Substance Abuse Program


Provide evidenced-based, quality care for incarcerated individuals in order to reduce recidivism, increase  community safety, and enrich lives.

    Description of Treatment Services

    Research has consistently shown that programs that adhere to the principles of effective intervention, namely the risk, need, and responsivity (RNR) principles, are more likely to impact criminal offending. Stemming from these principles, research also suggests that cognitive-behavioral and social learning models of treatment for offenders are associated with considerable reductions in recidivism (see Andrews & Bonta, 2010 and Smith, Gendreau, & Swartz, 2009, for a review). Recently, there has been an increased effort in formalizing quality assurance practices in the field of corrections. As a result, legislatures and policymakers have requested, that interventions be consistent with the research literature on evidence-based practices (EBP) for corrections clients.

      As such, NDOC Substance Abuse Programs has partnered with the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute (UCCI) to evaluate substance abuse programs facilitated within NDOC facilities using the evidence-based Correctional Program Checklist (CPC).

        The CPC is designed to evaluate the extent to which correctional intervention programs adhere to EBP including the principles of effective intervention. UCCI’s team of CPC evaluators have conducted approximately 1,000 program evaluations developing a large database on correctional intervention programs and report the average score for programs evaluated to be "moderate adherence to EBP"

          NDOC Substance Abuse Programs have hosted UCCI CPC evaluators four times between 2012-2017 and our Therapeutic Community Model (TC) programs scored "high adherence to EBP" and have maintained that scoring for three years.

          CPC Chart of 2012-2017 Scores

            There are three Substance Abuse TC Programs within the NDOC that are approximately 10-12 months in length:

            • Phoenix at Warm Springs Correctional Center (WSCC) – 72 Participants
            • T.R.U.S.T. at Southern Desert Correctional Center (SDCC) – 120 Participants
            • S.T.A.R.S at Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center (FMWCC) – 80 Participants

            In addition, New Light (at FMWCC) – 40 Participants and R.I.S.E. (at Three Lakes Valley Conservation Camp - TLVCC) – 48 Participants follows more of an outpatient type model of programming offering substance use treatment that is shorter in duration (approximately 5-9 months) yet incorporates EBP as well as TC activities.

              Medication Assisted Treatment (M.A.T.)

              With the help of our NDOC Medical team, Mental Health team, and Re-Entry team, the Substance Abuse Program staff began a program pilot for Medication Assisted Treatment through the use of Vivitrol in the summer 2017.

                The goal of this initiative is to improve substance abuse treatment outcomes among offender participants under the supervision and custody of the NDOC by preventing relapse and therefor increasing public safety. Furthermore, the purpose of Substance Abuse Medication Assisted Treatment is to reduce the possibility of relapse for offenders who are diagnosed with opioid or alcohol substance use disorders. Implementation of this goal was to meet the Governor’s and Director’s defined strategic priorities to facilitate transition of offender participants from prison-based programming into community based psychosocial support services that employ a multi-faceted approach to treatment through integration of FDA-approved extended release VIVITROL, counseling, and other supportive services upon release.

                  NDOC Substance Abuse Programming Staff

                  All NDOC Substance Abuse Program staff are Certified or Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors with the State of Nevada Board of Examiners for Alcohol, Drug, and Gambling Counselors.

                    Funding Source

                    NDOC Substance Abuse Programs are funded via general state funds and Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) federal grant funds. Together, these two funding sources make it possible to accommodate, on average, 3% of the NDOC prison population at any given time. In order to expand substance abuse programming statewide, additional funding sources are required in order to hire more supervisory staff, frontline staff, administrative staff as well as for supplies and curricula.

                      Community Partners

                      NDOC Substance Abuse Programs understand that in order to be successful within the corrections programming field, we must collaborate with various community partners that are able to support healthy, effective transitions from custody back into the community. Some of these friends include Nevada Department of Parole and Probation, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Nevada Reno, Ridge House, Freedom House, Las Vegas Recovery Center, Center for Behavioral Health, Cross Roads, Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, Recovery Court through the Eighth Judicial District Court and many more.

                        If you are a community partner interested in teaming up with NDOC Substance Abuse Programs please contact Substance Abuse Program Director Robyn Feese at for more information.

                          A Day in the Life......

                          NDOC Substance Abuse Program participants begin and end each programming day Monday-Friday with a town hall meeting. This standard TC activity is an opportunity to set the tone for the day, build camaraderie, and ensure everyone is on the same page. The programming day consists of a ten hour time span in which a variety of scheduled activities occur that target criminogenic needs, encourage social learning among peers, and provide various leadership opportunities. Examples of typical activities include peer-led journal groups, peer-led SKILLS practice groups, facilitator-led curricula groups, facilitator-led SKILLS groups, peer-to-peer tutoring, and assigned TC jobs. Participants maintain a weekly schedule in which 40-70% of their day is engaged in structured activities.

                            The Program……

                            The program is divided into 4 phases (1, 2, 3 and After Care). Each phase consists of a minimum number of programming hours which includes counselor-led activities as well as TC activities. Length of time spent in a phase is not a determining factor for phase-up; rather, the determining factor is meeting minimum programming hours as well as participants demonstrating competency of the skills learned.

                              Program Graduation Celebrations

                                SDCC R.I.S.E. Graduation September 11, 2019.

                                 SDCC R.I.S.E. Graduation September 11, 2019. Photo 1

                                SDCC R.I.S.E. Graduation - Photo 2

                                 SDCC R.I.S.E. Graduation - Photo 2

                                SDCC R.I.S.E. Graduation - Photo 3

                                 SDCC R.I.S.E. Graduation - Photo 3

                                SDCC R.I.S.E. Graduation - Photo 4

                                 SDCC R.I.S.E. Graduation - Photo 4