A systematic review of evaluations of prison-based alcohol and other drug use behavioural treatment for men. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
A review of the international literature suggests that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) within a therapeutic community (TC) setting is the most effective form of behavioural treatment for substance use problems in prisons. However, the authors note that there is a lack of good quality studies, particularly within Australia, that demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in re-imprisonment associated with treatment.
A history of alcohol and other drug (AoD) use is common among men entering prison and often linked to the crime for which they are imprisoned. The authors conducted the first systematic review of prison based, behavioural AoD treatment programs for more than a decade and the first that reviews the methodological quality of evaluations. The review aimed to create an understanding of the quality of research in this field and identify the most effective AoD use treatment for men in prison.
Although there is relatively little methodologically strong evidence of the impact of prison‐based AoD treatment, and no Australian studies, current best‐evidence practice is CBT delivered in TC settings.
The authors conclude that prison‐based TC treatment should be available to people in prison who have a history of AoD use. However, they note that there is a pressing need for methodologically sound evaluations of treatment programs for Indigenous Peoples given their relatively poor health status compared to non-indigenous populations. They also note that none of the studies they evaluated included economic cost benefit evaluations.