Thursday, August 23, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, Drug Courts Research


NCJ 219289
Tim McSweeney; Alex Stevens; Neil Hunt; Paul J. Turnbull
Twisting Arms or a Helping Hand?: Assessing the Impact of 'Coerced' and Comparable 'Voluntary' Drug Treatment Options
British Journal of Criminology
Volume:47 Issue:3 Dated:May 2007 Pages:470 to 490

This study compared drug treatment outcomes among court-mandated treatment participants and voluntary treatment participants in England. Results indicated that the court-mandated drug treatment participants faired just as well as the voluntary drug treatment participants in terms of significant and sustained reductions in drug use, injecting risk, and offending behaviors. Improvements in mental health were also observed for both groups. Moreover, the reductions in drug use and criminal behavior were sustained between the 6 and 18 month followup interviews. Other findings revealed that retention rates among court-mandated and voluntary participants were roughly equal. The authors observe that while the results are encouraging for court-mandated drug treatment programming, there is room for improvement for the aftercare and settlement of both court-mandated and voluntary drug treatment clients. The authors also note that the expectations of treatment should be realistic and should not be viewed as the one perfect solution for dealing with drug misuse and drug-related crime. Participants were 157 individuals who entered community-based drug treatment at 1 of 10 research sites across London and Kent, England between June 2003 and January 2004. A full 57 percent of the participants (89 individuals) were court-ordered to undergo this community-based drug treatment. Participants were interviewed at intake, within 2 weeks of starting treatment, and again at 6, 12, and 18 months after program completion. Interviews were standardized and focused on physical and psychological health, housing, education, employment, relationships, substance use, offending, victimization, pressure to be in treatment, self-efficacy, and motivation to change. In-depth individual and focus group interviews were also conducted with 38 health and criminal justice practitioners involved in the development, implementation, or delivery of the drug treatment program and 57 criminally involved drug users who were mandated to treatment. The analysis focused on comparing the outcomes of the court-mandated treatment participants to those of the voluntary (comparison) participants. Data were analyzed using logistic regression models. Figures, table, footnotes, references

NCJ 219095
Caroline S. Cooper
Drug Courts--Just the Beginning: Getting Other Areas of Public Policy in Sync
Substance Use & Misuse
Volume:42 Issue:2-3 Dated:2007 Pages:243 to 256

This article analyzes the consequences of punitive policies aimed at drug offenders despite their recovery efforts. The main argument is that the primary goals and benefits of drug courts and other criminal justice drug treatment initiatives cannot be realized without changes in other areas of public policy regarding drug offenders that serve to punish them despite recovery accomplishments. The author calls on policymakers to begin to address the glaring disparity between the intentions and interventions of the criminal justice system toward drug offenders and other social policies regarding drug offenders that remain overwhelmingly punitive. The author argues that while offenders can satisfactorily complete drug court programs or other drug treatment programs and remain drug-free, law-abiding citizens, punitive policies in the United States serve to undermine the success of their recovery as well as the often considerable efforts made toward that recovery. Specific policies targeted for criticism include the denial of: (1) welfare benefits to persons charged/convicted of drug offenses; (2) educational loans or other benefits to persons charged/convicted of drug offenses; (3) public housing to persons charged/convicted of drug offenses; (4) voting rights to persons with felony convictions; and (5) legal immigration status for persons charged/convicted of drug offenses. While gains toward treating drug offenders have been made in the criminal justice system and through community-based organizations, the punitive policies that continue to punish drug offenders serve to mute the gains made toward recovery, gains that include becoming drug-free, obtaining a job, regaining child custody, and generally becoming a law-abiding and tax-paying citizen. Future research should focus on how drug offenders are treated by other public systems. Notes, references

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