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This article presents a qualitative analysis of participants’ perceptions of the importance of motivation in the detoxification and rehabilitation process. As part of an outcome evaluation of recovering drug addicts who participated in a prison-based therapeutic community, 39 participants (a nonrandomized subsample) are interviewed regarding their rehabilitation and reintegration experiences. Although many studies show that participation in prison-based drug treatment programs reduces the likelihood of recidivism, clients in this study suggest that other factors might be equally important, and in particular clients’ own motivation to change their lives. This study raises some questions about the true ability of drug treatment programs to treat and rehabilitate drug-abusing offenders, diverting the emphasis from the treatment program itself to the participants’ motivation to change. Findings are discussed in regard to prison-based drug treatment programs, after-release impediments encountered by inmates, and inmates’ expectations of successful reintegration into the normative noncriminal society.


Published originally in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, August 2010



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