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In this collection you will find peer-reviewed journal articles, research, and findings related to treatment courts. You can search by author, year, subject, or court type; click “reset” to begin a new search. Due to copyright laws, some of these articles may require extra steps to view once leaving the NDCRC website. If access is limited, you may be able to request articles from the clearinghouse, the author, or your local library; a guide to our access labels is below. This page will be continuously updated as information relevant to the field is released.

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Consumers’ Perspectives on Successful and Unsuccessful Experiences in a Drug Treatment Court

Authors: Merith Cosden, Amber Baker, Cristina Benki, Sarah Patz, Sara Walker & Kristen Sullivan
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse

This study focused on the program experiences of 190 men and women who chose to participate in a drug treatment court in lieu of incarceration in California. Participants had committed non-violent criminal offenses related to drug abuse. The program required 18 months of community-based treatment in conjunction with court supervision including frequent drug testing and 6 months of abstinence for successful program completion. Interviews were conducted in 2007/2008 with 94 participants who had successfully completed treatment and 96 who had not. Open-ended questions addressed reasons for entering and remaining in treatment and supports and obstacles to program completion. Responses were coded using ethnographic content analysis. Factors associated with successful program completion are discussed.


Cosden, M., Baker, A., Benki, C., Patz, S., Walker, S., & Sullivan, K. (2010). Consumers’ Perspectives on Successful and Unsuccessful Experiences in a Drug Treatment Court. Substance Use & Misuse, 45(7–8), 1033–1049.

Keywords: consumer, drug court, motivation, social support, therapeutic jurisprudence, treatment


Providing Recovery Services for Offenders with Co-Occurring Disorders

Authors: Christine Kleinpeter, PsyD; Elizabeth Piper Deschenes, PhD; Jeff Blanks, MFT; Cory R. Lepage, MS; Myesa Knox, MS
Journal: Journal of Dual Diagnosis


Objectives: Providing adequate treatment and supervision for drug offenders with co-occurring disorders has been a challenge because they are usually not eligible for drug court and often fail to comply with the conditions of probation in other drug diversion programs. Here we report the results of a process evaluation of the Co-Occurring Disorders Court (CODC) implemented by the Superior Court of the County of Orange, California.


Methods: Drug offenders who are chronically, persistently mentally ill and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or a major depressive disorder participated in an 18-month program that provides integrated treatment. Following evaluation by a psychiatrist and the drug court team (judge, public defender, probation officer, and mental health caseworker), they are placed on medication and referred to residential and/or outpatient drug treatment. During the program they are randomly drug tested and their progress is monitored by the drug court team; they receive sanctions for program noncompliance or rewards for program compliance. Results: In the first two years of operation the CODC admitted 72 offenders. The study findings indicate the majority of participants are being stabilized on their medications, which increases their treatment stay and improves their quality of life. At 6 months the participants show advances in social functioning, decreasing problems due to substance use, and productivity in the achievement of life goals.


Conclusions: The results of the process evaluation indicate the program is achieving the stated objectives. The services provided to the CODC participants are well coordinated, offering continuity of care between the community and jail as well as extensive case management and supervision.


Kleinpeter, C., Deschenes, E. P., Blanks, J., Lepage, C. R., & Knox, M. (2006). Providing Recovery Services for Offenders with Co-Occurring Disorders. Journal of Dual Diagnosis3(1), 59–85.

Keywords: co-occurring disorders, drug court evaluation, offender treatment


A Guiding Hand or a Slap on the Wrist: Can Drug Courts Be the Solution to Maternal Opioid Use?

Author: Cara O’Connor
Journal: The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

As the opioid epidemic has expanded its reach, the number of pregnant women addicted to opioids has increased exponentially in recent years. The increase in the number of opioid-addicted pregnant women has resulted in a drastic expansion in the number of newborns who experience Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Newborns affected with NAS experience painful withdrawal and cost more to care for due to their increased health needs. In an effort to address the growing number of pregnant women using opioids and babies born with NAS, some states have turned to the criminal justice system. Three states–Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama–have criminalized maternal drug use, either through construction of a new statute or by using existing statutes for this purpose, which has been upheld in their courts. Although high courts in many other states have continuously determined that such prosecutions are unlawful, women across the United States continue to face criminal charges for their substance use while pregnant. This Comment addresses the concerns opioid addicted pregnant women pose to the criminal justice system and argues that drug courts are a crucial component to comprehensive reform. The drug court system needs to follow the lead of a recently established drug court in Buffalo, New York and embrace necessary reforms to better serve the health needs of pregnant women struggling with opioid addiction. This Comment argues the following reforms are necessary to effectively adjudicate cases involving pregnant drug use: expedited proceedings to begin treatment and avoid jailing; access to medication-assisted treatment; allowing women to spend time with their newborns; an appropriate sanctions system that recognizes the medical reality of relapse; and funding considerations that prevent women from having to pay for treatment. If drug courts are part of a comprehensive solution to treatment for opioid addiction, these reforms can contribute to better meeting the health care needs of women and their children.


O’Connor, C. (2019). A Guiding Hand or a Slap on the Wrist: Can Drug Courts Be the Solution to Maternal Opioid Use? The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-)109(1), 103–136. JSTOR.



Can Courtroom Behavior Predict Recidivism? An Assessment of the Courtroom Behavior Check List for Women Presenting in Drug Court

Authors: Jennifer M. Reingle, Catherine W. Striley, Eusebius Small, Robert Crecelius, Catina Callahan O’leary, et al.
Journal: American Journal of Criminal Justice

The U.S. criminal justice system is overwhelmed with individuals affected by substance use and psychiatric disorders often co-morbid with criminal behavior. Locally, an evaluation of St. Louis downtown municipal ordinance violators found that 49 % of offenders reported mental health problems, 30 % reported alcohol-related problems, 86 % had a history of prior arrests and 71 % had failed to appear in the St. Louis City Municipal Court within the previous 2 years (Downtown St. Louis Community Court Evaluation Report, St. Louis, MO). These compounded conditions and their corresponding treatment needs are costly and complicate correctional rehabilitation efforts. Drug courts have emerged as alternative ‘therapeutic jurisprudence’ avenues designed to reduce drug use and associated individual risk behaviors. Unfortunately, there are few evidence-based measures available for rapid, onsite evaluation of an individuals’ potential for success with drug court. A new assessment tool, the Courtroom Behavior Check List (CRBCL), was developed to measure behavioral compliance in court as a predictor of future behavior, as we believed that behavior in court would predict future criminal behavior. We found scores on the CRBCL declined (e.g., improved) among the 127 women interviewed from baseline through the 8-month follow-up, and that a poorer score predicted re-arrest for a criminal offense (OR=2.84; 95 % CI 1.20-6.69). Based upon these findings, the CRBCL may be a useful tool to measure the likelihood of re-offending among women in drug court. Policy implications and directions for future research are discussed.


Reingle, J. M., Striley, C. W., Small, E., Crecelius, R., O’leary, C. C., & Cottler, L. B. (2013). Can Courtroom Behavior Predict Recidivism? An Assessment of the Courtroom Behavior Check List for Women Presenting in Drug Court. American Journal of Criminal Justice : AJCJ; Louisville38(4), 520–534.

Keywords: adult treatment courts, court behavior, criminology, law enforcement, preparation, recidivism, women


Balancing Act: The Adaptation of Traditional Judicial Roles in Reentry Court

Author: Caitlin J. Taylor
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation

While research has confirmed their role adaptation and importance in reducing recidivism in drug courts, little research has documented the role of the judge in reentry courts. Based on interviews with participants and the workgroup, court observations, and a document analysis, this study revealed that judges in a federal reentry court program balance informal, supportive relationships with participants with more traditional, authoritative, disciplinarian roles. The implications of this balancing act for participants’ perceptions and other reentry court programs are also discussed.


Taylor, C. J. (2012). Balancing Act: The Adaptation of Traditional Judicial Roles in Reentry Court. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation51(6), 351–369.

Keywords: probationers, program evaluation, reentry, reintegration, role transformation


Community Perspectives on Drug/Alcohol Use, Concerns, Needs, and Resources in Four Washington State Tribal Communities

Authors: Sandra M. Radin, Stephen H. Kutz, June La Marr, Diane Vendiola, Michael Vendiola, Brian Wilbur, Lisa Rey Thomas, Dennis M. Donovan
Journal: Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse

Community-university teams investigated substance use, abuse, and dependence (SUAD) and related concerns, needs, strengths, and resources in four Washington State Tribal communities. A total of 153 key community members shared their perspectives through 43 semi-structured interviews and 19 semi-structured focus groups. Qualitative data analysis revealed robust themes: prescription medications and alcohol were perceived as most prevalent and concerning; family and peer influences and emotional distress were prominent perceived risk factors; and SUAD intervention resources varied across communities. Findings may guide future research and the development of much needed strength-based, culturally appropriate, and effective SUAD interventions for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and their communities.


Radin, S. M., Kutz, S. H., Marr, J. L., Vendiola, D., Vendiola, M., Wilbur, B., Thomas, L. R., & Donovan, D. M. (2015). Community Perspectives on Drug/Alcohol Use, Concerns, Needs, and Resources in Four Washington State Tribal Communities. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse14(1), 29–58.

