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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

For Immediate Release
May 18, 2001
For More Information
Contact: Richard Nimer
(850) 922-4404

DOC Releases Data on
Substance Abuse Programs

The Florida Department of Corrections analyzed substance abuse program data for offenders on community supervision since 1990. The data continues to show that substance abuse treatment works and is cost effective. Through program monitoring and analysis, DOC enhanced treatment programs. These enhancements continue to produce results in lower recommitment rates. Public safety is increased, money is saved and lives are changed.

Recent research and data analysis conducted by DOC reveals that recommitment rates for community-based, Non-Secure Residential Drug Treatment Programs (NSTP) are significantly lower when a transitional/aftercare component is included as a part of the treatment episode. The national research confirms that the inclusion of a transitional/aftercare element increases the success and effectiveness of drug treatment to offenders.

DOC contracts with community treatment agencies to provide the existing NSTP. These programs are located throughout Florida and provide an average of 60 treatment beds in each facility. There are currently 27 programs operating across the state. The program gives circuit court judges an alternative to sending offenders with drug or alcohol problems to prison and provides these community control or probation offenders with more intensive supervision than ordinary outpatient counseling or short-term in-patient treatment. The American Correctional Association awarded the department the "Exemplary Offender Program Award" for its Non-Secure Drug Treatment Program in January 2000. The program has had a high success rate. Since 1990, the average successful completion rate has been approximately 58%.

A constant challenge in the substance abuse treatment field is developing programs and strategies that result in long-term/permanent recovery. The most recent data gathered by the department reflects a significant reduction in recidivism, when comparing those offenders who completed the program, to those who received no transition/after-care treatment components.

Based on a two and three-year follow-up study of 3,523 offenders who completed a NSTP, DOC discovered the following:

  • During Fiscal Year 97-98 (two-year follow-up) of those offenders completing a NSTP that did not include the transition/aftercare component, the recommitment rate was 30.6%.

  • Offenders completing a NSTP that included a three to six-month transition/aftercare component had a re-commitment rate of 18.2%. This is a 41% improvement in recommitment outcomes.

  • During Fiscal year 96-97 (three-year follow-up) of those offenders completing a NSTP that did not include the aftercare component, the recommitment rate was 36.1%.

  • Offenders completing the NSTP that included the transition/aftercare phase had a re-commitment rate of 22.9%. This is a 37% improvement in recommitment outcomes.

  • This data is encouraging in light of the department's desire to successfully treat offenders, enhance public safety and reduce the cost of supervision and incarceration to the taxpayer.

The NSTP lasts for six months, during which time the offender lives at the facility. The program is divided into two parts: intensive drug treatment, which lasts for two months and employment re-entry, which lasts for four months.

The intensive treatment component includes at least ten hours of drug treatment per week, and focuses on three main areas: addiction education, life management skill building and relapse prevention. The employment/re-entry component consists of a minimum of six hours of drug treatment weekly, and requires the offender to secure full-time employment and participate in treatment activities before or after work. Upon securing gainful employment, the offender pays a portion of the cost of the program. The employment component continues focusing on the three learning areas, but begins a shift toward preparing the offender for entry into the community through employment and a plan for continued sobriety.

The transition component of this program, gradually reintroduces the offender into society.

After the offender completes the six-month residential element of the program, they begin the process of reintegration into the community. This process begins when the offender returns to their place of residence, continues to maintain employment, and reports to the program on a regular basis for therapeutic services. These services include outpatient treatment, individual and group counseling, which gradually decrease in intensity as the offender moves closer to total reintroduction into society. The combination of quality treatment and effective transitional aftercare is proving to be a wise utilization of time and resources in the quest to successfully treat offenders with drug and alcohol problems.

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