Substance Abuse Treatment Programs in Corrections: An Integrated Approach

Meghan Curran

Major Professor: Faye S. Taxman, PhD, Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Committee Members: Devon Johnson, Danielle Rudes, Cathleen Lewandowski

Commerce Building, #3006
November 19, 2013, 11:00 AM to 08:00 AM


An immense number of offenders are either incarcerated due to drug offenses or have issues with substance abuse.  Treatment is an important component for those individuals who struggle with substance abuse, not only to help with their addiction but also to decrease future recidivism. Despite the promising nature of research on drug abuse treatment and the low prevalence of services provided, many offenders are not able to obtain the appropriate treatment services. In addition to the concern over lack of relevant services, there are also barriers to implementing effective treatment programs. Integrated services between correctional and treatment agencies are greatly desired as a way to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the system and positively impact offenders so that they can break free from the cycle of incarceration.

This study examined the impact of correctional agency organizational factors, administrators’ views on crime and punishment, and structural factors on the number and type of integration of services. Competing values theory was used as a framework for this analysis. Criminal justice administrators face decisions about the type of programs to offer and how to integrate services with other departments, including treatment. Regression models were used to test the hypotheses about factors that affect integrated services. It was found that organizational factors, personal characteristics of administrators, and structural factors combined to provide a statistically significant change in predicting integration of services. In particular, structural factors, organizational culture, and views on crime and punishment were found to have the greatest impact on integrating services.  Understanding what factors affect level of integration is essential because of the desire to provide effective substance abuse treatment to a population of offenders who greatly need it. There are also policy implications to this research as the country moves towards a health care system that provides coverage for offenders who are released from prison, helping them obtain the treatment services that they need as they reenter the community.