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PRocess and Outcome Study of Prison-basEd Registration points (PROSPER)

Research project DR/70 (Research action DR)


Persons :

  • Dr.  VANDEVELDE Stijn - Universiteit Gent (RUG)
    Coordinator of the project
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2014-31/10/2016
  • Dr.  MINE Benjamin - Institut National de Criminalistique et de Criminologie (INCC)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2014-31/10/2016
  • Dr.  MAES Eric - Institut National de Criminalistique et de Criminologie (INCC)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2014-31/10/2016
  • Dr.  VANDERPLASSCHEN Wouter - Universiteit Gent (RUG)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2014-31/10/2016
  • Prof. dr.  VANDER LAENEN Freya - Universiteit Gent (RUG)
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/12/2014-31/10/2016
  • Dr.  LLOYD Charlie - The University of York (UYORK)
    Financed foreign partner
    Duration: 1/12/2014-31/10/2016

Description :

The project addresses the evaluation of the Central Registration Points (CRPs) in Belgium, which are operational in almost all prisons in Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels. CRPs can be characterized as brief case management intervention and a type of liaison between prison and community drug treatment. CRPs aim at supporting incarcerated offenders with a substance abuse problem in finding adequate treatment on their release by means of three objectives:
(1) providing information about treatment services; (2) increasing clients’ motivation and readiness for treatment; and (3) referring clients to as well as establishing contact with treatment services in the community. Up until now, no scientific evaluation of the CRPs has been performed.

The aims of this study are threefold:

1. To investigate how the CRPs currently operate and what the effects are on offenders’ trajectories in term of linkage to treatment services and treatment-related outcomes, including motivation, treatment engagement, retention, health and psychosocial functioning and recidivism.

2. To document how the CRPs are perceived by the different stakeholders that are involved (CRP-staff-members, CRP-participants, prison staff, treatment providers...) in terms of current functioning, strengths and limitations and future challenges and opportunities.

3. To formulate policy recommendations with regard to the further continuation, expansion and/or modification of the CRPs.

This project consists of six work packages (WP) and uses a multi-method approach.

WP 1. Literature study and secondary analysis of CRP-databases
A literature review on the state of the art with regard to prison-based linkage points, case management in prison settings and the associated effects will be carried out. A second activity of WP 1 involves a secondary analysis of the databases that are developed by the staff members of the Central Registration Points. Available data will be analysed in order to form a clear picture with regard to care trajectories and treatment-related outcomes.

WP 2. Retrospective analysis on available databases The second work package aims at assessing the relation between activities performed by the Central Registration Points and recidivism. In this work package, the effectiveness of the CRPs will be assessed, based on three indicators of recidivism (new criminal charges, reconvictions and re-incarceration). These three measures of recidivism will be compared in two groups of ex-prisoners drawn from registered data from the CRPs. Using multivariate analyses, the comparison will control for a set of variables (e.g. age, type of drugs, the offence type leading to the conviction, sentence duration…) in order to isolate the effect of the contact with the CRP.

WP 3. Qualitative study on stakeholders’ perceptions on the functioning of CRPs
The third work package, aimed at a process evaluation, investigates stakeholders’ perceptions of the functioning of the CRPs The following questions will be focused on (1) What is the added value of the CRPs?; (2) Which specific constraints hinder these initiatives to develop their full outcome potential?; and (3) What are the perceptions of the stakeholders with regard to treatment-related objectives and individuals’ functioning (recidivism, substance use) after CRP referral? To answer the first two research questions, four types of respondents will be interviewed: (1) the CRPs’ staff; (2) staff from community treatment providers that regularly treat CRP-clients; (3) staff from the justice department that have regular contact with CRP-clients (judges, prison officers, prison governors, prison treatment staff and probation officers); and (4) CRP-clients. To answer the third research question on the perceptions with regard to treatment-related indicators and CRP clients’ functioning (e.g. recidivism), additional questions will be added to the interviews with the staff from community treatment providers that regularly treat CRP-clients. The interviews will be audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analyzed by means of the qualitative software package NVIVO.

WP 4. Prospective registration of CRP clients
The fourth work package aims at assessing the characteristics of CRP clients and linking these with treatment-related outcomes regarding linkage, treatment participation and retention. In order to overcome potential difficulties in linking treatment-related and judicial data and given the advantages of long-term monitoring and follow-up, this work package will make use of a prospective study design. It entails a registration study in which relevant variables will be systematically collected. The clients will be followed up with regard to treatment linkage, treatment participation and other relevant indicators (e.g. treatment engagement, health and psychosocial functioning).

WP 5. Feasibility study with regard to the implementation of a short duration programme (SDP) and with regard to (perceived) effects on recidivism and treatment-related outcomes (new data)
The fifth work package consists of two phases. Phase 5.1 concerns the implementation and pilot testing of a group-based “short duration programme” (SDP). The second phase 5.2. consists of a feasibility study (process evaluation) concerning the implementation of the pilot “short duration programmes” described in phase 5.1. The perception of different stakeholders will be gathered by means of qualitative interviews: (1) the CRPs’ staff; (2) staff from community treatment providers that regularly treat CRP-clients and who have come in contact with CRP clients who have followed the SDP; (3) staff from the justice department that have regular contact with CRP-clients; and (4) CRP-clients who have followed the SDP-programme. The clients will be interviewed before, during and after the SDP. Themes that will be brought up during the interviews with clients include motivation, treatment engagement and psychosocial functioning. The clients will also be incorporated in the registration study of WP 4, which enables (exploratory) comparisons with other CRP-clients who have not participated in the SDP. The qualitative data will be analysed using the same methodology as described in WP3.

WP 6. Reporting of the study findings
The results of the work packages mentioned above will be integrated and reported in a scientific report that addresses (1) the outcomes of the CRPs in terms of recidivism and treatment-related indicators; (2) the process evaluation based on the perceptions of important stakeholders with regard to the past, current and future functioning of CRPs, including strengths, potential pitfalls and future challenges and opportunities; and (3) policy recommendations with regard to the further continuation, expansion and/or modification.


Documentation :


  • Colloquim PROSPER 19/01/2017

    PRocess and Outcome Study of Prison-basEd Registration points (PROSPER) : report  Vandevelde, Stijn - Vander Laenen, Freya - Vanderplasschen, Wouter ... et al  Brussels : Belgian scientific Policy, 2016 (SP2660)
    [To download

    Proces en uitkomstevaluatie van de centrale aanmeldingspunte voor druggebruikers in de belgische gevangenissen (PROSPER) : samenvatting  Vandevelde, Stijn - Vander Laenen, Freya - Vanderplasschen, Wouter ... et al  Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2016 (SP2661)
    [To download

    Etude évaluative des processus et des effets des points centraux de contact, d'orientation et d'accompagnement pour usagers de drogue dans les prisons belges (PROSPER) : résumé  Vandevelde, Stijn - Vander Laenen, Freya - Vanderplasschen, Wouter ... et al  Bruxelles : Politique scientifique fédérale, 2016 (SP2662)
    [To download

    PRocess and Outcome Study of Prison-basEd Registration points (PROSPER) : summary  Vandevelde, Stijn - Vander Laenen, Freya - Vanderplasschen, Wouter ... et al  Brussels : Belgian scientific Policy, 2016 (SP2663)
    [To download

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