Evidence-based treatment practices for drug-involved adults in the criminal justice system.

Document Type

Article, Non peer-reviewed

Publication Date



OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to estimate the extent and organizational correlates of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in correctional facilities and community-based substance abuse treatment programs that manage drug-involved adult offenders. METHODS: Correctional administrators and treatment program directors affiliated with a national sample of 384 criminal justice and community-based programs providing substance abuse treatment to adult offenders in the United States were surveyed in 2004. Correctional administrators reported the availability of up to 13 specified EBPs, and treatment directors up to 15. The sum total of EBPs indicates their extent. Linear models regress the extent of EBPs on variables measuring structure and leadership, culture and climate, administrator attitudes, and network connectedness of the organization. RESULTS: Most programs offer fewer than 60% of the specified EBPs to drug-involved offenders. In multiple regression models, offender treatment programs that provided more EBPs were community based, accredited, and network connected, with a performance-oriented, nonpunitive culture, more training resources, and leadership with a background in human services, a high regard for the value of substance abuse treatment, and an understanding of EBPs. CONCLUSIONS: The use of EBPs among facility- and community-based programs that serve drug-involved adult offenders has room for improvement. Initiatives to disseminate EBPs might target these institutional and environmental domains, but further research is needed to determine whether such organization interventions can promote the uptake of EBPs.