Abstract

Although occupational therapy services have been rendered in prisons historically, only one occupational therapy program currently exists in a county jail: the Allegheny County Jail Project (ACJ Project). The offenders who populate county jails experience occupational deprivation. The participants of the ACJ Project have benefited from occupational therapy intervention that was initiated during incarceration and continued following their release from jail in order to help them resume productive life roles and to reduce the reoccurrence of engagement in criminal behaviors (recidivism rate). As of June 2003, the ACJ Project has successfully affected the lifestyle patterns of its participants and overall public safety by helping 63% of participants secure gainful employment and by helping 91.8% of participants maintain their freedom after prison. The purpose of this report is to describe the process and benefits of implementing fieldwork opportunities for Level II occupational therapy students in a best practice occupational therapy program in a nontraditional environment: a county jail.

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