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Rehabilitative Services

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Programs

The Tennessee Department of Correction is committed to providing evidence-based treatment options for inmates. The department's substance abuse and behavioral treatment programming is based on the philosophy that the program participant is ultimately responsible for his/her successful pro-social change. The counselor and program participant will work together to develop goals, objectives, and strategies to meet the needs of the offender in order to help facilitate that change.

Using a highly structured program model as the primary treatment format, our programs include a robust risk/needs assessment (the LS/CMI), and a blend of both cognitive restructuring and behavior modification treatment approaches. This structured program model has proven to be a cost-effective treatment option for offenders housed within a correctional setting. This structured program model is based on the 'criminogenic need principle' that enables program participants to acquire a wide range of specific and individual skills to achieve long-term sobriety and promote pro-social behavior changes.

The department believes that part of its mission is to provide effective evidenced-based treatment programs for the incarcerated offender to enhance public safety when the inmate reenters the community.

Currently, TDOC offers the following substance abuse and behavioral treatment options:


  1. Substance Abuse Therapeutic Community - Available at thirteen (13) TDOC facilities, this is a high intensity, modified therapeutic community program. The duration is 9-12 months based both on the completion of standardized tasks, as well as observable behavioral change. Appropriate participants are those who rank High-Very High on the LS/CMI A&D criteria.
  2. Substance Abuse Group Therapy - Available at seven (7) TDOC facilities, this is a medium intensity program. Run in a full-time setting, the duration is 3-4 months; while run in a part-time setting, the duration is 4-6 months. Appropriate participants are those who rank Medium on the LS/CMI A&D criteria.
  3. Technical Violators Diversion Program - Located at TCIX Annex and available only through a Parole Board recommendation, this is an intensive 6 month program for offenders who violated the terms of their parole. It is run in a therapeutic community setting in conjunction with our substance abuse therapeutic community at the same location.
  4. Pro-Social Life Skills - Available at seven (7) TDOC facilities, this is a high intensity program designed for those ranking Medium-Very High in one or more of the following LS/CMI areas: Pro-Criminal Attitude/Orientation, Anti-Social Thinking Pattern, Companions, Leisure/Recreation, and Family/Marital. Run in a full time setting, the duration is 3-4 months; while run in a part time setting the duration is 4-6 months.

TDOC promotes these programs to provide inmates with an opportunity to break the cycle of addiction and recidivism. Further, we are committed to the idea that individual inmates can and do succeed with appropriate treatment. TDOC's recidivism rates are much lower for those offenders who successfully complete intensive treatment programs.

TDOC is also committed to its zero tolerance policy related to inmate drug/alcohol use within state correctional facilities.  All inmates incarcerated in a state operated or state funded correctional facility, shall be subject to urinalysis testing at any time during their incarceration in accordance with Policy #506.21, Inmate Drug/Alcohol Testing (in pdf format)(109 kb).  Each inmate is expected to review this policy to familiarize themselves with the requirements for urinalysis testing.  Inmates shall be subject to disciplinary action for the following:


  1. Failure to submit to drug testing or to provide a urine sample within two hours of the request.
  2. Tampering or attempting to tamper with the specimen or test results.
  3. Receiving a positive test result for which there is no satisfactory explanation.

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