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Spectrum has a proven track record of measuring program participants’ attitudinal and behavioral change, and monitoring the overall quality and effectiveness of treatment. Program efficacy is regularly assessed using outcome measurements that track program completion rates, client satisfaction, coping skills and criminal thinking. This occurs during all phases of treatment to provide programs with real-time information to support program fidelity, pro-social growth and ultimately public safety.

Recidivism Reduction

Recidivism is arguably the single most common measure of program effectiveness for correctional treatment programs. A report from the Bureau of Justice Services revealed that nearly 60 percent of state prisoners conditionally released returned to incarceration in 5 years.

Meta-analyses completed by Steve Aos (2006) at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, (WSIPP) showed that carefully targeted rehabilitation and treatment programs can reduce offender recidivism by estimates of 10-20%. Across the country, Spectrum has consistently demonstrated significantly lower recidivism rates for offenders completing our programs as noted below:


According to a recidivism study conducted by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget in Georgia, Spectrum’s Correctional Recovery Academy™ programs lowered the recidivism rate of participants. Nineteen percent (19%) of program completers returned to prison within three years of release compared to twenty-eight percent (28%) for non-participants, representing a thirty-two percent (32%) reduction in recidivism.


A recidivism study conducted by the University of Southern Maine Muskee School of Public Service indicated that offenders completing Spectrum’s Correctional Recovery Academy™ program returned to prison fifty percent (50%) less than offenders from the general population.

Only 16 of 110 offenders (15%) completing Spectrum’s outpatient substance abuse treatment program during a three year period returned to prison. Eighty-five percent (85%) of program completers remained conviction free.


Nearly two thousand clients completed Spectrum’s programming over a seven year period. Only 11% of released offenders returned to prison within one year, 23% within two years, 29% within three years, and 35% within four years. These results are based upon recidivism data reported by the Management and Information Systems Division of the Tennessee Department of Correction for annual data tracking and grant reporting purposes, (August 2015).

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Corrections Planning & Research Unit conducted an evaluation of Spectrum’s Think First Program using the Correctional Program Checklist (CPC) in July 2017. The program was rated as “highly effective.” The evaluators noted: “Think First may be a valuable resource to other facilities at RIDOC, particularly in facilities where assaultive incidences are high.”

Less than seven percent (6.7%) of male offenders and thirteen percent (13%) of female offenders completing Spectrum’s in-prison residential substance abuse treatment programs returned to prison within one year of release compared to thirty-two percent (32%) of the general population.

Sixteen percent (16%) of male program completers and twenty-two percent (22%) of female program completers returned to prison after two years compared to forty-five percent (45%) in the general population. According to the PEW Center on the States, more than fifty percent (50%) of all offenders released from prison in Rhode Island are returned to prison within three years.


Eight hundred seventy-one (871) offenders completed Spectrum’s programming over a three year period. Of those offenders, less than eighteen percent (17.7%) returned to prison within two years.

According to a Washington Department of Corrections study, only thirteen percent (13%) of women completing Spectrum’s therapeutic community program returned to prison within two years of release. The study noted that “these statistics suggest that TC treatment at MCCCW is correlated with a low return-to-prison rate.”


A Massachusetts Department of Correction Recidivism Study on Spectrum Recovery Academy Participants revealed a 30.3% lower recidivism rate for program participants compared to non-participants. The study went on to note “this finding is consistent with prior research that indicates a 10%-20% expected reduction in recidivism rates with the use of effective evidence based programming (Sherman, et al, 2002, in MADOC, 2009).”

Lastly, an evaluation conducted by the DOC’s Research & Planning Department indicated that Spectrum’s community-based Peer Mentoring program for offenders being released into the community reduced recidivism by thirty-two percent (32%).

“The organization has a well-defined set of values, including compassion, service excellence, integrity, optimal care, creativity, positive workplace and fiscal responsibility, that is reiterated throughout all levels of programming.”

CARF Survey Report

“The organization’s data regarding recidivism show an impressive outcome for those individuals who have received residential substance abuse treatment.”

CARF Survey Report

“The organization’s leadership, staff members, and other stakeholders believe in the mission of the organization and its ability to improve the lives of those served.”

CARF Survey Report

“The staff members of Spectrum Health Systems are enthusiastic and energetic in their interactions with the persons served and are credited by the persons served for fostering hope in their future.”

CARF Survey Report

“I entered Spectrum’s detox at the lowest point in my life. While I was there, I took a tour of the residential program. I decided to try it because I did not want to go back to my old way of life. Now I’m in recovery, working and making plans for my future – something I never dreamed possible.”

“The Correctional Recovery Academy model provides a holistic approach to treating addictions and associated behaviors. All aspects of living without substances are addressed, practiced and modeled.”

CARF Survey Report