Keywords: Alaska Native, American Indian, Native American, participatory research, substance use, tribal, Washington state


Military Socialization: A Motivating Factor for Seeking Treatment in a Veterans’ Treatment Court

Authors: Eileen Ahlin, Anne Douds
Journal: American Journal of Criminal Justice

The veterans’ treatment court movement is just beyond the nascent period, and given the rapid proliferation of these courts in recent years it is imperative that the scientific community understand their operational procedures and assess whether they are meeting a unique need beyond those addressed by other problem-solving courts. This paper provides an in-depth examination of veteran culture and how it helps to distinguish veterans’ treatment courts from other courts that focus on similar populations (e.g., drug, DWI, and mental health courts). Using in-depth semi-structured interviews and focus group data collected from veteran participants, veteran mentors, and court team members in Pennsylvania, we employ content analysis to explore the veteran culture as a motivator for participants to enroll in a veterans’ treatment court and engage with others throughout participation in treatment. The results of this exploratory study suggest that a shared culture serves to motivate justice-involved veterans to seek out the veterans’ treatment court over other treatment options and remain engaged in this problem-solving court, while inspiring a sense of obligation to do well in treatment for them and their fellow veterans. The shared experiences of military service and across-the-board support for fellow service members suggest that the veterans’ treatment court creates a unique environment for pursuing treatment.


Ahlin, E. M., & Douds, A. S. (2016). Military Socialization: A Motivating Factor for Seeking Treatment in a Veterans’ Treatment Court. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 41(1), 83–96., 14(1), 29–58.

Keywords: justice-involved veterans, problem-solving courts, treatment motivation, veterans treatment courts


A Multi-Site Study of the Use of Sanctions and Incentives in Mental Health Courts

Authors: Lisa Callahan, Henry J. Steadman, Sheila Tillman, Roumen Vesselinov
Journal: Law and Human Behavior

Mental health courts (MHCs) have become widespread in the United States as a form of diversion for justice-involved individuals with mental illness. Sanctions and incentives are considered crucial to the functioning of MHCs and drug courts, yet with little empirical guidance to support or refute their use, and there are no definitions of what they are. The use of sanctions and to a lesser degree incentives is the focus of this article, with particular emphasis on jail sanctions. Subjects are participants (n = 447) in four MHCs across the United States. Results show that jail sanctions are used in three of four MHCs, and other sanctions are similarly used across the four MHCs. Participants charged with ‘person crimes’ are the least likely to receive any sanctions, including jail, whereas those charged with drug offenses are most often sanctioned. The factors associated with receiving a jail sanction are recent drug use, substance use diagnosis, and drug arrests; being viewed as less compliant with court conditions, receiving more bench warrants, and having more in-custody hearings; and MHC program termination. No personal characteristics are related to receiving sanctions. Knowing which MHC participants are more likely to follow court orders and avoid sanctions, and identifying those who have difficulty adhering to court conditions, can help guide court officials on adjusting supervision, perhaps avoiding reoffending and program failure.


Callahan, L., Steadman, H. J., Vesselinov, R., & Vesselinov, R. (2013). A multi-site study of the use of sanctions and incentives in mental health courts. Law and Human Behavior37(1), 1–9.

Keywords: adjudication, incentives, mental health, mental health courts, sanctions


A Randomized Pilot Study of the Engaging Moms Program for Family Drug Court

Authors: Gayle A. Dakof, Jeri B. Cohen, Craig E. Henderson, Eliette Duarte, Maya Boustani, Audra Blackburna, Ellen Venzer, Sam Hawes
Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

In response to the need for effective drug court interventions, the effectiveness of the Engaging Moms Program (EMP) versus Intensive Case Management Services (ICMS) on multiple outcomes for mothers enrolled in family drug court was investigated. In this intent-to-treat study, mothers (N = 62) were randomly assigned to either usual drug court care or the Engaging Moms drug court program. Mothers were assessed at intake and 3, 6, 12, and 18 months following intake. Results indicated that at 18 months post drug court enrollment, 77% of mothers assigned to EMP versus 55% of mothers assigned to ICMS had positive child welfare dispositions. There were statistically significant time effects for both intervention groups on multiple outcomes including substance use, mental health, parenting practices, and family functioning. EMP showed equal or better improvement than ICMS on all outcomes. The results suggest that EMP in family drug court is a viable and promising intervention approach to reduce maternal addiction and child maltreatment.


Dakof, G. A., Cohen, J. B., Henderson, C. E., Duarte, E., Boustani, M., Blackburn, A., Venzer, E., & Hawes, S. (2010). A randomized pilot study of the Engaging Moms Program for family drug court. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment38(3), 263–274.

Keywords: addiction, child maltreatment, drug courts, women


Medication Assisted Treatment in US Drug Courts: Results from a Nationwide Survey of Availability, Barriers and Attitudes

Authors: Harlan Matusow, MA; Samuel L. Dickman, AB; Josiah D. Rich, MD, MPH; Chunki Fong, MS; Dora M. Dumont, PhD, MPH; Carolyn Hardin, MPA; Douglas Marlowe, JD, PhD; Andrew Rosenblum, PhD
Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

Drug treatment courts are an increasingly important tool in reducing the census of those incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses; medication assisted treatment (MAT) is proven to be an effective treatment for opioid addiction. However, little is known about the availability of and barriers to MAT provision for opioid-addicted people under drug court jurisdiction. Using an online survey, we assessed availability, barriers, and need for MAT (especially agonist medication) for opioid addiction in drug courts. Ninety-eight percent reported opioid-addicted participants, and 47% offered agonist medication (56% for all MAT including naltrexone). Barriers included cost and court policy. Responses revealed significant uncertainty, especially among non-MAT providing courts. Political, judicial and administrative opposition appear to affect MAT’s inconsistent use and availability in drug court settings. These data suggest that a substantial, targeted educational initiative is needed to increase awareness of the treatment and criminal justice benefits of MAT in the drug courts.


Matusow, H., Dickman, S. L., Rich, J. D., Fong, C., Dumont, D. M., Hardin, C., Marlowe, D., & Rosenblum, A. (2013). Medication assisted treatment in US drug courts: Results from a nationwide survey of availability, barriers and attitudes. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment44(5), 473–480.

Keywords: buprenorphine, drug courts, medication-assisted treatment, methadone, naltrexone


Diversion of Veterans With Criminal Justice Involvement to Treatment Courts: Participant Characteristics and Outcomes

Authors: Jack Tsai, Bessie Flatley, Wesley J. Kasprow, Sean Clark, Andrea Finlay
Journal: Psychiatric Services

Objective: This study compared characteristics and outcomes between veterans who participated in veterans treatment courts (VTCs) and veterans involved in criminal justice who participated in other treatment courts (TCs) or who participated in neither VTCs or TCs.


Methods: Data from 22,708 veterans (N=8,083 VTC participants, 680 participants in other TCs [other-TC participants], and 13,945 participants in neither VTCs nor TCs [non-TC participants]) in the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) program were analyzed by using multilevel regression models.


Results: VTC participants were more likely than other VJO participants to have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, but there were no sociodemographic disparities in access to VTCs. VTC participants were more likely than non-TC participants to have drug or public-order offenses, and they were more likely than other-TC participants to have DUI offenses. VTC participants had better independent housing outcomes than other VJO participants, and they had better employment outcomes than non-TC participants. However, VTC and other-TC participants were also more likely to have jail sanctions and new incarcerations compared with non-TC participants.


Conclusions: VTCs are a growing service model that serves a broad group of veterans with a range of criminal offenses. Although VTCs show moderate benefits in housing and employment, specialized services are needed to reduce recidivism and maximize these benefits.


Tsai, J., Flatley, B., Kasprow, W. J., Clark, S., & Finlay, A. (2016). Diversion of Veterans With Criminal Justice Involvement to Treatment Courts: Participant Characteristics and Outcomes. Psychiatric Services68(4), 375–383.



Catch, Treat, and Release: Veteran Treatment Courts Address the Challenges of Returning Home

Authors: Michelle Slattery, Mallory Tascha Dugger, Theodore A. Lamb, Laura Williams
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse

After a decade of war, there is a great need for treatment and alternatives to incarceration for justice-involved veterans. U.S. military service members are returning from combat with substantial mental health challenges, which increase the potential for justice involvement. Veteran Treatment Courts are starting across the nation to meet this need for therapeutic justice. These problem solving courts provide access to treatment and motivation for engagement. Preliminary evidence from a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-funded evaluation suggests that significant improvements in posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use are just a few of the positive outcomes that these courts may help veterans achieve.


Slattery, M., Dugger, M. T., Lamb, T. A., & Williams, L. (2013). Catch, Treat, and Release: Veteran Treatment Courts Address the Challenges of Returning Home. Substance Use & Misuse48(10), 922–932.

