U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Jail and Prison Rehabilitation Services and Supports

Evidence-based & Promising Practices
Shutterstock (see reuse policy).

Featured Resources

SAMHSA Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center provides communities, clinicians, policymakers and others with the information and tools to incorporate evidence-based practices into their communities or clinical settings. Practices focus on prevention, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, and recovery.

The Effectiveness of Prison Programming: A Review of the Research Literature Examining the Impact of Federal, State, and Local Inmate Programming on Post-Release Recidivism

U.S. Courts, Federal Probation Journal (2014)

This review of available research about the recidivism reduction effects of federal, state, and local prison programming attempts to determine to what extent such programming can fairly be described as evidence based. It focuses on the 18 "national model" prison programs identified by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and examines the much larger body of evaluation research conducted on the recidivism reduction effects of state and local prison programs.

Highlighted Programs and Practices

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Criminal Justice Settings

For people with opioid use disorders (OUDs) involved with the criminal justice system, a lack of access to medication-based treatment leads to a greater risk of returning to use and overdose after they are released from incarceration. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has been carefully studied and shown to be effective in treating opioid use disorders (OUDs). Using this evidence, correctional facilities and criminal justice systems can implement policies and practices to intervene during an individual’s time in the correctional system and upon release that moderate and mitigate the risk of overdose for persons with OUD after release.


Juvenile Mentoring Programs

To date, research has found consistently positive results for the use of mentoring with youth identified as at-risk, however, research also shows mixed effects for mentoring programs that serve youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Questions remain regarding how to best ensure that mentoring services have the possibility to reduce recidivism and research points to the need for mentoring services for this population that are responsive to the specific risks and needs of delinquent youth.


Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations 

Drug abuse treatment can be incorporated into criminal justice settings in a variety of ways. Examples include treatment in prison followed by community-based treatment after release; drug courts that blend judicial monitoring and sanctions with treatment by imposing treatment as a condition of probation; and treatment under parole or probation supervision.


Treatment in Secure Corrections for Serious Juvenile Offenders

Interventions targeting serious (violent and chronic) juvenile offenders sentenced to serve time in secure corrections aim to decrease recidivism rates when juveniles are released and return to the community. Looking at serious recidivism (reincarceration or reinstitutionalization), research found that the treatment provided in secure confinement statistically significantly reduced serious recidivism in chronic and violent juvenile offenders.