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Article
Publication date: 7 May 2019

Rebecca DeGuzman, Rachael Korcha and Douglas Polcin

Persons in the USA who are incarcerated for drug offenses are increasingly being released into the community as a way to decrease prison and jail overcrowding. One…

Abstract

Purpose

Persons in the USA who are incarcerated for drug offenses are increasingly being released into the community as a way to decrease prison and jail overcrowding. One challenge is finding housing that supports compliance with probation and parole requirements, which often includes abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Sober living houses (SLHs) are alcohol- and drug-free living environments that are increasingly being used as housing options for probationers and parolees. Although a few studies have reported favorable outcomes for residents of SLHs, little is known about resident experiences or the factors that are experienced as helpful or counterproductive. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This study conducted qualitative interviews with 28 SLH residents on probation or parole to understand their experiences living in the houses, aspects of the houses that facilitated recovery, ways residence in an SLH affected compliance with probation and parole, and ways the houses addressed HIV risk, a widespread problem among this population. Interviews were audiotaped and coded for dominant themes.

Findings

Study participants identified housing as a critically important need after incarceration. For residents nearing the end of their stay in the SLHs, there was significant concern about where they might live after they left. Residents emphasized that shared experiences and goals, consistent enforcement of rules (especially the requirement of abstinence) and encouragement from probation and parole officers as particularly helpful. There was very little focus in HIV issues, even though risk behaviors were fairly common. For some residents, inconsistent enforcement of house rules was experienced as highly problematic. Research is needed to identify the organizational and operational procedures that enhance factors experienced as helpful.

Research limitations/implications

Data for this study are self-reported views and experiences. Therefore, the study may not tap into a variety of reasons for resident experiences. In addition, the data set was small (n=28) and limited to one city in the USA (Los Angeles), so generalization of results might be limited. However, SLHs represent an important housing option for criminal justice involved persons and knowledge about resident experiences can help guide organization and operation of houses and identify areas for further research.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to document the views and experiences of persons on probation or parole who reside in sober living recovery houses. These data can be used by SLH operators to develop houses that are responsive to factors experienced as helpful and counterproductive. The significance of this paper is evident in the trend toward decreasing incarceration in the USA of persons convicted of drug offenses and the need for alcohol- and drug-free alternative living environments.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 40 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Rebecca Robbins and Brian Wansink

Most workplace health promotion efforts have failed to consistently and sustainably encourage employees to take responsibility for their health. The purpose of this paper…

Abstract

Purpose

Most workplace health promotion efforts have failed to consistently and sustainably encourage employees to take responsibility for their health. The purpose of this paper is to explore a potentially high-impact solution – Health Codes of Conduct – for engaging and motivating employees to assume responsibility for their health.

Design/methodology/approach

This mixed methods study draws on interview and survey methodology with a sample of 149 working adults to examine the feasibility of Health Codes of Conduct. Descriptive and inferential statistics are calculated to understand reactions, characteristics of the companies likely to support the idea, and components of a Health Code of Conduct.

Findings

Nearly all employees offered moderate to high support for Health Codes of Conduct; this included overweight but not obese employees. Additionally, all demographic groups either moderately or strongly supported the policy when they included either monetary incentives (such as prescription discounts) or often overlooked non-monetary incentives (such as employee recognition). Some of the more popular features of Health Codes of Conduct included annual physical exams, exercise routines, and simply being encouraged to stay home when ill.

Research limitations/implications

Health Codes of Conduct offer a surprisingly well-supported potential solution. Favorable reactions were observed across all examined segments of workers, even overweight (but not obese) employees. Using the specific features of Health Codes identified here, visionary companies can tailor their company’s Health Code of Conduct with the appropriate monetary and non-monetary incentives and disincentives.

Social implications

What if the workplace could be a positive source of health and empowerment for valued employees? The authors show employee Health Codes of Conduct could be this empowering, engaging solution that has been missing.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to propose the concept Health Codes of Conduct and solicit feedback from employees on this novel idea. Furthermore, the authors identify both the monetary and non-monetary incentives and disincentives that employees believe would be most compelling.

Details

International Journal of Workplace Health Management, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8351

Keywords

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