Keywords: employment, housing, justice, OEF, OIF, ptsd, SAMHSA, substance abuse, TBI, US military, veterans treatment court


A Specialized Treatment Court for Veterans with Trauma Exposure: Implications for the Field

Authors: Kraig J. Knudsen, Scott Wingenfeld
Journal: Community Mental Health Journal

This study examines the efficacy of providing a Veterans Treatment Court specialized docket to trauma-affected veterans. Eighty-Six veterans enrolled in a jail diversion and trauma recovery Veterans Treatment Court program. Veteran participants were interviewed at baseline, 6- and 12-months to determine if the program led to improvements in jail recidivism, psychiatric symptoms, quality of life, and recovery. The results suggest that veteran’s involved in the Veterans Treatment Court programs experienced significant improvement in PTSD, depression, substance abuse, overall functioning, emotional wellbeing, relationships with others, recovery status, social connectedness, family functioning, and sleep.


Knudsen, K. J., & Wingenfeld, S. (2016). A Specialized Treatment Court for Veterans with Trauma Exposure: Implications for the Field. Community Mental Health Journal; New York52(2), 127–135.

Keywords: combat exposure, outcomes, ptsd, specialized docket, trauma, veterans, veterans treatment court


A National Study of Veterans Treatment Court Participants: Who Benefits and Who Recidivates

Authors: Jack Tsai, Andrea Finlay, Bessie Flatley, Wesley J. Kasprow
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse

Although there are now over 400 veterans treatment courts (VTCs) in the country, there have been few studies on participant outcomes in functional domains. Using national data on 7931 veterans in the Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Justice Outreach program across 115 VA sites who entered a VTC from 2011 to 2015, we examined the housing, employment, income, and criminal justice outcomes of VTC participants; and identified veteran characteristics predictive of outcomes. VTC participants spent an average of nearly a year in the program and 14% experienced a new incarceration. From program admission to exit, 10% more participants were in their own housing, 12% more were receiving VA benefits, but only 1% more were employed. Controlling for background characteristics, a history of incarceration predicted poor criminal justice, housing, and employment outcomes. Participants with property offenses or probation/parole violations and those with substance use disorders were more likely to experience a new incarceration. Participants with more mental health problems were more likely to be receiving VA benefits and less likely to be employed at program exit. Together, these findings highlight the importance of proper substance abuse treatment as well as employment services for VTC participants so that they can benefit from the diversion process.


Tsai, J., Finlay, A., Flatley, B., Kasprow, W. J., & Clark, S. (2018). A National Study of Veterans Treatment Court Participants: Who Benefits and Who Recidivates. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research; New York45(2), 236–244.

Keywords: criminal justice, homelessness, incarceration, treatment courts, veterans


A Three-Stage Model for Mental Health Treatment Court: A Qualitative Analysis of Graduates’ Perspectives

Authors: Lee Ann Eschbach, Rebecca Spirito Dalgin, Elizabeth Pantucci
Journal: Community Mental Health Journal

Mental Health Treatment Courts (MHTC) address the overrepresentation of individuals with mental health disorders in the criminal justice system and strive to minimize the “revolving door” cycle of arrest/incarceration/release/re-arrest. A qualitative research group interview design was conducted with program graduates resulting in a three-stage model. Participant’s motivation was initially to avoid jail, but over time participants begin to make intentional choices leading to mental health recovery. Participants also described the importance of their relationship with the staff and the judge as well as the need for trust, understanding, and respect throughout the program. Recommendations for future research and program development are discussed.


Eschbach, L. A., Dalgin, R. S., & Pantucci, E. (2019). A Three-Stage Model for Mental Health Treatment Court: A Qualitative Analysis of Graduates’ Perspectives. Community Mental Health Journal; New York55(4), 590–598.

Keywords: empowerment, mental illness and incarceration, psychiatric rehabilitation, recovery, treatment courts


Criminogenic Factors Associated with Noncompliance and Rearrest of Mental Health Court Participants

Authors: Laura Honegger, Kyle Honegger
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior

There is a considerable overrepresentation of individuals with mental health issues within the U.S. criminal justice system as compared with the general population. Mental health courts (MHCs) arose in response to this concern, with a primary aim of reducing recidivism. Thus far, MHC research has largely neglected the potential utility of criminogenic factors. A retrospective analysis of 163 MHC participants was conducted to examine the association between clinical and criminogenic factors and noncompliance, as well as for recidivism, using a series of Bayesian negative binomial regression models to compare predictors. Criminogenic factors, namely first offending prior to the age of 18, having a substance-related diagnosis, commission of a variety of crimes, historical probation or parole violation, and having less than a high school education were associated with an increased rate of engaging in noncompliant behavior and rearrest. None of the clinical factors were directly associated with noncompliance or rearrest outcomes.


Honegger, L. N., & Honegger, K. S. (2019). Criminogenic factors associated with noncompliance and rearrest of mental health court participants. Criminal Justice and Behavior46(9), 1276–1294.

Keywords: adjudication, bench warrants, clinical models, criminal justice, criminogenic risk factors, jail sanctions, mental disorders, mental health court, models, noncompliance, rearrest, recidivism, statistical probability


The Impact of Community Treatment on Recidivism Among Mental Health Court Participants

Authors: Woojae Han, Allison D. Redlich
Journal: Psychiatric Services

Objective: A core component of mental health courts (MHCs) is the provision of community treatment in order to reduce arrests. However, research on the components of treatment received by MHC participants is rare. This study examined the impact of community treatment on arrests in an MHC sample (N=357) and a sample from the traditional criminal justice system (N=384).


Methods: Data were from the MacArthur MHC Project, which includes objective and subjective information from four MHCs with comparison samples at each site. Interview data were collected for six months before and six months after entry into the MHC or legal system. National data from arrest records over one year were also obtained. Treatment-related variables were compliance (appointments and medication), perceptions (motivation and perceived voluntariness), and use of nine types of community treatment. A fixed-effects regression controlled for selection bias between groups.


Results: The regression model indicated significant increases in treatment motivation and use of community mental health and substance abuse services among MHC participants, compared with treatment-as-usual participants; however, the perceived voluntariness of treatment decreased in the MHC group. For the treatment-as-usual group, none of the treatment variables were associated with future arrest. For the MHC group, increased medication compliance and use of mental health services were associated with a significant decrease in arrests.


Conclusions: Consistent with the MHC goals, findings indicated increases in receipt of community treatment among MHC participants. For the MHC sample, but not the treatment-as-usual sample, increased treatment was associated with reduced recidivism.


Han, W., & Redlich, A. D. (2015). The Impact of Community Treatment on Recidivism Among Mental Health Court Participants. Psychiatric Services67(4), 384–390.



More of the Same? Treatment in Mental Health Courts

Author: Mary Lee Luskin
Journal: Law and Human Behavior

Despite the centrality of community treatment to the identity and mission of mental health courts, research on what treatment is actually provided by mental health courts is scarce. Using longitudinal interview data from a large, well-established mental health court, this study describes the context, amount, and types of treatment for 82 mental health court participants (MHC) and a matched sample of 89 defendants (TAU) who underwent regular criminal court processing. The study compared treatment from the period 6 months prior to entry into the mental health court or arrest to that at a 6-month follow-up. Multivariate analyses were used to estimate the effect of mental health court participation on the amount of outpatient treatment, controlling for demographic, clinical, and legal variables. The research found that mental health court participation increased the frequency of outpatient treatment, but that social services and treatment specialized to address criminal risk factors were uncommon both at the baseline and at the 6-month follow-up. At the baseline, a majority of both samples reported that they had received outpatient treatment, but the MHC sample reported more frequent and more varied treatment. At the 6-month follow-up, the differences between the 2 samples were greater, with the wider gap resulting not only from improvements in the MHC but also from deterioration in the treatment status of the TAU sample.


Luskin, M. L. (2013). More of the same? Treatment in mental health courts. Law and Human Behavior37(4), 255–266.

Keywords: adjudication, court referrals, court-monitored treatment, justice system, mental health, mental health courts, mental health services, mentally ill offenders, treatment


Mental Health Courts and the Complex Issue of Mentally Ill Offenders

Authors: Amy Watson, Patricia Hanrahan, Daniel J. Luchins, Arthur J. Lurigio
Journal: Psychiatric Services

Mental health courts are emerging in communities across the country to address the growing number of individuals with serious mental illness in jails and the complex issues they present to the courts. Based on concepts of therapeutic jurisprudence and patterned after drug courts, mental health courts attempt to prevent criminalization and recidivism by providing critical mental health services. The authors describe mental health courts in Broward County, Florida; King County, Washington; Anchorage, Alaska; and Marion County, Indiana. Each of these courts is designed to meet the specific needs and resources of its jurisdiction. The courts’ experiences suggest that involving all players from the beginning is essential. The authors discuss the issues of due process, availability of services, and control of resources, which must be addressed before mental health courts are widely implemented.


Watson, A., Hanrahan, P., Luchins, D., & Lurigio, A. (2001). Mental Health Courts and the Complex Issue of Mentally Ill Offenders. Psychiatric Services52(4), 477–481.



