Does the specialised treatment of drug users in prison have a potential to reduce re-offending? The Czech case


The proportion of drug users among prisoners is significantly higher than in the general (age relevant) population (Griffiths, Nilson, Carpentier, & Merino, 2003). Specific treatment programs for imprisoned drug users have the potential to contribute to reducing criminal recidivism and to rehabilitating or resocializing drug-using prisoners in general. In the Czech Republic, such treatment programs based on the therapeutic work with imprisoned drug users are run at specialised departments for the treatment of drug addiction (SDDA) in eleven prisons (out of 35). The main aims of treatment at SDDA´s are to reduce a risk of re-offending and to change high-risk attitudes, values, and thinking patterns of convicts (Jiřička & Kejřová, 2015). There are two types of specialised departments: (a) “specialised departments for prisoners with personality and behavioural disorders caused by the use of addictive substances” (i.e., the departments for voluntary treatment); and (b) “specialised departments for compulsory treatment of addiction” (i.e., the department for court-ordered treatment).

Using data from a broader research focused on the specific treatment of drug users in prisons, the paper presents findings on the re-offending and the criminal thinking among participants of therapeutic program at SDDA´s in Czech prisons. The program participants´ post-release re-conviction rate was determined from the penal registry database and their criminal thinking was measured by a Czech version of the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles – PICTS-cz (Walters, 1995; Blatníková, Faridová & Vranka, 2016). Results were compared with two control groups – (a) imprisoned addicts/problem users not participating in the program, and (b) imprisoned occasional users/non-users. Findings on program participants´ achievements indicate the positive influence of the program on the re-offending and the criminogenic thinking patterns of imprisoned drug users.


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