Oklahoma Women in Recovery PFS Project

The Problem

Oklahoma has the highest female incarceration rate in the country, at 151 per 100,000, owing in part to the state’s female drug arrest rate, which is significantly higher than the country average. Female incarceration costs an average of $30,133 per prison term, and this does not include the societal costs, such as child placement in foster care and increased reliance on social benefit programs.

The Basics

Location: Tulsa County, Oklahoma

Policy area: Criminal Justice

Service provider: Family & Children’s Services

Size of investment: $10 million

Maximum success payments possible: $14.1 million

Investor: George Kaiser Family Foundation

Other partners: Social Finance and BKD (Technical Assistance Providers)

Evaluation methodology: There is no evaluation component to this PFS project

Outcome payor: State of Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services; will reinvest 100% of its success payments into WIR

Outcomes that yield payments: Initial repayment of principal after participant graduates from WIR; full repayment of principal plus maximum success payments after participant remains out of prison for 54 months

Timeframe: Five years

Date announced: 2017

The Intervention

Intervention: Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) will admit up to 125 women with substance-use disorders into Women in Recovery annually for up to five years (totaling to 625). The Women in Recovery program provides supervision, treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders, workforce readiness training, and assistance with family reunification. F&CS will also serve another 75 justice-involved women annually through other criminal justice programs.

Evidence base behind the intervention: Women in Recovery incorporates several evidence-based treatment practices into their services, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Motivational Interviewing, Behavior Modification, and Strengths-Based Case Management Interventions (SBCMI). Additionally, the University of Tulsa’s Institute of Trauma, Abuse, and Neglect has provided an independent evaluation of WIR since 2011.

A meta-analysis of 58 studies shows that CBT interventions can reduce recidivism by about 25 percent. A number of studies have also been conducted on MRT’s effectiveness. A 2005 meta-analysis concluded that in general, MRT-treated groups show rearrest and reincarceration rates about 20-35 percent lower than that observed in nontreated offenders. This study, consistent with the prior meta-analysis, shows that short-term recidivism is cut by at least 50 percent in MRT-treated offenders. A 20-year study, published in 2010, also found “significantly lower rearrest rates" in the long-term. Another meta-analysis, this time published in 2013, found a “small but important effect on recidivism." A 2006 study of veterans with chronic military-related PTSD showed that they experienced significant improvements in PTSD with Cognitive Processing Therapy.

A growing body of evidence also supports the effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing. A 2005 meta-analysis concluded that the model had a “significant and clinically relevant effect in approximately three out of four studies,” with equal effects on physiological and psychological diseases.