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Article

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

Content available
Article

Friedner Wittman, Douglas Polcin and Dave Sheridan

Roughly half a million persons in the USA are homeless on any given night and over a third of those individuals have significant alcohol/other drug (AOD) problems. Many…

Abstract

Purpose

Roughly half a million persons in the USA are homeless on any given night and over a third of those individuals have significant alcohol/other drug (AOD) problems. Many are chronically homeless and in need of assistance for a variety of problems. However, the literature on housing services for this population has paid limited attention to comparative analyses contrasting different approaches. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors examined the literature on housing models for homeless persons with AOD problems and critically analyzed how service settings and operations aligned with service goals.

Findings

The authors found two predominant housing models that reflect different service goals: sober living houses (SLHs) and housing first (HF). SLHs are communally based living arrangements that draw on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. They emphasize a living environment that promotes abstinence and peer support for recovery. HF is based on the premise that many homeless persons with substance abuse problems will reject abstinence as a goal. Therefore, the HF focus is providing subsidized or free housing and optional professional services for substance abuse, psychiatric disorders, and other problems.

Research limitations/implications

If homeless service providers are to develop comprehensive systems for homeless persons with AOD problems, they need to consider important contrasts in housing models, including definitions of “recovery,” roles of peer support, facility management, roles for professional service, and the architectural designs that support the mission of each type of housing.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to consider distinct consumer choices within homeless service systems and provide recommendations to improve each based upon architecture and community planning principles.

Details

Drugs and Alcohol Today, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1745-9265

Keywords

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Article

Douglas Polcin

Persons with serious alcohol and drug problems who are attempting to maintain abstinence often lack an alcohol- and drug-free living environment that supports sustained…

Abstract

Purpose

Persons with serious alcohol and drug problems who are attempting to maintain abstinence often lack an alcohol- and drug-free living environment that supports sustained recovery. Residential recovery homes, called “sober living houses” in California, are alcohol- and drug-free living environments that offer long-term support for persons with addictive disorders. They do not offer formal treatment services but usually encourage or mandate attendance at self-help recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach involved analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of different research designs for studying residential recovery homes. Alternatives to randomized designs that are able to capture “real world” data that are readily generalized are described and understudied topics are identified.

Findings

A significant limitation of traditional randomized designs is they eliminate mutual selection processes between prospective residents and recovery home residents and staff. Naturalistic research designs have the advantage of including mutual selection processes and there are methods available for limiting self-selection bias. Qualitative methods should be used to identify factors that residents experience as helpful that can then be studied further. Innovative studies are needed to investigate how outcomes are affected by architectural characteristics of the houses and resident interactions with the surrounding community.

Practical implications

Use of the recommended strategies could lead to findings that are more informative, intuitively appealing, and interpretable.

Social implications

Recovery homes and similar programs will be more responsive to consumers.

Originality/value

This paper represents one of the first to review various options for studying recovery homes and to provide suggestions for new studies.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

Keywords

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Article

Daisy Gomez, Leonard A. Jason, Richard Contreras, Julia DiGangi and Joseph R. Ferrari

The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of length of stay in an Oxford House (a sober living environment) with the number of days attended school/vocational…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of length of stay in an Oxford House (a sober living environment) with the number of days attended school/vocational training and days worked in the past 90 days with 292 women and 604 men.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents quantitative data.

Findings

Results indicated that number of days residing in these recovery homes was related to number of days attending school/vocational training and days worked.

Originality/value

The present study suggested that in addition to staying abstinent from alcohol and drugs, Oxford House residents may improve gain useful life skills through vocational education, training, and employment. This is an area of further exploration for the substance abuse recovery community.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

Keywords

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Article

Douglas Polcin

Few debates in the addiction field have been more controversial than the harm and benefit of confronting individuals about their substance use. This article reviews recent…

Abstract

Few debates in the addiction field have been more controversial than the harm and benefit of confronting individuals about their substance use. This article reviews recent publications suggesting confrontation in the addiction field has been poorly defined and unfortunately limited to therapist‐client interactions. A definition of confrontation is presented that focuses on potential harm to the individual using substances. The Alcohol and Drug Confrontation Scale (ADCS) is discussed as a broad, comprehensive assessment of confrontation including an examination of individuals' perceptions of confrontational interactions. The preliminary research of individuals' experiences of confrontation in sober living recovery houses indicated that confrontation is often experienced assupportive and accurate. Previously reported findings are elaborated here by specifying implications for practitioners, families/friends, and users of services. Of particular importance is the confronter's ability to recognise when confrontation is counterproductive and to adjust their interactions accordingly.

Details

Drugs and Alcohol Today, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1745-9265

Keywords

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Article

Jennifer E. Johnson, Yael Chatav Schonbrun, Jessica E. Nargiso, Caroline C. Kuo, Ruth T. Shefner, Collette A. Williams and Caron Zlotnick

The purpose of this paper is to explore treatment needs and factors contributing to engagement in substance use and sobriety among women with co-occurring substance use…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore treatment needs and factors contributing to engagement in substance use and sobriety among women with co-occurring substance use and major depressive disorders (MDDs) as they return to the community from prison.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper used qualitative methods to evaluate the perspectives of 15 women with co-occurring substance use and MDDs on the circumstances surrounding their relapse and recovery episodes following release from a US prison. Women were recruited in prison; qualitative data were collected using semi-structured interviews conducted after prison release and were analyzed using grounded theory analysis. Survey data from 39 participants supplemented qualitative findings.

