46.1% of incarcerated people in the US are serving time for drug-related crimes.
Benefits of Treatment for Inmates
For inmates with substance abuse disorders, treatment is absolutely vital. In fact, expanding treatment resources for inmates provides benefits for society as a whole. Studies show that when inmates have access to drug and alcohol treatment programs, they:
- Are less likely to relapse than those who don’t receive treatment.
- Have an easier time finding employment.
- Integrate more easily back into society.
- Are less likely to commit further crimes.
Residential Drug Abuse Treatment
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has implemented a program for inmates who need drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
Some participants take part in the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). During RDAP, participants live in a separate community from the rest of the prison population. The program, which lasts for nine months, teaches participants the skills that they’ll need to transition back into society. It also uses principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help participants learn to resist triggers and deal with stressors.
What about inmates who have shorter sentences? Do they have drug treatment options? The answer is yes. In addition to RDAP, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has developed a non-residential treatment program. Though less intensive, the non-residential program operates under the same principles as RDAP. Those who participate in the non-residential drug treatment program still live in the same area as non-participants. For a 12-week period, participants attend group therapy sessions based on CBT. Like the residential program, the non-residential version teaches the skills necessary for maintaining sobriety, avoiding crime, and re-entering society after prison.
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SMART Recovery, an independent organization, is a network of secular support groups for people with drug and alcohol addictions. Several years ago, SMART Recovery developed a program called Inside Out, adapting their approach to the needs of incarcerated people. They host 90-minute meetings in which participants work through the materials and talk to one another. Like the Bureau-led programs mentioned above, SMART Recovery uses techniques from CBT to help participants recognize and reframe their mental stressors.
12 Step Groups
Some prisons work with local 12 Step groups, allowing meetings inside the facility. 12 Step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous for example, introduce participants to a spiritual pathway toward sobriety. In a 12 Step group, participants acknowledge their addictions, learn to recognize a Higher Power, make amends for past wrongs, and seek continued self-improvement.
What Happens After Prison?
If you have recently been released from prison or anticipate being released soon, keep seeking treatment for drug and alcohol use. Those who don’t participate in continued treatment are more prone to early relapse than those who do, and the period immediately after release carries the most risk. Thankfully, in addition to their residential and non-residential programs, the Federal Bureau of Prisons does offer follow-up help after release. They work with social workers and other professionals to help former prisoners continue to get help for substance abuse disorders. This program is called Community Treatment Services, and you should absolutely take advantage of the program if it is available to you.
A 2012 survey of studies found that about 40% of people who do not continue to stay in recovery after being treated for addiction ultimately relapse.
After release from prison, you might also try to find a therapist as soon as possible. Some therapists specialize in working with former inmates, and many therapists offer sliding scale payment options for those who otherwise can’t afford the cost of treatment. CBT, talk therapy, and many other kinds of therapy can help you stay sober after your release from prison. Furthermore, support groups like 12 Step programs or SMART Recovery can be found all across the country, and you might decide to attend meetings.
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Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction can be difficult enough when you don’t have to research your options from prison. Incarceration can make recovery much more difficult if nobody teaches you the right skills. Rehab Info is here to help you get the treatment that you need.