An innovative service collaboration to reduce criminal recidivism for inmates with severe addictions

Elan Paluck, Michelle C.E. McCarron, Mamata Pandey, Dorothy Banka


Agencies with overlapping mandates can form partnerships to aid development of effective programming. In 2008, the Dedicated Substance Abuse Treatment Unit (DSATU) opened at Regina Correctional Centre through a tripartite collaboration between the Saskatchewan (SK) Ministry of Justice, Corrections and Policing; Addiction Services, Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region; and the SK Ministry of Health. Stakeholders researched existing best practices in the field and developed an evidence-based substance abuse treatment program for sentenced inmates at high risk to re-offend. An evaluation of the DSATU program completed in 2016 concluded that the DSATU was effective, sustainable, and likely transferable to other correctional facilities wishing to offer this type of programming. The stakeholder partnership was a key ingredient in the program’s success. This paper describes the process by which the partners worked together to develop, implement, and sustain this innovative and evidence-based substance abuse treatment program. The partners’ willingness to compromise, to take a collaborative approach to building the partnership and developing the program, and to put clients ahead of individual organizational mandates all contributed to the success of the partnership.


Correctional centre; criminogenic behaviour; criminal lifestyles training; recidivism; addiction treatment; collaboration; partnership

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ISSN: 2371-4298 (Online)