Select a sub-population of inmates who might be prone to chemical use and dependency and reflect on their specific needs.

Discussion – Week 10

Substance Abuse Assessment Instruments in Correctional Settings

With a significantly high rate of incarcerated individuals serving prison sentences for charges related to illicit substances, today’s correctional forensic psychology professional would be handicapped without considerable knowledge in the area of substance abuse assessment and treatment. Perhaps the greatest number of people treated for substance abuse problems receive such treatment within a correctional setting. This week’s Discussion focuses on various instruments used to assess substance abuse and/or dependence. Some of these instruments have been designed well and have good test construction histories behind them, whereas others do not. This week’s Discussion also helps you become better acquainted with assessing as instrument’s utility in this regard.

To prepare for this Discussion:

• Review the online report, “Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research-Based Guide” by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Reflect on the principles of treating drug and alcohol abuse and addiction in a correctional facility, as well as on the role of assessments in the treatment of inmates with chemical dependency and the impact that poor assessments and insufficient treatment may have on the health and recovery of inmates.

• Select a sub-population of inmates who might be prone to chemical use and dependency and reflect on their specific needs.

• Review the course document, “Substance Abuse Assessment Instruments.” Consider the type of assessment instrument you might use to help evaluate the level of chemical dependency and treatment needs for the sub-population you selected.

• Select two assessment instruments from the list that you think might best help assess the sub-population you selected. Research the instruments either in your course text or in the Mental Measurements Yearbook database. Consider their reliability, validity, construction, and the strengths and limitations of each when applied to the specific sub-population.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 4 a brief description of the sub-population of inmates for whom you selected assessment instruments. Then, describe the two assessment instruments you selected, including any normative data and data on their reliability and validity. Explain how the instruments might be used to assess substance abuse and addiction for the sub-population you described. Finally, analyze their strengths and weaknesses when used to assess this sub-population.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

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