Treating alcohol-related violence: a feasibility study of a randomized controlled trial in prisons




Nicola Bowes, Mary McMurran, Carys Evans, Giles Oatley, Bryn Williams & Siriol David

The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology

12 Mar 2014



Purpose: There is a lack of good-quality outcome evaluations of interventions for offenders whose crimes are alcohol-related. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered gold standard in treatment evaluations. Here, we report on a feasibility study for an RCT of an alcohol-related violence intervention, Control of Violence for Angry, Impulsive Drinkers (COVAID). Method: 115 adult male prisoners were randomly allocated to COVAID plus treatment as usual (TAU) or TAU only. Results: Most participants (84%) found COVAID useful. Reconviction data at six months were accessed for 109 (95%) participants. There were no differences between the two groups on violent reconvictions or all reconvictions at the six-month period, but at 17 months the COVAID group had 13% fewer people reconvicted for violence, and 20% fewer had reconvictions for any offence. Conclusion: The results indicate that an RCT is feasible and provides parameters for designing a full RCT. Differences in reconviction between groups favoured COVAID and were clinically important.