Economic evaluation of a prerelease substance abuse treatment program for repeat criminal offenders

Michael French, Hai Fang, Ralph Fretz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Substance use disorders are common conditions among repeat criminal offenders. Without addressing these underlying substance use behaviors, parolees are significantly more likely to recidivate within 1 year of release. New Jersey is one of the first states to actively pursue substance abuse treatment options for inmates who are in the final stages of their sentences. Given the fiscal realities of taxpayer-supported programs, such initiatives must clearly demonstrate economic benefits for sustainability and growth. This article conducted one of the few comprehensive economic evaluations of prerelease substance abuse treatment to determine whether Community Education Centers' programs in New Jersey generated desirable outcomes, significant economic benefits, and positive net benefits. Relative to a matched comparison group of offenders who did not receive treatment, the intervention group returned an average economic benefit of $4,307 to $6,209 over the 1-year postrelease period. These economic benefits are underscored by the fact that the treatment program is housed in a separate facility, with a lower average per diem from that of the general inmate population. These results provide quantitative economic evidence that prerelease substance abuse treatment programs have the potential to reduce recidivism and save taxpayer dollars without adding to existing prison resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

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Substance-Related Disorders
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Economics
Therapeutics
Prisons
Research Design
Education
Growth
Population

Keywords

  • Cost
  • Economic benefits
  • Substance abuse treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Economic evaluation of a prerelease substance abuse treatment program for repeat criminal offenders. / French, Michael; Fang, Hai; Fretz, Ralph.

In: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Vol. 38, No. 1, 01.2010, p. 31-41.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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