The seven million adults currently involved in the criminal justice system (CJS), approximately two million individuals are incarcerated in prison or jail (Glaze &Parks, 2012). Almost half of individuals incarcerated in jail meet criteria for an alcohol use disorder (AUD;American Psychiatric Association, 2000), which is a greater proportion than individuals incarcerated in state or federal prisons (Compton, Dawson, Duffy, &Grant, 2010). Further, a third of convicted jail inmates reported being under the influence of alcohol at the time of their offense, with a higher percentage of incarcerated offenders of violent crimes being under the influence of alcohol (37.6%;Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010). The number of individuals who are involved with the CJS, particularly those who are incarcerated, is an important area of attention because of the high costs that the CJS incurs ($75 billion a year;Schmitt, Warner, &Gupta, 2010). Despite the strong association of alcohol use with criminal behaviors and the high costs associated with incarceration, little is known about how to best address, treat, and rehabilitate individuals with AUDs involved with the CJS. The strong support for alcohol treatments, such as brief and motivational interventions (Miller &Wilbourne, 2002;McMurran, 2009;Moyer, Finney, Swearingen, &Vergun, 2002), provides encouraging evidence that using these approaches with inmates with AUDs could be helpful. Further, social networks appear to influence the substance use of offenders recently incarcerated, particularly during the first month out of jail (Owens &McCrady, in press). Implementing a treatment induction method just prior to being released from jail, such as a brief motivational intervention, that targets alcohol use and social networks, may be particularly effective in improving post-release outcomes for inmates with AUDs. The proposed study is innovative in that it will build upon the previous work of Owens and McCrady (in press) by uniquely combining their research on social networks with the use of a brief motivational intervention to improve the post-release outcomes of inmates with alcohol use disorders. With the committed support of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, all recruitment and baseline procedures will take place while individuals are incarcerated. Inmates with alcohol use disorders who are being released from jail in less than 14 days will be consented and randomized in a two-group study design that compares a brief motivational intervention with a control condition. The brief motivational intervention will target substance use treatment attendance, alcohol and other drug use, and social networks, and it is hypothesized that participants in this group will show increased levels of motivation and confidence to attend treatment, decrease their alcohol and other drug use, and change their social networks after they are released. Participants then will be contacted for a 4-week follow-up interview after they are released from jail to assess treatment attendance, alcohol and other drug use, and social networks.

Public Health Relevance

Almost half of all jail inmates meet criteria for an alcohol use disorder and a third of convicted jail inmates were intoxicated at the time of their offense, and yet there are no known efficacious treatments for inmates with alcohol use disorders being released from jail. When individuals with alcohol use disorders are released from jail they often return to environments that put them at high risk for relapse on alcohol and drugs and thus are more likely to be rearrested and reincarcerated. The proposed research will test a brief motivational intervention that could help to improve the post-incarceration outcomes of inmates with alcohol use disorders being released from jail.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Biomedical Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
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Ruffin, Beverly
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University of New Mexico
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Owens, Mandy D; Chen, Jessica A; Simpson, Tracy L et al. (2018) Barriers to addiction treatment among formerly incarcerated adults with substance use disorders. Addict Sci Clin Pract 13:19
Owens, Mandy D; Rowell, Lauren N; Moyers, Theresa (2017) Psychometric properties of the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity coding system 4.2 with jail inmates. Addict Behav 73:48-52
Owens, Mandy D; McCrady, Barbara S (2016) A Pilot Study of a Brief Motivational Intervention for Incarcerated Drinkers. J Subst Abuse Treat 68:1-10