PhD Graduate – Maruca

Annette Maruca, PhD
Fall 2014

“A Booster Intervention in a Correctional Institution: A Pilot Study”

The issue of offender reentry remains one of the most important and critical social problems that America is facing. There is continued interest and support on a state and national level to promote successful reentry and to improve public safety. It is important to implement evidence-based treatment programs that will achieve this goal. Research also shows that treatment gains from interventions diminish over time when the benefit of the program fades.

This purpose of this dissertation is to explore if a booster treatment intervention would be effective to reinforce treatment gains for incarcerated persons with mental illness who are preparing to be released back to the community. To achieve the purpose of this dissertation, three papers are presented. The first paper, a systematic review, did show that treatment interventions for offenders with mental illness were cautiously effective in reducing mental health symptoms and in reducing recidivism. The results of this systematic review of meta-analyses revealed that a booster intervention in the correctional institution had never been implemented or examined with this population. This literature review did identify the many challenges and barriers to conducting research in the correctional setting. Several correctional nurse researchers disseminated the challenges they encountered in their research and offered recommendations to bridge the barriers identified. This pilot study did implement some of the recommendations, however, obstacles persisted. Based on this study, future refinements on current recommendations are made. The third article describes the theoretical framework, research design and results of the pilot study. The conclusion synthesizes the findings of all three articles with a recommendation for future research with booster treatment interventions that will reinforce self-care behaviors and mental health management.