisted of 826 treated men, 1,534 untreated men (comparison subjects), 126 treated women, and 276 untreated women (comparison subjects). Approximately one-third of the subjects had committed at least one misconduct during the course of their incarceration prior to treatment. Treatment graduates were included in the study if they had at least 30 days in prison after completing treatment. Treatment subjects graduated between June 1992 and August 1996 from one of 20 programs located in minimum, low and medium security institutions and remained in prison for an average of 14 months following treatment completion. Comparison subjects were selected during the same time period from among inmates with a history of drug use who either did not have treatment available to them or who had treatment available but chose not to volunteer for treatment. Although comparison subjects did not "graduate" from treatment, we observed the behavior of both sets of subjects for a similar time period. We did so by matching comparison subjects and treatment subjects by time served and assigning a "faux" graduation date to comparison subjects.
We assessed whether treatment subjects experienced a greater decline in misconduct after graduation than did comparison subjects, taking into account the effects of a variety of other factors which prior research has shown to be correlated with prison misconduct. These factors included age, race, severity of current offense, previous commitments, sentence length, history of violence, and history of previous misconduct. We also assessed whether there were gender differences and controlled for self-selection into treatment.
The results showed that the probability of engaging in misconduct after treatment was reduced by 74% for substance abuse treatment program graduates compared to untreated subjects. The probability of post-treatment misconduct was 9% for treatment graduates as compared with 27% for comparison subjects. Consistent with prior research, younger inmates, those with more time in prison following treatment, and those who committed more infractions prior to treatment were more likely to commit an infraction following treatment. Male treatment graduates were not any more or less likely than female graduates to engage in misconduct after treatment. The magnitude of this treatment benefit suggests that prison-based substance abuse treatment serves as an effective management tool for both men and women within the prison environment.
Our results indicate that prison-based drug treatment has a positive effect on in-prison behavior of both men and women. Indeed, the findings are all the more notable because they show that drug rehabilitation resources need not be concentrated toward juveniles or first offenders, but that it is also tenable for a population of adult offenders with varying degrees of criminal history. The biopsychosocial model based on a cognitive behavioral theory of treatment which focuses on reinforcing behaviors which lead to improved relationships likely contributed to the in-prison behavior change noted in this study. In particular, identifying and restructuring criminal thinking processes may have assisted participants with avoiding further infractions following treatment. The skills needed to stay out of trouble following treatment and while still in prison are also directly applicable to staying away from unlawful behavior following incarceration. The results of this study speak to the role of prison-based rehabilitation programs in managing inmate behavior while addressing an important area of the nationís serious drug problem.