January 13, 2006
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Contact: Public Affairs Office
Tallahassee - The Florida Department of Corrections today announced an innovative joint research partnership with the Florida State University (FSU), which will include a rigorous assessment of drug rehabilitation efforts in the Florida prison system.
"Every prison system in America has some form of drug treatment," said Corrections Secretary James V. Crosby, Jr. "The Department - and taxpayers - want to stem the flow of addicted offenders re-entering society, and this study will confirm whether today's methods work best with today's offenders."
Secretary Crosby requested the study, after Department researchers determined a more extensive effort was needed to determine the effectiveness of current treatment methods in Florida's prison system.
"This study will provide research that will set the standard for future studies in this area," said Dr. Thomas Blomberg, Dean of the FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. "We believe the study is the first of its kind. It will require a great deal of determination and commitment."
Current literature indicates that drug treatment is effective, but heretofore no studies have been as rigorous as the proposed study will be.
FSU's Office of Research, Human Subject Committee, examined all aspects of the study to ensure it meets the highest ethical and academic standards. The University's Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research will conduct the independent research.
"Approximately three out of every four inmates have histories of substance abuse. We also know that of the nearly 600,000 inmates released every year in this country, about one-in-four will return to prison within three years. This study will better define the relationship between inmate substance abuse and recidivism, thereby potentially reducing this problematic trend," Blomberg added.
As Florida inmates enter the prison system, they will be given an opportunity to participate in the study. Inmates who choose to participate will be randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. The treatment group will receive services based on their level of substance abuse need.
Data will be collected over a three year period and analyzed to determine whether inmates who participated in treatment were less likely to recidivate than those who did not. The results of the unprecedented study could impact the method and manner in which treatment is funded and implemented.
The Department's substance abuse screening process indicates about 55,000 inmates on any given day require substance abuse treatment. Currently the prison system has 2,300 substance abuse treatment slots. In FY 2004-05, 6300 inmates received substance abuse treatment, which ranges from four months to one year.
The study is scheduled to begin January 2006, and the first preliminary results will be available in 2009.