skip to content

Reentry Resource Center - New York

Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

Treatment Behind Bars: Substance Abuse Treatment in New York State Prisons, 2007-2010 (Correctional Association)

  • Organization: The Correctional Association of New York
  • Author: Cindy Eigler at
  • Document Type: Report
  • Date Created: Monday, February 28, 2011
  • Submitted: Monday, March 07, 2011
  • Attachment(s): PDF

The Correctional Association of New York (CA), the State's oldest criminal justice organization, has released the report Treatment Behind Bars: Substance Abuse Treatment in New York State Prisons, 2007-2010, the first-ever comprehensive review of the State's prison-based substance abuse treatment programs. The report culminates a three-year study conducted by the CA's Prison Visiting Project, including visits to 23 prisons; interviews with experts, treatment staff and participants; and, the analysis of over 2,300 inmate surveys and system-wide data. Especially given the current focus on cost savings, public health and public safety, the report creates significant opportunities for New York policy makers in four important areas: improving the effectiveness of prison treatment programs; using existing evidence-based instruments and programming to reduce the current costs of providing treatment in New York's prisons; making a difference in communities affected by high recidivist rates and drug use; and, promoting best practices that, in effect, provide national leadership for policy makers and prison officials committed to curbing drug abuse among currently and formerly incarcerated individuals.

Sixty of New York State's 67 correctional facilities operate 119 substance abuse treatment programs, comprising approximately 10,000 treatment slots, and serving about 34,000 inmates annually. The CA's report includes major findings regarding the system's programs such as: (1) an overly broad and inadequate screening and assessment process; (2) a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment programs; (3) significant variability among treatment programs; (4) treatment staff with varying degrees of experience, training, skills and commitment; (5) limited clinical supervision and program oversight; and (6) insufficient discharge planning and reentry services.


Executive Summary

Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net