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Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Evaluation of IDOC Sheridan TC

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Evaluation of IDOC Sheridan TC

The Sheridan Correctional Center reopened in January, 2004 as a unique national model institution aimed at reducing drug crime and drug-related crime by serving as a substance abuse treatment facility with reintegrated reentry services for inmates. The Sheridan program is unique in that the entire medium-security prison is a dedicated therapeutic community substance abuse treatment program.

Although offenders at Sheridan are considered a “serious” population in terms of their criminal records and history of substance abuse, preliminary outcomes comparing the first 721 Sheridan releasees with a matched comparison group of 1,412 offenders released at the same time indicated the following as of 12/31/05:

  • Sheridan participants experienced a 44% lower re-incarceration rate (7% vs. 17%) at 6 months

    post-release than the comparison group.
  • The re-arrest rates for Sheridan participants who spent nine months at Sheridan compared to the comparison group participants were 63% lower.

Dr. David Olson’s Impact Evaluation

The process and initial impact evaluation, conducted by Dr. David Olson of Loyola University Chicago and the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (with guidance provided by Dr. Kevin Knight of TCU), indicated that:

  • Those removed from program for rule violations/failure to participate are different than those who remain. Removals are younger, less likely to be eligible for Earned Good Conduct Credit, and are more likely to be marijuana abusers.
  • The removal rate at Sheridan is better than at most prison-based TCs.
  • The components of effective treatment programs (participation, rapport, etc.) are evident from participant surveys.
  • The treatment dosage is appropriate.
  • Components of effective employment readiness and an employment skill identification program are in place.
  • The recidivism rate is lower and the employment rate higher than similar prison releasees and these rates are likely to improve even more over time.

Treatment Works

These preliminary findings support past research findings that document the fact the “treatment works.” As the Sheridan program reaches capacity and as participants are released in larger numbers to the community, the challenges are the coordination and balance of participant needs, reintegration into the community, and public safety concerns. The estimated savings to the State of Illinois based on Sheridan’s lower reincarceration rate was $2.1 million.*

*Source: Olson, D., Rapp, J., Powers, M., & Karr, S. (2006, May). Sheridan Correctional Center therapeutic community: year 2. Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Program Evaluation Summary, 4(2), 1-4

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