Why is it Important to Provide Substance Abuse Services to Offenders?

According to the United States Department of Justice, 70-80 percent of offenders are under supervision for drug-related offenses. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it is estimated that for every dollar spent on addiction treatment programs, there is a $4 to $7 reduction in the cost of drug-related crimes. Studies show that treatment can cut drug abuse in half, reduce criminal activity up to 80 percent, and reduce arrests up to 64 percent. Treatment programs are the best alternative for interrupting the drug abuse and criminal justice cycle for offenders. Below are the principles of drug treatment for offenders under supervision that the Department follows:

  • Educate staff and offenders on how drug addiction affects behavior
  • Assessment is the first step in treatment
  • Tailoring services to fit the need of offenders is important with drug treatment
  • Recovery from drug addiction requires effective treatment, followed by management of the problem over time
  • Treatment must last long enough to produce stable behavioral change
  • Drug use during treatment should be monitored carefully
  • Treatment should target factors associated with criminal behaviors
  • Criminal justice supervision should incorporate treatment planning for drug abusing offenders
  • Continuity of care is essential for drug abusers re-entering the community
  • A balance of rewards and sanctions encourages pro-social behavior and treatment approach
  • Offenders with co-occurring drug abuse and mental health problems often require an integrated treatment approach
  • Treatment planning for drug abusing offenders who are living in or re-entering the community should include strategies to prevent and treat serious, chronic medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis

How does Georgia Department of Corrections Provide Substance Abuse Services to Offenders?

The Substance Abuse Unit within the Georgia Department of Corrections’ Risk Reduction Services oversees all Substance Abuse programming within GDC. The mission of the Substance Abuse unit is to increase public safety by reducing recidivism through continued evidence based substance abuse programming. We provide effective evidence-based programming to appropriately referred offenders, continuous treatment based on needs, and we utilize Certified Addictions Counselors as much as possible to deliver high-quality Substance Abuse programming.

Substance Abuse Unit Staff Development

Addiction Certification Program

GDC has developed an Addiction Certification Program to meet the increasing need for Certified Addiction Counselors who are trained and qualified to deliver addiction services to high risk, high need offenders. GDC pays to send Counselors to school to receive the needed education component and also provides the clinical supervision needed to get their required number of hours to test.

Profile of Substance Abuse Services

Motivation for Change

Motivation for Change provides more intensive programming and helps offenders identify their current stage of change in regards to their criminal behaviors, addictions, attitudes, values, and beliefs. This program is a pre-requisite for all other programming needs.

Program Sites: All Correctional Facilities

Behavior Stabilization

We provide a Cognitive-Behavioral approach to helping drug and alcohol dependent offenders remain sober. This curriculum consists of eight lessons and is a primary treatment substance abuse program developed from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) “Therapy Manuals for Drug Addiction.” NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world’s research on drug abuse. The program can be conducted closed or open ended with 15 to 20 participants. GDC requires an offender to have a Texas Christian University Drug Screen (TCUDS) score of one (1) or higher for placement into this program.

Program Sites: State Prisons, All Probation sites.

Matrix- Early Recovery Skills (ERS)

The Early Recovery Skills Group is an eight-lesson program that is designed to help individuals begin the process of substance abuse recovery. It is a cognitive-behavioral evidenced-based curriculum designed to teach basic recovery skills. GDC requires an offender to have a Texas Christian University Drug Screen (TCUDS) score of two (2) or higher for placement into this program.

Program Sites: Transitional Centers and Savannah Impact Program.

Relapse Prevention

The Relapse Prevention program is a 32-Lesson skills-building group designed for 15 to 20 participants. This program is designed to help teach criminal offenders how they can stay sober and clean. GDC requires an offender to have a Texas Christian University Drug Screen (TCUDS) score of three (3) or higher for placement into this program.

Program Sites: State Prisons, All Probation sites.

AfterCare (SAAS)

The Substance Abuse Aftercare Services (SAAS) Program is a six-month program which targets high risk, high needs offenders who have completed an intensive substance abuse services program. These programs include Day Reporting Centers, Residential Substance Abuse Treatment, and/or approved community programs lasting a minimum of 17 weeks of length.

Program Sites: Day Reporting Centers, Probation Sites

Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT)

An RSAT is a six-month residential substance abuse treatment program which targets high risk, high needs offenders with a history of substance abuse. This program is based on the Therapeutic Community Model. The Therapeutic Community Model has proven to be an effective form of treatment for substance abusers. The design is specific to the needs and dynamic risk factors commonly associated with substance abusers. The primary goal is for program participants to learn real-life ways to help them live a pro-social, productive life free of alcohol and other drugs and crime. Communities are formed when individuals and family groups join for mutual advantage, to protect against common enemies, and to organize to reach common goals. Individuals believe that their purpose can be achieved more effectively as a group than separately. In substance abuse TCs, the common enemy is the addiction, addictive thinking, and the criminal addictive lifestyle. The common goal is pro-social change."Offenders who are referred to RSAT are parole mandated and have a Texas Christian University Drug Screen (TCUDS) score of three (3) or higher.

Program Sites: Coastal SP, Johnson SP, Pulaski SP, and Valdosta SP.

Probation Substance Abuse Treatment Center (PSATC)

This is a six-month residential substance abuse treatment program for Probationers. Offenders are court-mandated for this program and require a Texas Christian University Drug Screen (TCUDS) score of (3) or higher for placement.

Program Sites: Bainbridge Probation Substance Abuse Treatment Center, Northwest Probation Substance Abuse Treatment Center located at Walker State Prison, and Lee Arrendale Probation Substance Abuse Treatment Center located at Lee Arrendale State Prison.

Intensive Re-Entry Program (IRP)

IRP is a 90-day Intensive Re-Entry Program, which targets non-violent offenders with a history of substance abuse as a causative factor leading to correctional supervision. The goal of the IRP is to give offenders tools they can use to abstain from drugs, alcohol and criminal behaviors once released, thereby reducing recidivism.

Program Sites: Coastal SP.

Day Reporting Centers/ Community Impact Programs

Day Reporting Centers and Community Impact Programs provide intensive substance abuse treatment for offenders sentenced by the Courts or who have not responded to more traditional supervision and treatment efforts. Although the cost is slightly more than field probation, a DRC and Community Impact Program is only a fraction of the cost compared to providing a residential alternative. These community-based alternatives operate based on the Principles of Effective Intervention and utilize Evidence-Based Programs that have shown to have a positive effect on reducing recidivism.

Program Sites: Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Clayton, Columbus, Gainesville, Griffin, Macon, Northwest, Rome, Rouse, Tifton, and Savannah

For More Information Contact:

Chandra S. Fussell, Planning & Policy Development Specialist (Manager)
Operations Planning and Training Division
478-992-5928 (Phone)
email: fussec00@dcor.state.ga.us

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1529
Forsyth, GA 31029

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