Findings

Results indicated that relationship, emotion, and mental health factors influenced women's first post-prison substance use. Women attributed episodes of recovery to sober and social support, treatment, and building on recovery work done in prison. However, they described a need for comprehensive pre-release planning and post-release treatment that would address mental health, family, and housing/employment and more actively assist them in overcoming barriers to care.

Practical implications

In-prison and aftercare treatment should help depressed, substance using women prisoners reduce or manage negative affect, improve relationships, and obtain active and comprehensive transitional support.

Originality/value

Women with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders are a high-risk population for negative post-release outcomes, but limited information exists regarding the processes by which they relapse or retain recovery after release from prison. Findings inform treatment and aftercare development efforts.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Content available
Article

Larissa Becker, Elina Jaakkola and Aino Halinen

Customer experience research predominantly anchors the customer journey on a specific offering, implying an inherently firm-centric perspective. Attending calls for a more…

Abstract

Purpose

Customer experience research predominantly anchors the customer journey on a specific offering, implying an inherently firm-centric perspective. Attending calls for a more customer-centric approach, this study aims to develop a goal-oriented view of customer journeys.

Design/methodology/approach

This study interprets the results of a phenomenological study of a transformative journey toward a sober life with the self-regulation model of behavior to advance understanding of customer journeys.

Findings

The consumer's journey toward a higher-order goal encompasses various customer journeys toward subordinate goals, through which consumers engage in iterative cognitive and behavioral processes to adjust or maintain their experienced situation vis-à-vis the goal. Experiences drive behavior toward the goal. It follows that negative experiences may contribute to goal attainment.

Research limitations/implications

This study highlights the importance of looking at the consumers' higher-order goals to obtain a more holistic understanding of the customer journey.

Practical implications

Companies and organizations should extend their view beyond the immediate goals of their customers to identify relevant touchpoints and other customer journeys that affect the customer experience.

Originality/value

This study proposes conceptualization of the customer journey, comprising goal-oriented processes at different hierarchical levels, and it demonstrates how positive and negative customer experiences spur behaviors toward the higher-order consumer goal. This conceptualization enables a more customer-centric perspective on journeys.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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Article

Christine George, Jennifer Nargang Chernega, Sarah Stawiski, Anne Figert and Arturo Valdivia Bendixen

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the nation's first hospital to housing for homeless individuals. The Chicago Housing for Health Partnership (CHHP), a Housing First…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the nation's first hospital to housing for homeless individuals. The Chicago Housing for Health Partnership (CHHP), a Housing First and Harm Reduction model, creates a new comprehensive system of health care, housing and supportive services.

Design/methodology/approach

The researchers conducted a year long process evaluation of the housing program using a multi‐method approach, which involved qualitative interviews, focus groups, document analysis and observations. The paper examined the CHHP system at three different levels (the administrative, service provision and the client levels).

Findings

The study allowed the organizational participants the ability to better understand their program by visually modeling the system for the first time and documenting its effectiveness. It also furthered the understanding of how and why the housing first model is best accompanied by a harm reduction approach. Finally, the paper was able to show how and why organizational system design is important in creating the most effective environment in which programs have a real impact.

Originality/value

The authors were able to help CHHP program leaders conduct strategic planning and to present their program as an effective model future funding agencies and to policy makers. CHHP has incorporated the recommendations into their permanent model. In addition, the CHHP leadership, in a network with other Housing First advocates, has disseminated the findings at national conferences and networking meetings. The authors' relationship with CHHP will continue with the design of a second stage research strategy in order to continue research on Harm Reduction Housing and policy advocacy.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

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Article

R.G.B. Fyffe

This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of…

Abstract

This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of industrial and economic democracy, which centres around the establishment of a new sector of employee‐controlled enterprises, is presented. The proposal would retain the mix‐ed economy, but transform it into a much better “mixture”, with increased employee‐power in all sectors. While there is much of enduring value in our liberal western way of life, gross inequalities of wealth and power persist in our society.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 3 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Book part

William G. Staples and Stephanie K. Decker

In this chapter, we argue that the practice of electronically monitored “house arrest” is consistent with Foucault's insights into both the workings of “disciplinary…

Abstract

In this chapter, we argue that the practice of electronically monitored “house arrest” is consistent with Foucault's insights into both the workings of “disciplinary power” and “governmentality” and with the self-governing notions of a conservative, neo-liberal ideology, and mentality. Our interpretive analysis of a set of offender narratives identifies a theme we call “transforming the self” that illustrates the ways in which house arrest is experienced by some clients as a set of discourses and practices that encourages them to govern themselves by regulating their own bodies and conduct. These self-governing capabilities include “enterprise,” “autonomy,” and an ethical stance towards their lives.

Details

Surveillance and Governance: Crime Control and Beyond
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1416-4

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