Female prisoners who are not enrolled in a drug treatment program after they are released are 10 times more likely to return to custody within a year compared with prisoners not in a drug program, a new study finds. More than a third of female prisoners who are not participating in a drug program return to prison within the first six months.
The researchers say that their findings underscore the importance of treatment programs for prisoners with substance abuse problems once they have been released, Science Daily reports. “Strategies that improve access to community aftercare are imperative for improving the life chances and health of these women,” they write in the American Journal of Public Health.
The researchers studied the Community Relapse Prevention and Maintenance Program in Canada, which was developed for women on parole from federal prisons. The drug treatment program included 20 weekly group sessions, each lasting for two hours.
Lead researcher Flora Matheson said that women prisoners face many barriers to participating in post-release treatment programs, including childcare and difficulty finding transportation.