Why do Mental Health Courts Work? A Confluence of Treatment, Support & Adroit Judicial Supervision

Authors: Michelle Edgely
Journal: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

The article contributes to the understanding of ‘what works’ in mental health courts (MHCs). There are now almost 400 MHCs in the US and more worldwide. A substantial body of evidence demonstrates that MHCs can succeed in reducing recidivism among offenders who suffer mental disorders. This article argues that MHCs succeed when they have achieved the right confluence of essential elements, including providing evidence-based treatment and psychosocial supports and using adroit judge-craft. After a brief review of some of the studies demonstrating MHC success, this article discusses the research into the necessary foundations of rehabilitation programs. It is argued that, although treatment and psychosocial services should be supplied within an evidence-based framework, neither of the two leading conceptual models – Risk–Needs–Responsivity and the Good Lives Model – are empirically proven with offenders who suffer from mental disorders. Despite the absence of proof, the Good Lives Model is argued to be appropriate for MHCs because it is normatively consonant with therapeutic jurisprudence. The MHC judge is another essential element. The judicial role is assayed to elucidate how it functions to promote the rehabilitation of offenders with mental disorders. It is argued that the role of the MHC judge during supervisory status hearings is to establish a therapeutic alliance and practice motivational psychology with each MHC participant.


Edgely, M. (2014). Why do mental health courts work? A confluence of treatment, support & adroit judicial supervision. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry37(6), 572–580.

Keywords: mental health courts, offender rehabilitation, offenders with mental illness, problem-solving courts, problem-solving judges


Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts: Implications for Social Work

Authors: Sabrina W. Tyuse, Donald M. Linhorst
Journal: Health & Social Work

In recent years communities across the United States have instituted specialized criminal courts for defendants with substance abuse disorders and mental illness. These specialized courts seek to prevent incarceration and facilitate community-based treatment for offenders, while at the same time protecting public safety. The authors describe two types of specialized courts: drug courts and mental health courts. They critically examine the strengths and weaknesses of these courts and conclude with implications for social work education, practice, research, and advocacy.


Tyuse, S. W., & Linhorst, D. M. (2005). Drug Courts and Mental Health Courts: Implications for Social Work. Health & Social Work30(3), 233–240.

Keywords: drug courts, mental health courts, mental illness, specialized courts, substance abuse


Fighting America’s Highest Incarceration Rates with Offender Programming: Process Evaluation Implications from the Louisiana 22nd Judicial District Reentry Court

Authors: J. Mitchell Miller, David N. Khey
Journal: American Journal of Criminal Justice

Reentry programs, when adequately funded and delivered with fidelity, can render recidivism reduction and other positive outcomes such as abstinence and employment stability. This paper reports process evaluation findings for the Louisiana 22nd Judicial District Reentry Court program, a joint SAMHSA/BJA-sponsored multiphase programming intervention for high-risk/high-need offenders featuring job readiness training in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and transition services during reentry, including program engagement, job placement, and treatment services continuation in the community under strict judicial supervision. Research procedures entailed 1) observation of court appearances, treatment team meetings, educational activities, and counseling sessions, 2) review of all program participant case files enabling progress tracking, and 3) in-depth and focus group interviews with program stakeholders both at Angola and post-release in community settings. Findings relate the evidence based nature and quality of services delivery to date, as well as fidelity demonstrated across major programmatic domains. Program improvement opportunities, outcome evaluation implications, and performance measures signaling early success center discussion around vanguard elements of the court and evaluation design, respectively.


Miller, J. M., & Khey, D. N. (2017). Fighting America’s Highest Incarceration Rates with Offender Programming: Process Evaluation Implications from the Louisiana 22nd Judicial District Reentry Court. American Journal of Criminal Justice : AJCJ; Louisville, 42(3), 574–588.

Keywords: offender programming, program fidelity, reentry court


The Supervision to Aid Reentry (STAR) Programme: Enhancing the Social Capital of Ex-offenders

Author: Caitlin J. Taylor
Journal: Probation Journal

This article explores a central finding from a process evaluation of a federal reentry court programme entitled the Supervision to Aid Reentry (STAR) programme in Philadelphia, PA, USA. Using inductive and deductive analyses, results revealed that the STAR programme helps participants build social capital by encouraging family involvement as well as the development of relationships among programme participants. Family involvement and relationships among participants were found to offer participants social and emotional support as well as access to felon-friendly employment opportunities.


Taylor, C. J. (2013). The Supervision to Aid Reentry (STAR) programme: Enhancing the social capital of ex-offenders. Probation Journal60(2), 119–135.

Keywords: courts, desistance, probation, relationships, supervision


Judicial Perspectives on Family Drug Treatment Courts

Authors: Judge Leonard P. Edwards, Judge James A. Ray
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

Family Drug Treatment Courts are a specialized calendar or docket that operates within the juvenile dependency court. These courts provide the setting for a collaborative effort by the court and all the participants in the child protection system to come together in a non-adversarial setting to determine the individual treatment needs of substance-abusing parents whose children are under the jurisdiction of the dependency court. This article is intended to give judges and others a judicial perspective on FDTCs, and to offer some assistance for those who are operating or who are considering creating one.


Edwards, J. L. P., & Ray, J. J. A. (2005). Judicial Perspectives on Family Drug Treatment Courts. Juvenile and Family Court Journal56(3), 1–27.



Therapeutic Jurisprudence in Practice: Changes in Family Treatment Court Norms Over Time

Author: Suzanna Fay-Ramirez
Journal: Law & Social Inquiry

Family treatment court (FTC) is an example of an increasing number of problem-centered courts currently operating in the United States. Problem-centered courts such as FTC encompass the ideas of therapeutic jurisprudence but operate within the broader court system. Presented are the results of an FTC case study that seeks to understand the evolution of courtroom norms and practice over time. Observations of courtroom interactions and interviews with courtroom personnel show that initial observations are consistent with the ideals of therapeutic jurisprudence. However, over time, daily demands and pressures on the courtroom undermine the therapeutic approach.


Fay‐Ramirez, S. (2015). Therapeutic Jurisprudence in Practice: Changes in Family Treatment Court Norms Over Time. Law & Social Inquiry40(1), 205–236.



Convicted Driving-While-Impaired Offenders’ Views on Effectiveness of Sanctions and Treatment

Authors: Sandra Lapham, Elizabeth England-Kennedy
Journal: Qualitative Health Research

In this article we analyze qualitative data from a multiple-method, longitudinal study drawn from 15-year follow-up interviews with a subsample of 82 individuals arrested for driving while intoxicated in a southwestern state (1989–1995). We explore reactions to the arrest and court-mandated sanctions, including legal punishments, mandated interventions, and/or participation in programs aimed at reducing recidivism. Key findings include experiencing certain negative emotional reactions to the arrest, reactions to being jailed, experiencing other court-related sanctions as deterring driving-while-intoxicated behavior, and generally negative opinions regarding court-mandated interventions. We discuss interviewees’ complex perspectives on treatment and program participation and their effects on lessening recidivism, and we offer suggestions for reducing recidivism based on our findings.


Lapham, S., & England-Kennedy, E. (2011). Convicted Driving-While-Impaired Offenders’ Views on Effectiveness of Sanctions and Treatment. Qualitative Health Research.

Keywords: addiction, alcohol, alcoholism, behavior, comparative analysis, intervention programs, risk, substance abuse


What Do Clients Achieve in Drug/DUI Court? Examining Intended and Unintended Outcomes

Authors: Bin Liang, Michael A. Long, J. David Knottnerus
Journal: Justice System Journal

Compared to a growing number of quantitative studies that focus on evaluating drug/DUI court process (e.g., retention) and outcomes (e.g., reducing recidivism), very few studies qualitatively and systematically examine clients’ perceptions and experiences in these programs. Based on content analysis of 229 letters written by clients to Tulsa County DUI and drug programs in Oklahoma, this study examines the potential (mis)match between the stated official goals of the program and major achievements and progress self-reported by clients. Our analysis shows that in addition to abstinence, compliance, and techniques for success, a significant portion of clients’ achievements went beyond the administrative expectations. Rather, the program transformed clients’ lives in a holistic way and affected diverse aspects of their lives. These findings should encourage the legislature and practitioners to look beyond drug/DUI court supervision/discipline in evaluating clients’ progress and to incorporate elements reported by clients in building a more successful program.


Liang, B., Long, M. A., & Knottnerus, J. D. (2016). What Do Clients Achieve in Drug/DUI Court? Examining Intended and Unintended Outcomes. Justice System Journal; Williamsburg37(3), 272-289,292.

Keywords: court administration, criminal justice, specialized courts


A National Survey of U.S. Juvenile Mental Health Courts

Authors: Lisa Callahan, Joseph Cocozza, Henry J. Steadman, Sheila Tillman
Journal: Psychiatric Services

Objective: The authors surveyed U.S. juvenile mental health courts (JMHCs).


Methods: Forty-one were identified in 15 states, and 34 returned surveys; one was completed on the basis of published information. Topics included the court’s history, youths served, inclusion and exclusion criteria, the court process, and services provided.


