ARC at San Quentin
Addiction Treatment Program

16-WEEK PROGRAM, including:




counseling group

Group counseling session

*Sample Education Class topics:


  • What is Addiction? What is Substance Abuse?
  • Introduction to 12-Step & other Self-Help Programs
  • Sponsorship & Working the Steps
  • Steps One, Two & Three
  • Brain Chemistry & Addiction
  • Physical Effects of Drugs/Alcohol
  • Other Addictions; Cross-addiction
  • Addiction & Family Dynamics
  • Roles & Rules in Dysfunctional Families; Healthy Families
  • Domestic Violence & Addiction
  • Understanding Codependency; Al-Anon & CoDA
  • HBO Addiction series videos
  • Criminal Behavior & Addiction


  • Feelings & Anger Management
  • Couples & Parenting Issues
  • Grieving & Forgiveness
  • Sex, Drugs & Alcohol
  • Safer Sex: HIV, STDs
  • Goal-setting & Time Management
  • Communication Skills 1: Healthy Communication
  • Communication Skills 2: Non-violent Communication
  • Nutrition & Addiction
  • Assertiveness & Boundaries
  • Self-Care/Self-Esteem
  • Healthy Living
  • Understanding Women
  • Stages of Change
  • PTSD, Trauma & Recovery


  • What is Relapse?
  • Relapse Prevention Tools
  • Relapse Prevention Planning
  • Remembering Consequences
  • Relapse Triggers & Cravings
  • Refusal Skills
  • Stress Reduction & Healthy Living
  • Relaxing thru Guided Visualization
  • Coping & Refusal Skills
  • Denial & Stinkin’ Thinkin’
  • Men’s Issues in Recovery
  • Video: Relapse Prevention experts
  • Self-care in Recovery
  • PAWS (Ongoing Withdrawal)

ARC: Addiction Recovery Counseling

On October 6, 2006, Full Circle opened the first comprehensive addiction treatment program ever offered at San Quentin State Prison. Never done anywhere before as far as we know, ARC’s counseling staff is made up of the highly trained inmates doing their CAADAC certification internships for the ACT program. This, along with the all-volunteer supervisory and administrative staff and support from CAADAC and the Bay Area addiction treatment community, make this program possible currently at no cost to the State.

ARC Phase 1:

ARC is a 16-week program of peer counseling, case management, and education services. Space and budget considerations currently keep down the numbers served to a maximum of 50 inmates.

ARC’s program is modeled after state-of-the-art addiction treatment centers, offering

Inmate peer counselors work under the clinical supervision of experienced addiction treatment professionals (all volunteers up to this point; grants being sought because of expanded time requirements in this and future phases).

ARC Phase 2:

Full Circle is collaborating with community-based programs, such as Options Recovery Services in Berkeley, that offer services needed by parolees to provide a seamless re-entry continuum of care, starting with in-prison addiction treatment, vocational rehabilitation, and re-entry planning, as well as post-release services, including sober housing, jobs, recovery resources, and ongoing addiction treatment and aftercare. CDCR recently awarded a Reentry Initiative grant to launch the Full Circle/Options pilot model of inside/outside collaboration. Full Circle and Options staff start reentry planning well before release. Options picks up inmates at the gate and takes them to sober housing, enrolls them in Options addiction treatment program, and provides a full range of vocational, educational, mental health and social services.


ARC Phase 3:

Plans are being developed for Full Circle Addiction Recovery Services to provide addiction treatment to large numbers of San Quentin prisoners in a prison program called STAND UP, devoted to full-spectrum rehabilitation services. When full, all of the one thousand men in STAND UP who have addiction on their record (estimates are as high as 80--90%) will receive addiction treatment.

Using inmate counselors would greatly reduce the cost usually associated with an in-prison alcohol/drug addiction treatment program. Such a program would be overseen by licensed or certified addiction professionals managing the certified or intern ACT inmate counselors.

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