Thursday, November 22, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, Drug Court Articles, Part Two


NCJ 220268
J. Mitchell Miller; J. C. Barnes; Holly Ventura Miller
Effect of Demeanor on Drug Court Admission
Criminal Justice Policy Review
Volume:18 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:246 to 259

This study examined whether a juvenile suspect's/defendant's demeanor (attitude and behavior) at intake influenced whether or not he/she was admitted to diversion through a juvenile drug court. The study found a significant relationship between offender demeanor and program admission. Of those accepted into drug court (n=40), 62.5 percent were described by program staff as having a "favorable" demeanor. Similarly, of the group rejected for program participation (n=36), 61.1 percent were reported as having an "unfavorable" demeanor. Demeanor remained a significant predictor of program admission after controlling for other factors such as demographics or number of charges. Those exhibiting favorable demeanor during intake and assessment were more than two and a half times more likely to be accepted into the program. Future research should examine whether demeanor at intake is a significant predictor of outcome of drug court participation. If so, it could be considered a reasonable criterion for program admission. Of the 76 juveniles referred to the Aiken County Juvenile Drug Court (South Carolina)--a voluntary, court-supervised program for nonviolent offenders with substance-abuse problems--40 were accepted and 36 denied. In this study, program admission was the dependent variable. The independent variable of demeanor was assessed as "favorable" or "unfavorable" based on the intake evaluator's impressions of each referred offender. In each of the cases examined, offenders' attitudes toward the program and general demeanor were documented by those who conducted the assessments. Other independent variables measured were race, gender, age, family status, and dual diagnosis (offender diagnosed with both mental illness and substance abuse). 4 tables and 55 references

NCJ 220269
Kevin W. Whiteacre
Strange Bedfellows: The Tensions of Coerced Treatment
Criminal Justice Policy Review
Volume:18 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:260 to 273

Based on interviews with staff and participants in a juvenile drug court, this exploratory study identified tensions that stemmed from the use of sanctions to coerce participation and retention in substance-abuse treatment. The findings indicated the presence of ambivalence and ideological tensions among drug court staff regarding using the threat of sanctions in order to gain offenders' compliance with treatment regimens. There was conflict among staff members over the types of punishments and rewards that should be used and when they should be applied. This tension was magnified because of the persistence of noncompliant juveniles and program failures under the coercive treatment model. Had there been evidence of a uniform pattern of successful outcomes under coercive treatment, the tension it caused among staff might have been resolved. When failures occurred under the coercive treatment regimen of the drug court, staff tended to rationalize the failures by blaming the involved juveniles as being "unmotivated" to benefit from treatment, rather than blaming the system itself. This analysis is flawed, however, because the rationale for coerced treatment is that even unmotivated individuals will benefit from involuntary treatment. Future research should examine why coerced treatment creates tension and disagreement among drug court staff members and whether evaluations of such a regimen, compared with other types of regimens for drug-abusing offenders, might resolve the tension. Open-ended qualitative interviews were conducted with 25 juvenile participants in a drug court, the judge, defender, prosecutor, 3 probation officers, and 6 treatment counselors. Dozens of court compliance hearings and prehearing staff meetings were also observed for 1 year. 4 notes and 23 references

NCJ 220270
Jeffrey A. Bouffard; Katie A. Richardson
Effectiveness of Drug Court Programming for Specific Kinds of Offenders: Methamphetamine and DWI Offenders Versus Other Drug-Involved Offenders
Criminal Justice Policy Review
Volume:18 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:274 to 293

Data from a hybrid DWI/drug court in a small midwestern urban area were used to determine whether the court was equally effective for offenders charged with methamphetamine-related crime compared with other types of drug offenders, as well as whether the drug court was equally effective for offenders charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) compared with other types of drug-involved offenders. The study found that the drug court was able to reduce reoffending for methamphetamine-involved as well as other types of drug-using offenders. This suggests that the expanded use of drug courts is at least part of the solution to the most recent drug crisis involving methamphetamine abuse. Among DWI offenders, however, drug-court graduation was not related to reduced reoffending compared with non-DWI offenders processed by the hybrid court. The latter finding suggests that newly emerging hybrid DWI/drug courts and their treatment providers should pay attention to the need for drug-specific interventions as well as the need to assess and treat individuals based on their existing level of readiness for treatment. Information was obtained on 87 individuals who had participated in the hybrid drug court between 2001 and 2005. The drug court offenders were compared with a sample of similar offenders (n=124) who were sentenced to prison. The hybrid DWI/drug court accepts both drug offenders and DWI offenders. Substance abuse treatment services were delivered to participants by the local county human services agency under contract with the drug court. 4 tables, 1 figure, 2 notes, and 34 references

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