Case Study on Best Practices on Corrections

Case Study on Best Practices on Corrections

One of the main misconceptions made by substance use providers is to perceive clients or the corrections population as people who have problems of addiction. For this reason, criminal behavior is viewed as a consequence of addiction rather than a basis to administer a correctional program. In the US, recommendation on substance abuse intervention and treatment is assessment driven and guided by patient placement criterion such as the American Society Addiction Medicine Patient Placement Criteria for the Treatment of Substance-Related Disorders (Pallone & Sims, 2012). When in a correctional facility for substance abuse, diagnosis and other placement decisions can be adjusted accordingly since the offender is in a controlled environment. In relation to this, best practices in correctional substance abuse treatment call for additional factors to be considered in the assessment and effective treatment of substance abuse offenders.  According to researchers, correctional substance abuse programs in the US are considered to be effective in the application of the best practices.

For a correctional substance abuse facility to be effective, it is necessary to develop a treatment plan that addresses the clients’ needs. This is one of the elements in the programs that apply best practices in correctional substance abuse. This has to adhere to the treatment goals that are derived from a detailed biopsychosocial assessment. In the US, the skills of the clinicians who assess the development of treatment plans are extensive and cover areas such as human behavior. This helps the clinicians to assess the severity of substance abuse in offenders before administering the treatment (Pallone & Sims, 2012). Additional skills for clinicians dealing with correctional substance abuse include problem resolution and conflict management since some of the offenders may be in the advanced stages of abuse. It is also a practice in the US, for the correctional facilities to develop a recidivism prevention plan. Ideally, best practices in the development of a treatment plan focus on correctional goals, change of attitudes, and instilling a sense of social responsibility to the substance abuse offenders.

In the treatment processes, a treatment curriculum that is specific to the needs of the corrections population is developed. Also included in the curriculum is the need to integrate the client into various stages of change expected to be experienced during the correctional process. One of the most effective treatment processes used in the United States is the group treatment (Pallone & Sims, 2012). This treatment allows clients to witness the recovery of others and learn how to avoid the use of substances to trigger certain social behaviors.

In addition to the treatment process, Therapeutic Communities (TCs) have also demonstrated to be among the most effective substance abuse treatment programs in the US. Mainly, TCs operate in structured environments that offer experiential learning process where positive peer pressure and adherence to the set rules is used to reinforce positive behavior among the offenders (De Leon, 2005). Similarly, the best practices are also applied when treating female and juvenile offenders in various correctional substance abuse facilities in the US. In relation to this, adolescent users need special attention due to their developmental issues. In the same context, treatment staff receives specialized treatment the unique treatment needs of the female offenders. In general, the program elements and structures for the correctional substance abuse in the US continue to enhance the best practices due to the government’s commitment in dealing with this issue.



De Leon, G. (2005). The Therapeutic Community: Theory, Model and Method. New York:            Springer.

Pallone, L. & Sims, B. (2012). Substance Abuse Treatment with Correctional Clients: Practical     Implications for Institutional and Community Settings. New York: Routledge.


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