Returning Home Illinois Policy Brief: Treatment Matching

Brief

Returning Home Illinois Policy Brief: Treatment Matching

Abstract

An ever-increasing number of prisoners need substance abuse treatment, yet state and federal governments continue to cut funding for prison programs. This increased need coupled with reduced service availability leads to the crucial question: Are limited drug treatment resources being targeted to those with the greatest needs? Through an analysis of pre- and post-release data collected from 251 prisoners in Illinois, this research brief examines the degree to which prisoners with self-reported drug problems receive in-prison substance abuse treatment services, and then receive post-release treatment as well. We find minimal evidence of treatment matching and/or continuity of treatment from pre- to post-release. Yet, we also note that the timing of our data collection precedes Illinois's establishment of the Sheridan National Model Drug Prison and Reentry Program in January 2004, which has since become the largest fully dedicated drug treatment prison in the nation. We offer a number of policy and practice suggestions for improving correctional service delivery of substance abuse treatment.

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