Tempest in a TC: Changing treatment providers for in-prison therapeutic communities

Christine A. Saum, Daniel J. O'Connell, Steven S. Martin, Matthew L. Hiller, Grant A. Bacon, D. Dwayne Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Corrections officials frequently use private contractors to operate in-prison, therapeutic community (TC) treatment programs. However, the recurrent competitive bidding process inherent in state agencies contracting for services sometimes results in a treatment-provider change. Few studies have focused on whether this change leads to better or worse treatment motivation and engagement for clients and how it might be evaluated. Using data collected during the larger Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies Performance Indicators for Corrections study, quantitative assessments of client functioning were made at two points in time. Changing to new treatment providers in three in-prison TC treatment facilities caused significant disruptions, leading to decreased client-counselor rapport and peer support as well as lower levels of treatment readiness, participation, and satisfaction of clients. Qualitative client and staff interviews provided further insight relevant for correctional administrators and treatment providers who may be considering similar changes. General recommendations for provider transition planning are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1178
Number of pages11
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law


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