Background: Formerly incarcerated adults are impoverished, have high rates of substance use disorders, and have long histories of imprisonment. This article describes the development of a peer mentoring program for formerly incarcerated adults and the pilot study designed to evaluate it. The research team, which included formerly incarcerated adults and academic researchers, developed the peer mentoring program to support formerly incarcerated adults’ transition to the community after prison.
Objectives: The purposes of the pilot evaluation study were to (1) assess the feasibility of implementing a peer-based intervention for recently released men developed using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach; (2) establish preliminary data on the program’s impact on coping, self-esteem, abstinence self-efficacy, social support, and participation in 12-step meetings; and (3) establish a CBPR team of formerly incarcerated adults and academic researchers to develop, implement, and test interventions for this population.
Method: This pilot evaluation study employed a mixed-methods approach with a single group pretest/posttest design with 20 men on parole released from prison within the last 30 days.
Results: Quantitative findings showed significant improvement on two abstinence self-efficacy subscales, negative affect and habitual craving. Qualitative findings revealed the relevance and acceptance of peer mentoring for this population.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated the feasibility and import of involving formerly incarcerated adults in the design, implementation, and testing of interventions intended to support their reintegration efforts.