The Need

Nearly one third of offenders released from jail in Allegheny County will be re-arrested within one year.

It is not known how effective treatment programs are at improving outcomes and reducing recidivism among for justice-involved individuals.

The Solution

Renewal Treatment, Inc. (RTI) is a community corrections organization in Allegheny County, PA. RTI provides comprehensive forensic substance abuse treatment services to adult men and women in the criminal justice system.

IRETA’s research team sought to demonstrate the value of RTI’s Residential Drug and Alcohol Program on treatment outcomes including recidivism, alcohol and other substance use, and cost savings demonstrated by RTI.

Using RTI’s administrative records, former clients’ self-reported survey and interview data, and data from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, IRETA examined the following research questions:

  • What kind and how much treatment did clients get?
  • Did the program reduce recidivism for these clients?
  • How are clients doing after the program?
  • Do they think the program helped?

The Results

Evaluation results showed that the RTI program reduces recidivism and produces cost-savings.

The evaluation determined that people who completed the D&A program at RTI were 7% less likely to be re-arrested 12 months from release than those in Allegheny County, PA who did not attend RTI.

The evaluation determined that significant fewer individuals who transition from RTI to community corrections and transitional housing will be re-arrested after one year, as compared to the individuals who transition home.

  • Transition to Community Corrections: 1 in 7 will be re-arrested
  • Transition to Transitional Housing: 1 in 4 will be re-arrested
  • Transition Home: 1 in 3 will be re-arrested


Evaluation determined that completion of the residential D&A program at RTI produces a cost-savings of about $1,600 per participant. It costs $1,300 for a client to attend the RTI D&A program. The expenditure of $1,300 now avoids $2,900 in future processing and victimization costs.