Results: Half (51%) reported that the juvenile court was responsible for the program; for 11% the probation agency had the responsibility, and 17% reported shared responsibility by these entities. Fifty-one percent reported that all youths with any mental disorder diagnosis are eligible. The most commonly reported participant diagnoses are bipolar disorder (27%), depression (23%), and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (16%). Seventy percent currently include participants with felony offenses, and 91% with misdemeanors; 67% exclude status offenses, and 21% exclude violent offenses. A guilty plea was required by 63%. Incentives to participate included dismissal of charges (40%), reduction in court hearings (43%), praise by the judge and probation officer (60%), reduction in curfew restrictions (23%), and gift cards or gifts (71%). Sanctions for not participating included increased supervision or hearings (60%), performing community service (54%), and placement in residential detention (60%). Most JMHCs reported use of a multidisciplinary team to coordinate community-based services to prevent protracted justice system involvement.


Conclusions: JMHCs are being developed in the absence of systematically collected outcome data. Although they resemble adult mental health courts, they have unique features that are specific to addressing the complex needs of youths with mental disorders involved in the justice system. These include diagnostic and treatment challenges and issues related to involving families and schools.


Callahan, L., Cocozza, J., Steadman, H. J., & Tillman, S. (2012). A National Survey of U.S. Juvenile Mental Health Courts. Psychiatric Services63(2), 130–134.

Keywords: court administration, criminal justice, specialized courts


Feasibility, Acceptability, and Initial Findings from a Community-Based Cultural Mental Health Intervention for American Indian Youth and Their Families

Authors: Jessica Goodkind, Marianna LaNoue, Christopher Lee, Lance Freeland, Rachel Freund
Journal: Journal of Community Psychology

Through a CBPR partnership, university and American Indian (AI) tribal members developed and tested Our Life intervention to promote mental health of AI youth and their families by addressing root causes of violence, trauma, and substance abuse. Based on premises that well-being is built on a foundation of traditional cultural beliefs and practices, and that it requires a process of healing and understanding, the 6-month intervention had four components: 1) recognizing/healing historical trauma; 2) reconnecting to traditional culture; 3) parenting/social skill-building; and 4) strengthening family relationships through equine-assisted activities. Feasibility, acceptability, appropriateness, and preliminary outcomes were examined in a mixed-method within-group design. Engagement and retention were challenging, suggesting that families faced numerous barriers to participation. Youth who completed the program experienced significant increases in cultural identity, self-esteem, positive coping strategies, quality of life, and social adjustment. Qualitative data supported these findings and suggested additional positive effects.


Goodkind, J., LaNoue, M., Freeland, C. L. and L., & Freund, R. (2012). Feasibility, Acceptability, and Initial Findings from a Community-Based Cultural Mental Health Intervention for American Indian Youth and Their Families. Journal of Community Psychology40(4), 381–405.

Keywords: court administration, criminal justice, specialized courts


Perceptions about Recovery Needs and Drug-Avoidance Recovery Behaviors among Youth in Substance Abuse Treatment

Authors: Rachel Gonzales, MPH, M. Douglas Anglin, Ph.D, Deborah C. Glik, Sc.D, Christina Zavalza
Journal: Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

Objective: This study used mixed methods to explore youth attitudes about recovery-related needs and important drug-avoidance behaviors after treatment.


Method: Focus groups were conducted with 118 substance using youth in treatment (four residential and 10 outpatient settings) throughout Los Angeles County.


Results: The average age was 17.4 (SD = 2.9); 78.3% were male, 66.1% Latino; and most were in treatment for primary marijuana (40.9%) or methamphetamine (30.4%) abuse. Quantitatve results from the drug-avoidance activity survey identified the following factors youth rated as important to their recovery after treatment: lifestyle improvement activities (95.7%); changing personal drug behaviors (89.6%); drug environment/culture change activities (82.5%); with the least important being therapeutic activities (78.5%). Qualitative findings from focus groups that asked what youth think are important for recovery programs to address after treatment revealed the following four areas: (1) recovery promotion to developmentally appropriate activities (95%); (2) facilitating the use of coping skills to deal with stress (85%); (3) offering alternative recovery support options (not just abstinence only) (75%); and (4) continuing to provide substance use education (65%).


Conclusion: Findings highlight essential aspects of recovery in terms of need and drug-avoidance behaviors considered important to youth in treatment. Such information will help to better address clinical and recovery support models aimed at relapse prevention to ensure that the perceived problems of substance-abusing youth are adequately met.


Gonzalez, Rachel, Anglin, M. Douglas, Glik, Deborah C., Zavalza, Christina. (2013). Perceptions about Recovery Needs and Drug-Avoidance Recovery Behaviors among Youth in Substance Abuse Treatment. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs45(4), 297–303.

Keywords: drug-avoidance activities, recovery needs, youth substance abuse


Predicting Nonresponse to Juvenile Drug Court Interventions

Authors: Colleen A. Halliday-Boykins, Cindy M. Schaeffer
Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

Using data from a recent randomized clinical trial involving juvenile drug court (JDC), youth marijuana use trajectories and the predictors of treatment nonresponse were examined. Participants were 118 juvenile offenders meeting diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders assigned to JDC and their families. Urine drug screen results were gathered from weekly court visits for 6 months, and youth reported their marijuana use over 12 months. Semiparametric mixture modeling jointly estimated and classified trajectories of both marijuana use indices. Youth were classified into responder versus nonresponder trajectory groups based on both outcomes. Regression analyses examined pretreatment individual, family, and extrafamilial predictors of nonresponse. Results indicated that youth whose caregivers reported illegal drug use pretreatment were almost 10 times as likely to be classified into the nonresponder trajectory group. No other variable significantly distinguished drug use trajectory groups. Findings have implications for the design of interventions to improve JDC outcomes.


Halliday-Boykins, C. A., Schaeffer, C. M., Henggeler, S. W., Chapman, J. E., Cunningham, P. B., Randall, J., & Shapiro, S. B. (2010). Predicting nonresponse to juvenile drug court interventions. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment39(4), 318–328.

Keywords: adolescent substance abuse, juvenile drug court, trajectory outcomes, treatment nonresponse


Predicting Success and Failure in Juvenile Drug Treatment Court: A Meta-Analytic Review

Authors: David M. Stein, Scott Deberard, Kendra Homan
Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

This meta-analysis summarizes 41 studies that examined associations between characteristics of adolescent participants in juvenile drug treatment court and outcomes (i.e., premature termination, recidivism). A summary of within- and post-program recidivism rates was calculated, as was a global estimate of the premature drop-out rate. One clear trend in the available studies was the dramatic difference in recidivism rates for adolescents who succeed in graduating from drug court, relative to those who do not. In addition, the review revealed that behavior patterns evidenced during drug court participation were most strongly associated with both the probability of graduating successfully from drug court and recidivism (e.g., few in-program arrests, citations, detentions, and referrals; greater length of time in program or amount of treatment; lower use of drug and alcohol use, few positive urine screens, greater school attendance). Unfortunately, non-white participants tend to have a lower probability of graduation from drug court and experience higher recidivism during and following the program. Available juvenile drug treatment court studies confirm a number of reputed adolescent risk factors associated with substance abuse, criminality, treatment failure, and recidivism among adolescents (e.g., higher levels of emotional and behavioral problems, higher levels and severity of pre-program substance abuse, male gender). Suggestions for improving the effects of juvenile drug treatment court based on key results of the meta-analysis are offered.


Stein, D. M., Deberard, S., & Homan, K. (2013). Predicting success and failure in juvenile drug treatment court: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment44(2), 159–168.

Keywords: adolescent, delinquency, drug court, meta-analysis, review, substance abuse, treatment


Adaptive Interventions in Drug Court: A Pilot Experiment

Authors: Douglas B. Marlowe, David S. Festinger, Patricia L. Arabia, Karen L. Dugosh, Kathleen M. Benasutti, Jason R. Croft, James R. McKay
Journal: Criminal Justice Review

This pilot study (N = 30) experimentally examined the effects of an adaptive intervention in an adult misdemeanor drug court. The adaptive algorithm adjusted the frequency of judicial status hearings and clinical case-management sessions according to pre-specified criteria in response to participants’ ongoing performance in the program. Results revealed the adaptive algorithm was acceptable to both clients and staff, feasible to implement with greater than 85% fidelity, and showed promise for eliciting clinically meaningful improvements in drug abstinence and graduation rates. Estimated effect sizes ranged from 0.40 to 0.60 across various dependent measures. Compared to drug court as-usual, participants in the adaptive condition were more likely to receive responses from the drug court team for inadequate performance in the program and received those responses after a substantially shorter period of time. This suggests the adaptive algorithm may have more readily focused the drug court team’s attention on poorly-performing individuals, thus allowing the team to “nip problems in the bud” before they developed too fully. These preliminary data justify additional research evaluating the effects of the adaptive algorithm in a fully powered experimental trial.


Marlowe, D. B., Festinger, D. S., Arabia, P. L., Dugosh, K. L., Benasutti, K. M., Croft, J. R., & McKay, J. R. (2008). Adaptive Interventions in Drug Court: A Pilot Experiment. Criminal Justice Review.

Keywords: adaptive treatment, adult treatment courts, antisocial personality disorder, criminal justice, drug courts


Disparities in Criminal Court Referrals to Drug Treatment and Prison for Minority Men

Authors: Nancy Nicosia, PhD, John M. MacDonald, PhD, and Jeremy Arkes, PhD
Journal: American Journal of Public Health

Objectives: We investigated the extent to which racial/ethnic disparities in prison and diversion to drug treatment were explained by current arrest and criminal history characteristics among drug-involved offenders, and whether those disparities decreased after California’s Proposition 36, which mandated first- and second-time nonviolent drug offenders drug treatment instead of prison.


