This 5-year study, proposed by the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center (DARC) and National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), is intended to increase our knowledge of the long-term outcomes and costs of a modified therapeutic community (TC) program for drug-abusing prison inmates. The Amity prison TC Program, established in 1990 at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility near San Diego, has been evaluated previously in a process and outcome study as one project of the NDRI Center on Therapeutic Community Research. The proposed study will conduct 5-year post-treatment follow-up interviews with the same subjects (N=715) and include an analysis of program costs. The Amity TC program provides intensive substance abuse treatment to male inmates for 9 to 12 months. In addition, participant inmates paroling from prison may voluntarily enroll in an aftercare residential program, called Vista, for up to 12 months. The project has the following specific aims: (1) To conduct secondary analyses of data previously collected on the sample. Using existing data from the previous evaluation of the Amity program, project researchers will both analyze issues of interest to the field and establish a foundation for conducting analysis with the 5-year follow-up data to be collected. (2) To assess long-term post-treatment outcomes of a prison-based TC program. Important post-treatment outcomes (drug use, criminality, employment, health status, family relationships, and psychological status) of treatment subjects will be compared with control subjects, for an approximately 5-year period after return to the community. (2A) To determine differential outcomes within selected subgroups.
This aim will examine whether subgroups of the main sample have different long-term outcomes. Subgroups to be included in analysis of this aim will be defined by discharge status (dropped out, completed), race/ethnicity, primary drug problem, criminal history, criminal risk status, and psychiatric status. (2B) To examine factors that contribute to the recovery of drug-abusing offenders who did not participate in treatment. Analysis will address the need to increase our understanding of how drug-abusing offenders who do not enter formal treatment but who reduce or cease drug use are able to do so. We will use new data from the control group of the original Amity evaluation sample. (3) To provide a comprehensive economic cost analysis of the prison TC program, the aftercare TC programs, and the control group.
This aim will provide needed data on the program and treatment costs for three study conditions. Accomplishment of this aim will also lay the foundation for a planned proposal to conduct a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis of prison-based TC programs.