Enhancing Health Among Drug Users in Prison
Sammanfattning: Four interrelated studies on drug users in prison are presented within the framework of a proposed model for approaching the enhancement of health for persons that builds on an existential view of prisoners’ needs, as well as the risk management and “good lives” perspectives. Risk management is the major focus in current offender rehabilitation based on research on “what works,” which has shown that focusing treatment on risk factors termed “criminogenic needs,” such as impulsivity, poor family relations and drug abuse, reduces recidivism by 10-15 percentage points. The “good lives” perspective proposes that offender rehabilitation should go beyond risk management and also address non-criminogenic needs such as autonomy, relatedness and competence as foundations for building personally meaningful lives.Study I explores the assessment of drug use problems, and describes the psychometric evaluation of the Drug Use Disorders Identification Test (DUDIT), a newly developed 11-item test for quick screening of drug-related problems. Studies II-IV explore treatment for offenders in prison identified as drug users. Study II is a randomized controlled trial of two auricular acupuncture treatments for men and women in prison, inconclusive with regard to point specificity but showing that participants in both groups reported reduced symptoms of discomfort and improved night-time sleep. Study III evaluates the Reasoning & Rehabilitation program, an internationally widespread cognitive-behavioral program for groups of offenders. Results showed significant pro-social short-term changes in sense of coherence, impulsivity and attitudes towards the criminal justice system, as well as a 25% lower risk of reconviction among program completers compared to matched controls. However, the quasi-experimental nature of the study precludes any certainty regarding program effects; a selection bias whereby more motivated program participants are recruited could explain the findings. Study IV is a pilot project exploring the special needs of a subgroup of drug-using inmates with psychiatric and/or violent co-morbidity. Inmates housed in psychiatric prison units were offered long-term auricular acupuncture treatment. Half of the 22 inmates in the study received treatment twice a week for over eight weeks, and those treated over 25 times had lower psychopharmacological medication levels than untreated controls.Studies I-IV address individual facets of a proposed model for enhancing health among drug users in prison. The health enhancement model approaches offender rehabilitation from perspectives of existential psychology, good lives and risk management. Specific definitions of physical, social, psychological/personal and spiritual needs indicate a framework according to which prison treatment can help drug-using offenders find ways to secure healthy need satisfaction.
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