Methods: We analyzed administrative data on approximately 170 000 drug-involved arrests in California between 1995 and 2005. We examined odds ratios from logistic regressions for prison and diversion across racial/ethnic groups before and after Proposition 36.


Results: We found significant disparities in prison and diversion for Blacks and Hispanics relative to Whites. These disparities decreased after controlling for current arrest and criminal history characteristics for Blacks. Proposition 36 was also associated with a reduction in disparities, but more so for Hispanics than Blacks.


Conclusions: Disparities in prison and diversion to drug treatment among drug-involved offenders affect hundreds of thousands of citizens and might reinforce imbalances in criminal justice and health outcomes. Our study indicated that standardized criminal justice policies that improved access to drug treatment might contribute to alleviating some share of these disparities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)


Nicosia, N., MacDonald, J. M., & Arkes, J. (2013). Disparities in criminal court referrals to drug treatment and prison for minority men. American Journal of Public Health103(6), e77–e84.



Drug Courts and Recidivism: The Results of an Evaluation Using Two Comparison Groups and Multiple Indicators of Recidivism:

Authors: Cassia Spohn, Ph.D., R.K. Piper, Ph.D., Tom Martin, Ph.D., Erika Davis Frenzel, Ph.D.
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues

Increases in the number of drug offenders appearing in state and federal courts, coupled with mounting evidence of both the linkages between drug use and crime and the efficacy of drug treatment programs, led many jurisdictions to implement drug treatment courts. Although these courts vary on a number of dimensions, most are designed to reduce drug use and criminal behavior among drug-involved offenders. This study evaluates the effectiveness of one drug court–the Douglas County (Omaha), Nebraska Drug Court–in reducing offender recidivism. We use a variety of analytical techniques to compare drug court participants and offenders in two matched comparison groups on a number of measures of recidivism. Our results reveal that drug court participants have substantially lower rates of recidivism than traditionally adjudicated felony drug offenders, and that the differences in recidivism rates between drug court participants and drug offenders who participated in a diversion program prior to the implementation of the drug court disappeared once we controlled for the offender’s assessed level of risk, as indicated by his/her LSI score.


Spohn, C., Piper, R. K., Martin, T., & Frenzel, E. D. (2016). Drug Courts and Recidivism: The Results of an Evaluation Using Two Comparison Groups and Multiple Indicators of Recidivism: Journal of Drug Issues



Employment and Work Among Drug Court Clients: 12-Month Outcomes

Authors: Carl Leukefeld, J. Matthew Webster, Michele Staton-Tindall, Jamieson Duvall
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse

Employment contributes to drug abuse treatment success and is an important treatment outcome (Institute of Medicine, 1990). However, few tailored employment interventions are available. This project developed an employment intervention focused on obtaining, maintaining, and upgrading employment. The current study, approved by an IRB, uses 12-month outcomes to examine intervention dosage effects. Participants were 500 clients who entered two Kentucky drug court programs between March 2000 and November 2002. Measures included demographics, drug/alcohol use, criminality, employment, and education measures from the Addiction Severity Index (McLellan, Luborsky, Woody, and O’Brien, 1980) as well as specific employment measures. To examine the intervention, the number of intervention upgrading sessions attended was divided by the number of possible upgrading sessions. Session attendance percentages were then used to median split into a low upgrading group and a high upgrading group and were compared with the no intervention group. These three groups were used in a series of ANOVA and chi-square analyses to examine differences at 12-month follow-up. When employment, legal work, illegal work, and employment problems were examined for one year and 30 days at follow-up, there were significant effects for jobs in the past year, days worked at a legitimate job in both the past year as well as 30 days, and income from a legitimate job in the past year. Participants in the high upgrade group received maximum employment benefits. Since legal earnings increased and illegal earnings decreased, drug-user treatment programs and practitioners should assess and refer clients to employment interventions. Tailored employment interventions should be tested to keep drug users in treatment and to increase treatment outcome. The study’s limitations are noted and future needed research is suggested. The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Stein, D. M., Deberard, S., & Homan, K. (2013). Predicting success and failure in juvenile drug treatment court: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment44(2), 159–168.

Keywords: drug courts, drug user treatment, employment, evidence-based, follow-up, intervention, outcomes, protective factors, work


Everyday Hassles: Barriers to Recovery in Drug Court

Authors: Elaine Wolf, Corey Colyer
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues

Participants in a drug court are subjects in a study that analyzes the relationship between the everyday problems they identify in discussions with the judge and their patterns of recovery, as measured by compliance with program requirements. 130 types of problems mentioned in court revealed that problems generally are those associated with the individuals themselves (e.g., their physical health), their immediate social milieu (e.g., domestic abuse), and the larger social structure in which they negotiate their lives (e.g., acquiring Medicaid benefits). The most frequently mentioned types of problems were “structural” in nature. Patterns of recovery identified in program graduates resulted in labels of “clear sailers,” “late bloomers,” “occasional stumblers,” and “chronic stumblers.” A case study of an occasional stumbler reveals some ways in which everyday hassles and her responses to them affected her recovery.


Wolf, E., & Colyer, C. (2016). Everyday Hassles: Barriers to Recovery in Drug Court. Journal of Drug Issues.



Factors Associated with Treatment Compliance and its Effects on Retention Among Participants in a Court-Mandated Treatment Program

Authors: Jayadeep Patra, Louis Gliksman, Benedikt Fischer, Brenda Newton-Taylor, Steven Belenko, Michel Ferrari, Stephanie Kersta, Jürgen Rehm
Journal: Contemporary Drug Problems: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly

Drug treatment court (DTC) programs have been implemented and promoted in American as well as Canadian judicial systems as an effective tool for reducing criminal recidivism rates. An evaluation of the program in Toronto revealed that the drug court participants’ substance abuse and criminal behaviors are reduced while they are under the drug courts’ jurisdiction, and to some extent recidivism is reduced after participants leave the program. However, while we know from the literature that there are positive effects of the program, the characteristics of drug-dependent offenders who benefit the most from the DTC are less clear. The main purpose of this study was to understand where the prediction from literature, that compliance determines success in treatment, fails. Thus, study participants were divided into two groups: 1) those who might normally be expected to not comply yet who do in the long run (unexpected retention, UR); and 2) those who might normally be expected to comply, but who do not (unexpected expulsions, UE). Discriminant function analysis showed that participants considered UR were subject to conditions of social disadvantage yet quite motivated; whereas UE participants had no housing concern, no indication of family problems, but had additional criminal justice involvement at an early stage of the program. Implications for strengthening DTCs as well as suggestions for future research in the drug treatment and drug court fields are discussed.


Patra, J., Gliksman, L., Fischer, B., Newton-Taylor, B., Belenko, S., Ferrari, M., Kersta, S., & Rehm, J. (2010). Factors associated with treatment compliance and its effects on retention among participants in a court-mandated treatment program. Contemporary Drug Problems: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly37(2), 289–313.

Keywords: client characteristics, court referrals, criminal behavior, drug abuse, drug treatment court programs, drug-dependent offender characteristics, program evaluation, program retention, recidivism reduction, retention, substance abuse treatment, treatment compliance


Identifying Predictors of Treatment Outcome in a Drug Court Program

Authors: John M. Roll, Michael Prendergast, Kimberly Richardson, William Burdon, Anthony Ramirez
Journal: American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Drug courts are popular for dealing with drug-abusing offenders. However, relatively little is known about participant characteristics that reliably predict either success or failure in these treatment settings. In this article, we report on 99 individuals who were enrolled in a drug court program (approximately one-half of whom successfully completed the program). Using, logistic regression techniques we identified 2 significant predictors of outcome. First, individuals who were employed at the time of their enrollment into the drug court program were more likely to successfully complete the treatment program. Second, individuals with a history of illicit intravenous drug use were less likely to complete the program.


Roll, J. M., Prendergast, M., Richardson, K., Burdon, W., & Ramirez, A. (2005). Identifying predictors of treatment outcome in a drug court program. American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse31(4), 641–656.

Keywords: drug abuse treatment, drug court program, predictor of treatment outcomes


Meeting Health and Psychological Needs of Women in Drug Treatment Court

Authors: Diane S. Morse, MD, Catherine Cerulli, JD, PhD, Precious Bedell, MA, John L. Wilson, Katherine Thomas, Mona Mittal, PhD, J. Steven Lamberti, MD, Geoffrey Williams, MD, PhD, Jennifer Silverstein, Aninda Mukherjee, Donna Walck, MS, Nancy Chin, PhD
Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

We explored healthcare-related experiences of women drug court participants through combining context from the socio-ecological model with motivation needs for health behavior as indicated by self-determination theory. Five focus groups with 8 women drug court participants, 8 court staff, and 9 community service providers were examined using qualitative framework analysis. Themes emerged across the socio-ecological model and were cross-mapped with self-determination theory-defined motivation needs for autonomy, relatedness, and competence. Socio-ecological levels contained experiences either supporting or eroding women’s motivation needs: 1) intrapersonal challenges participants termed an “evil cycle” of relapse, recidivism, trauma, and life challenges; 2) interpersonal context of parenting and stigma involving features of this “evil cycle”; 3) institutions with logistical barriers to legal and medical assistance; 4) community resources inadequate to support living and employment needs. Self-determination theory helps explain motivation required to address the women’s healthcare needs and multiple demands at all levels of the socio-ecological model.


