Antecedent drug and alcohol usage has proven to be a prevalent issue among the
Research has shown that those who were addicted to drugs or alcohol
before their imprisonment resume their addiction upon release and continue to resort to crime
Regrettably, the prior use of drugs and alcohol among inmates before
incarceration has steadily increased in past years.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics on
substance abuse and treatment among state and federal prisoners in 1997, eighty-three percent of
state prisoners reported past drug use, up from seventy-nine percent in 1991.
percent reportedly used drugs in the month before their offense, up from fifty percent.
reported rate of use in the past month increased among federal prisoners from thirty-two percent
in 1991 to forty-five percent.
It was also reported that half of state prisoners and a third of federal
prisoners committed their current offense under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
So how can
this quandary be rectified?
One implied resolution would be for inmates to undergo some form
of substance abuse treatment program.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that a third of
state prisoners and about a quarter of federal prisoners had participated in some type of drug or
alcohol abuse treatment since incarceration.
However, does inmate participation in substance
abuse treatments actually diminish recidivism?
Not all analysis has shown notable changes instigated by inmate participation in these
In 1992, Martin, Lockwood, Inciardi, and Freeman found that among three groups
receiving different treatment interventions, there was no significant decline in recidivism rates.
In 1993, Inciardi, McBride, and Weinman also did not find any recidivism differences between
those receiving only urine monitoring and those receiving treatment.
Most existing research has
shown that substance abuse treatment programs, in fact, do reduce recidivism among inmates.
has been reported that substance abuse programs reduce recidivism, at least among drunk driving
offenders, while punishment does not (Yu, 2000; Pratt, Holsinger, & Latessa, 2000).
whether a program is successful depends on many kinds of variables, including the type of
treatment, how long the inmate has participated in the program, whether he/she is a drop-out,