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Applicability of the recovery model in corrections 

Applicability of the recovery model in corrections
Applicability of the recovery model in corrections

Debra A. Pinals

and Joel T. Andrade



Minor changes throughout;

Added two new references.

Updated on 28 September 2017. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 28 June 2022

Mental health professionals and substance use providers have worked with “recovery” concepts for many years. President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health spoke to important aspects of mental health care systems that were challenged, recognizing that “care must focus on increasing consumers’ ability to successfully cope with life’s challenges, on facilitating recovery, and on building resilience, [and] not just on managing symptoms.” Furthermore, the report went on to state that “recovery will be the common, recognized outcome of mental health services.” These words related to general mental health services, and yet correctional settings have become a place where mental health services are increasingly needed. Prisons and jails, however, are built around confinement and the general principles of sentencing that include retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. Thus it might seem that there is such a fundamental distinction between a prison or jail and a place of treatment that a “recovery” orientation seems inappropriate or unrealistic. In this chapter, we address recovery, describing various ways of defining this construct. We also review potential considerations related to recovery-oriented services that may be feasible and even helpful within correctional environments, and describe some of the tensions between recovery and responsibility in the context of working with an offender population. Finally, we present recommendations for combining evidence-based treatments for incarcerated individuals with a recovery based model for inmates with mental health needs.

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