Morse, D. S., Cerulli, C., Bedell, P., Wilson, J. L., Thomas, K., Mittal, M., Lamberti, J. S., Williams, G., Silverstein, J., Mukherjee, A., Walck, D., & Chin, N. (2014). Meeting health and psychological needs of women in drug treatment court. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment46(2), 150–157.

Keywords: drug treatment court, self-determination theory, socio-ecological model, trauma, women


Long Term Effects of Drug Court Participation: Evidence from a 15-year Follow-Up of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors: Brook Kearley, Denise Gottfredson
Journal: Journal of Experimental Criminology

Substance use disorders and related negative outcomes are on the rise in America. Among jail and prison populations, approximately half of all inmates meet DSM-IV criteria for substance dependence or abuse. Two decades of drug court research indicate that these specialized courts reduce recidivism among participants when compared to traditional probation processing. However, few high quality studies have been conducted and important gaps in our understanding of the model’s effectiveness and population suitability remain. Additionally, little is known regarding the long-term impacts of drug courts or the courts’ effects on outcomes beyond recidivism and drug use. One of the most rigorous primary studies to date is the randomized trial of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court (BCDTC). Three-year follow-up data from this study showed that participation in the program reduced recidivism and that subjects self-reported less crime and substance use than did controls. This dissertation compares 15-year recidivism, incarceration, and mortality outcomes for the 235 BCDTC subjects. Additionally, it compares differences in recidivism growth over time between the two conditions. The work extends one of the few randomized trials of an established drug court and includes a group of offenders with substantial criminal and substance abuse histories. Findings suggest that participation in Baltimore City’s Drug Treatment Court resulted in significantly fewer arrests, charges, and convictions across the 15-year follow-up period, to include several crime-specific differences in arrests and convictions. Originating court was shown to moderate the effect of drug court participation for convictions, such that those participating in the Circuit drug court had significantly better outcomes than those participating in the District drug court. Drug court participants also had significantly lower rates of growth over time in both arrests and convictions. While differences were sustained across the 15-year period, differences in the rate of growth did not appear to increase over time as hypothesized. Participation in Baltimore City’s Drug Treatment Court did not have a significant effect on total days of sentenced incarceration, nor did it have an impact on mortality risk.


Kearley, B., & Gottfredson, D. (2020). Long term effects of drug court participation: Evidence from a 15-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Experimental Criminology16(1), 27–47.



Can Drug Courts Help to Reduce Prison and Jail Populations?

Authors: Eric L. Sevigny, Harold A. Pollack, Peter R PETER REUTER
Journal: The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

Drug courts have been widely praised as an important tool for reducing prison and jail populations by diverting drug-involved offenders into treatment rather than incarceration. Yet only a small share of offenders presenting with drug abuse or dependence are processed in drug courts. This study uses inmate self-report surveys from 2002 and 2004 to examine characteristics of the prison and jail populations in the United States and assess why so many drug-involved offenders are incarcerated. Our analysis shows that four factors have prevented drug courts from substantially lowering the flow into prisons and jails. In descending order of importance, these are: drug courts’ tight eligibility requirements, specific sentencing requirements, legal consequences of program noncompliance, and constraints in drug court capacity and funding. Drug courts will only be able to help lower prison and jail populations if substantial changes are made in eligibility and sentencing rules.


Sevigny, E. L., Pollack, H. A., & Reuter, P. (2013). Can Drug Courts Help to Reduce Prison and Jail Populations? The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science647(1), 190–212.

Keywords: alternatives to incarceration, drug courts, eligibility criteria, prison and jail populations


Examining the Use of Visual Performance Feedback in Drug Treatment Court

Authors: David S. Festinger, Karen L. Dugosh, John M. Della Porta
Journal: Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology

A key component of drug courts is regular status hearings in which the judge reviews client progress and imposes sanctions or rewards for infractions or achievements; however, little is known about whether drug court clients fully understand the reasons for judicial responses and make clear connections between their behavior and judicially-imposed consequences. Thus, it is reasonable to hypothesize that graphic performance feedback can improve clients’ perceptions of procedural justice and increase the likelihood of success.


Festinger, D. S., Dugosh, K. L., & Della Porta, J. M. (2018). Examining the Use of Visual Performance Feedback in Drug Treatment Court. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology26(1), 85–93.

Keywords: drug court, judge-client relationship, procedural justice, status hearings, visual performance feedback


Participation in Drug Treatment Court and Time to Rearrest

Authors: Duren Banks, Denise C. Gottfredson
Journal: Justice Quarterly

This study uses an experimental design to assess the impact of a drug treatment court on nonviolent felony offenders. The drug court program combines intensive supervision, judicial monitoring, drug testing, and drug treatment to reduce recidivism and other problem behaviors. Survival analyses showed that the drug court sample had a significantly longer time to first rearrest than the control sample. Assignment to the drug court also significantly reduced the risk of drug crime failure during the follow-up period. The drug court and control samples had identical failure rates during the first 4 months of the follow-up, after which the drug court appeared to have its greatest impact on the risk of failure. Further analyses suggested that compliance with various drug court components, particularly early and continued drug treatment attendance, reduced the risk of failure among this sample.


Banks, D., & Gottfredson, D. C. (2004). Participation in Drug Treatment Court and Time to Rearrest*. Justice Quarterly : JQ; Abingdon21(3), 637–658.



Racial and Gender Disparities in Treatment Courts: Do They Exist and Is There Anything We Can Do to Change Them?

Authors: Timothy Ho, Shannon M. Carey, Anna M. Malsch
Journal: Journal for Advancing Justice

The data from the 142 treatment courts were merged and analyzed to examine whether there were disparities in who is accepted by treatment courts and in court graduation rates across demographic characteristics. Data analysis also focused on the features of treatment court practices that are associated with reduced disparities in graduation rates among demographic groups. The study found that males were underrepresented by about 9 percent in admissions to treatment courts compared with the general probation population; and females were over-represented compared with the general probation population. Regarding racial disparities, Whites were slightly over-represented in treatment courts compared with their respective probation population, and the proportion of Black individuals in treatment courts, except for reentry courts, was representative of their respective probation population. In reentry courts, the percentage of Black participants was significantly higher than the percentage of probationers who were White. There were no significant differences in the court graduation rates of male and female participants; however, the comparison of graduation rates across race indicated that Hispanic/Latino participants tended to have graduation rates similar to White participants. Black participants had lower graduation rates than White participants, even after controlling for education, employment, prior arrests, drugs used, and age. The provision of family/domestic counseling was significantly related to lower racial disparity. Family counselors can obtain insight into the environment and circumstances of each participant, which may produce better tailoring of treatment to participant needs.


Ho, T., Carey, S. M., & Malsch, A. M. (2018). Racial and Gender Disparities in Treatment Courts: Do They Exist and Is There Anything We Can Do to Change Them? Journal for Advancing Justice1, 5–34.

Keywords: best practice, drug courts, ethnicity, gender disparity, racial disparity, treatment court


Status Hearings in Drug Court: When More is Less and Less is More

Authors: David S. Festinger, Douglas B. Marlowe, Patricia A. Lee, Kimberly C. Kirby, Gregory Bovasso, A.Thomas McLellan
Journal: Drug and Alcohol Dependence

We examined the effects of increasing the number of times misdemeanor drug court clients appeared before a judge for judicial status hearings. Our previous findings showed no main effect of increased hearings during the first 14 weeks of the program. The present study examined participants’ discharge status in the program, and also explored potential interactions between client characteristics and the frequency of judicial status hearings on outcomes. Results revealed no main effects for hearing frequency on graduation status. Drug offenders who satisfied DSM-IV criteria for antisocial personality disorder (APD) achieved more weeks of urinalysis-confirmed drug abstinence when assigned to more frequent judicial status hearings, whereas subjects without APD achieved more abstinence and were more likely to graduate successfully from the program when assigned to less frequent hearings. Additionally, clients with a history of substance abuse treatment achieved more weeks of abstinence when assigned to more frequent hearings. These findings lend useful guidance to drug courts. Status hearings are expensive and time consuming and should be targeted to clients who would benefit most from them.


Festinger, D. S., Marlowe, D. B., Lee, P. A., Kirby, K. C., Bovasso, G., & McLellan, A. T. (2002). Status hearings in drug court: When more is less and less is more. Drug and Alcohol Dependence68(2), 151–157.

