215601 Sober Living Houses for Substance Abusing Offenders

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 11:21 AM - 11:38 AM

Douglas Polcin, EdD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Rachael A. Korcha, MA , Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville, CA
Jason Bond, PhD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Gantt Galloway, PharmD , Addiction Pharmacology Research Laboratory, California Pacifc Medical Center, San Francisco, CA
Lack of a stable, alcohol- and drug-free living environment for criminal justice offenders is a major obstacle to successful community re-entry. In California, two-thirds of parolees released from state prisons are re-incarcerated within 3 years, resulting in hazardous prison overcrowding. This study evaluated sober living houses (SLHs) as a recovery option for criminal justice offenders. SLHs are alcohol- and drug-free living environments for individuals attempting to establish or maintain sobriety. They are financed primarily through resident fees and individuals can stay as long as they wish. A peer oriented model of recovery is emphasized and attendance at mutual help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous is mandated or strongly encouraged. We compared outcomes for 71 SLH residents referred from the criminal justice system (58% white, 86% male) with outcomes for 172 other residents (78% white and 74% male). Generalized Estimating Equations compared baseline measures with 6-, 12-, and 18-month follow up for both groups. Relative to their pre-baseline functioning, criminal justice offenders showed significant longitudinal improvement on measures of substance use, arrests, and work. On most measures, criminal justice referred residents had similar outcomes to those not referred from the criminal justice system. However, criminal justice offenders had lower engagement in 12-step groups, significantly more difficulty finding and maintaining employment, and higher arrest rates. Results suggest that SLHs should be considered as a viable option for substance abuse offenders in need of housing, but they may need additional assistance to engage in 12-step groups, find work, and avoid re-arrests.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health administration or related administration
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Evaluate Sober Living Houses as a recovery option for substance using offenders. 2) Compare outcomes of offender and non-offender residents living in Sober Living Houses. 3) Identify additional services that might facilitate better outcome for offenders living in Sober Living Houses.

Keywords: Drug Abuse Treatment, Criminal Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a Senior Scientist at the Alcohol Research Group and have been prensenting similar talks at conferences for many years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.