Overview and Inventory of HHS Efforts to Assist Incarcerated and Reentering Individuals and their Families . Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS)


Type of Activity: Research

Funding Mechanism: Grant; Cooperative Agreement Grant (U01)

Total Available Funding: N/A

Number of Awards: 12

Average Award Amount (current year): $538,000

Length of Project Period: Varies

Federal Partners: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT/SAMHSA), Department of Justice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Summary: The Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS) is a research cooperative studying organizational processes involved in the successful implementation of high-quality drug abuse treatment services in criminal justice settings. Each Research Center has partnered with at least one criminal justice setting (i.e., prisons, jails, probation/parole offices, reentry drug courts) and the collaborative provides a platform for multi-site treatment services research trials on implementing and sustaining improved drug abuse treatment services across a coordinated continuum of care for offenders with substance use disorders who are returning to the community after detention or incarceration. Studies focus on three topics: implementation of effective screening and assessment for the development of post-release treatment service planning; implementing medication assisted treatment through the development of inter-organizational linkages between community corrections and community-based treatment service providers; and implementation of a coordinated HIV continuum of care including prevention, testing, and linkage to treatment for offenders transitioning from the institution to the community.

Background: Many research-based clinical interventions and treatment services have not been adopted for criminal justice populations and consequently few drug-involved offenders benefit from them.  From 2002-2007, NIDA funded the first phase of the CJ-DATS cooperative, which fielded 13 studies in 8 topical areas, all testing the effectiveness of specific interventions and treatment practices for incarcerated populations. In the course of conducting these studies, researchers identified multiple organizational and systems-level barriers to full-scale adoption and sustainability of these interventions in routine practice. The implementation of research-based drug abuse treatment practices in criminal justice settings often faces clinical, administrative, organizational, and policy barriers.  While various implementation barriers are often surmounted during the course of research, if the solutions are expedient rather than systemic the intervention may not be sustainable once the study ends — regardless of its clinical effectiveness or cost-effectiveness. Thus, the research being conducted under the second phase of CJ-DATS supports organizational and systems-level studies on implementation and sustainability of three key practices: assessment, medication-assisted treatment, and a continuum of HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services.

Principle Investigator Location Title
Current Grantees:
Mike Shafer Arizona State University
Phoenix, AZ
The Arizona Network for the Study of Implementation Effectiveness
Linda Frisman University of Connecticut 
West Hartford, CT
CT Research Center for Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Study Center
Christy Visher University of Delaware 
Newark, DE
Implementing Effective HIV/Drug Treatment in Corrections-MidStates CJ-DATS Center
Tim Kinlock Friends Research Inst 
Baltimore, MD
Implementing Treatment Initiatives for Criminal Justice Clients
Carl Leukefeld University of Kentucky 
Lexington, KY
Central States Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Center
Peter Friedmann Lifespan 
Providence, RI
Continuum of Care for Drug-Involved Offenders
Stan Sacks NDRI 
New York, NY
NDRI Rocky Mountain Research Center for CJDATS 2
Michael Prendergast UCLA
Los Angeles, CA
Pacific Coast Research Center of CJ-DATS 2
Kevin Knight Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, TX
Implementing and Sustaining Innovations in Criminal Justice-DATS 2
Steve Belenko Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
The Pennsylvania Research Center at Temple University
Howard Liddle University of Miami School of Medicine
Miami, FL
Center for Implementing Juvenile Justice Drug Abuse & HIV Systems Interventions
Faye Taxman George Mason University
Manassas, VA
Action Research to Advance Implementation in the CJS: CJ-DATS 2 Continuation

Location(s) of Projects:  See above.

Evaluation Activities:  Process evaluations are built into each of the three implementation trials being conducted in CJ-DATS. As a cooperative agreement, NIDA also plays an active role in study design and management. Peer-reviewed publications to disseminate scientific data and findings; presentations of findings at scientific meetings.

Future Prospects:  Dependent in part on results of research studies, which are just entering the field.


Susan Weiss, Ph.D.
Phone: (301) 443-6071

Email: susan.weiss@nih.gov

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