Post-release substance abuse treatment for criminal offenders: A cost-effectiveness analysis

Kathryn E. McCollister, Michael T. French, James A. Inciardi, Clifford A. Butzin, Steven S. Martin, Robert M. Hooper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of Delaware's CREST Outreach Center, a work release therapeutic community (TC) and aftercare program for criminal offenders. Treatment effectiveness was assessed using the number of days reincarcerated during an 18-month, post-release follow-up period. The 6-month CREST program cost $1937 for the average participant, and led to ∼30 fewer days incarcerated (29% less) than the average participant in a standard work release program. This implies that the CREST program reduced incarceration for criminal offenders at an average cost of $65 per day. The additional investment of $935 per client to provide aftercare services led to 49 fewer days incarcerated (43% less) than CREST work release-only participants. This suggests that by adding an aftercare component to the CREST work release program, a day of incarceration is avoided at an average cost of $19 per day. These findings have implications for future investments in post-release substance abuse treatment for criminal offenders. However, the results must be interpreted with caution given potential selection bias in the groups that participated in the CREST work release and aftercare programs. Selection bias and the policy implications of this research are noted and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-407
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

Keywords

  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Criminal offenders
  • Substance abuse treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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