The Change Companies

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Alabama: Evolution of an Effective Program

In 1985, the Alabama Court Referral Officer Program was adopted to help nonviolent alcohol and other drug offenders overcome problems related to substance abuse and recidivism. When evaluating the effectiveness of the program, Auburn University researchers found resounding evidence proving the program's effectiveness in all areas. In 2001, as a solution for enhancing and standardizing the Alabama Court Referral Officer Program, the Administrative Office of Courts collaborated with The Change Companies® to create evidence-based Interactive Journals for the Court Referral Education Program. The effectiveness of the program evolved by implementing the delivery strategy of Interactive Journaling, which resulted in a uniform lesson for the instructors to teach, and also provided the state with consistency throughout the programs. In addition, the program allows for instructors to use their unique skill sets. Prior to the use of Interactive Journals, there was no set way or method of teaching the program. Instructors had guidelines of what to maintain in a defendant's individual class file, but no structured coursework to use. Instructors did not have a unified lesson plan to follow and simply used their own materials. However, with the use of Interactive Journals, instructors are able to conduct the sessions in a more linear, consistent and evidence-based manner.

This article was originally published in Impaired Driving Update, © Civic Research Institute, Inc., 4478 US Route 27, Kingston NJ 08528, and is reprinted here with permission. Impaired Driving Update is a quarterly report letter devoted to innovative programs, legal developments, and current services and research on impaired driving prevention, enforcement, prosecution, and treatment. All rights reserved. For subscriptions, write CRI at the address above, call 609-683-4450, or visit

Rygiel, Robert M., "Alabama: Evolution of an Effective Program" 13(3) IDU 51-52, 54 and 56, 2009.