Keywords: antisocial personality, criminal justice, drug court, treatment


Systematic Review of the Impact of Adult Drug-Treatment Courts

Author: Randall T. Brown
Journal: Translational Research

The U.S. correctional system is overburdened with individuals suffering from substance use disorders. These illnesses also exact a heavy toll on individual and public health and well-being. Effective methods for reducing the negative impact of substance use disorders comprise critical concerns for policy makers. Drug treatment court (DTC) programs are present in more than 1800 county, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions in the United States as an alternative to incarceration for offenders with substance use disorders. This review article summarizes the available descriptive information on representative DTC populations and the observational studies of drug court participants, and it specifically reviews the available experimental effectiveness literature on DTCs. The review concludes by examining the limitations of the current literature, challenges to conducting research in drug court samples, and potential future directions for research on DTC interventions. A review of nonexperimental and quasi-experimental literature regarding the impact of DTCs points toward benefit versus traditional adjudication in averting future criminal behavior and in reducing future substance use, at least in the short term. Randomized effectiveness studies of DTCs are scant (3 were identified in the literature on U.S. adult drug courts), and methodological issues develop in combining their findings. These randomized trials failed to demonstrate a consistent effect on rearrest rates for drug-involved offenders participating in DTC versus typical adjudication. The 2 studies examining reconviction and reincarceration, however, demonstrated reductions for the DTC group versus those typically adjudicated.


Brown, R. T. (2010). Systematic review of the impact of adult drug-treatment courts. Translational Research155(6), 263–274.



The Impact of Drug Treatment Courts on Recovery: A Systematic Review

Authors: Ciska Wittouck,, Anne Dekkers, Brice De Ruyver, Wouter Vanderplasschen, Freya Vander Laenen
Journal: The Scientific World Journal

Introduction: Earlier reviews regarding the effectiveness of Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) reported a reduction in reoffending and substance use. Although substance users suffer from other difficulties than drug use and judicial issues, none of these reviews focused on outcomes or effects of DTCs on drug-related life domains, such as social relationships, employment, or health. Therefore, the present paper aims to review the impact of adult DTCs on substance use and drug-related life domains.


Method: Primary studies were systematically searched in Web of Knowledge. Observational and controlled evaluation studies of adult DTCs were considered eligible if substance use and/or drug-related life domains were measured.


Results: Moderately positive results were found with respect to within-program substance use. Few studies used drug-related life domains as an outcome measure and most of them yielded no effects. Employment and family relations ameliorated when specific interventions were used.


Discussion: DTCs yield beneficial outcomes and effects regarding within-program substance use. However, evidence regarding the impact of DTCs on post-program drug and alcohol use and on other drug-related life domains is scarce. These life domains and thus QoL possibly can be improved by DTCs if specifically targeted. Future research is warranted.


Wittouck, C., Dekkers, A., De Ruyver, B., Vanderplasschen, W., & Vander Laenen, F. (2013). The Impact of Drug Treatment Courts on Recovery: A Systematic Review. The Scientific World Journal2013, e493679.



The Long Term Effectiveness of Drug Treatment Court on Reducing Recidivism and Predictors of Voluntary Withdrawal

Authors: Jeremy Dean Jewell, Paul Rose, Rachel Bush, Kayla Bartz
Journal: International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction

While drug treatment courts (DTCs) in the United States have proliferated, there is a shortage of research on their long term effectiveness. The purpose of this study was to examine the long-term effectiveness of a DTC and predictors of withdrawal. Retrospective data were analyzed from adults offered admission into a Midwestern DTC. Those who graduated from the program (N = 95), voluntarily withdrew (N = 35), or voluntarily declined (N = 16) entry were compared. Various measures of recidivism were gathered up to on average 3.5 years after graduation, withdrawal, or decline. Outcomes for graduates were superior to the other two groups on almost all measures of recidivism even after controlling for demographic and background variables. Younger age of first arrest and lesser maximum class of prior offense were found to predict a higher likelihood of withdrawal. Findings confirm previous research regarding the effectiveness of DTCs though further study regarding the predictors of withdrawal is warranted.


Jewell, J. D., Rose, P., Bush, R., & Bartz, K. (2017). The long term effectiveness of drug treatment court on reducing recidivism and predictors of voluntary withdrawal. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction15(1), 28–39.

Keywords: drug abuse, drug court, drug treatment court, long term care, recidivism, substance abuse, substance abuse treatment, treatment


The Strength of the Participant-Judge Relationship Predicts Better Drug Court Outcomes

Authors: Craig G. A. Jones, Richard Kemp
Journal: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law

This article explores mechanisms underpinning the impact of the drug court judge on participant outcomes. There were 93 participants taking part in a randomized controlled trial of intensive judicial supervision (IJS) at the Parramatta Drug Court, Sydney, Australia. IJS participants appeared before the judge twice weekly and the supervision as usual (SAU) participants appeared once weekly. A questionnaire assessed the extent to which participants formed a strong relationship with the judge, their understanding of programme requirements and perceived deterrence. IJS participants were more likely than SAU participants to indicate that they have a good relationship with the judge (73.9% vs. 44.7%, p =.004). Participants who formed a closer bond had lower odds of substance use (odds ratio = 0.46, p =.004). The drug court judge appears to be crucial to the drug court rehabilitation process. The formation of strong interpersonal bonds that appears to underpin this effect is consistent with the therapeutic jurisprudential principles upon which drug courts are based.


Jones, C. G. A., & Kemp, R. I. (2014). The Strength of the Participant-Judge Relationship Predicts Better Drug Court Outcomes. Psychiatry, Psychology & Law21(2), 165–175.

Keywords: celerity, deterrence, drug courts, education, judicial alliance, judicial supervision, therapeutic jurisprudence


Treatment Inside the Drug Treatment Court: The Who, What, Where, and How of Treatment Services

Authors: Faye S. Taxman, Jeffrey Bouffard
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse

Drug treatment courts provide a new strategy for providing treatment services to offenders within the criminal justice system. With over 400 drug treatment courts in the United States, the courts have evolved to provide treatment services under different models. This article will review the different typologies for delivery of treatment services to drug user offenders in the drug treatment court setting, and it will raise questions about some of the difficult issues underscoring an integrated service delivery model. The paper then identifies some research questions for the future.


Taxman, F. S., & Bouffard, J. (2002). Treatment Inside the Drug Treatment Court: The Who, What, Where, and How of Treatment Services. Substance Use & Misuse37(12–13), 1665–1688.

Keywords: brokerage model, case management, compliance, delivery of services, in-house model, recovery, treatment quality


Treatment Retention Predictors of Drug Court Participants in a Rural State

Authors: Allison Mateyoke-Scrivner, J. Matthew Webster, Michele Staton, Carl Leukefeld
Journal: American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Factors distinguishing clients who complete drug court treatment from those who do not complete drug court have been documented, but differences between urban and rural drug court participants have not been examined. The present study focuses on examining mental health, drug use, criminal activity, and education/employment as factors that are associated with treatment retention, which is measured by graduation from a rural and urban drug court. Study findings indicate that for the urban drug court, marital status, employment, drug use, and criminal activity predicted graduation. For the rural drug court, however, graduation was only predicted by age and juvenile incarceration. Findings from this study suggest there are different factors associated with drug court retention/graduation between urban and rural drug court settings. It is suggested that drug court administrators and other could use this information to better assess potential participants and to target services.


Mateyoke‐Scrivner, A., Webster, J. M., Staton, M., Leukefeld, C., & Mateyoke-Scrivner, A. (2004). Treatment retention predictors of drug court participants in a rural state. American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse30(3), 605–625.

Keywords: drug court, graduation, rural, treatment retention, urban


“I’ll Just Do My Time”: The Role of Motivation in the Rejection of the DWI Court Model

Authors: Deborah A. Eckberg, David Squier Jones
Journal: Qualitative Report

In the last decade, driving while intoxicated (DWI) courts based on the therapeutic court model have proliferated. Although the typical DWI court program allows offenders with multiple DWI offenses to avoid jail time and get their drivers’ licenses back sooner, not all offenders who are offered the opportunity to participate in DWI court choose to take advantage of it. Others try but drop out of the program early on. We conducted qualitative interviews with twelve people who were offered the opportunity to participate in an urban DWI court in a Midwestern county between 2007 and 2010, but who either chose not to participate or who tried but did not succeed in the program. The authors point to the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in order to explain the findings and ultimately inform practitioner methods for engaging potential DWI court clients and enhancing success rates.


Eckberg, D. A., & Jones, D. S. (2015). “I’ll Just Do My Time”: The Role of Motivation in the Rejection of the DWI Court Model. 19.

Keywords: driving while intoxicated (DWI)/driving under the influence (DUI), court, motivation, interviews


A Multiple Risk Factor Approach for Predicting DWI Recidivism

Authors: Janet C’de Baca, Ph.D., William R. Miller, Ph.D., Sandra Lapham, M.D., M.P.H.
Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

A sample of DWI (driving while impaired) offenders was studied to compare various approaches for predicting reoffenses over a 4-year period. Logistic regression yielded multivariate predictor equations that were significant statistically, but were not helpful to clinicians in assessing risk for reoffending. As a different approach, five predictor variables that were consistently correlated with reoffense status were examined to determine the cut score at which the repeat offense rate exceeded the base rate. These were combined to yield the number of risk factors (from 0 to 5) for each offender. This method, used for the original and a hold-out sample, yields results as accurate as those derived from a logistic regression model that includes all the risk variables, and allows clinicians to classify offenders into low and high risk categories in a straightforward manner. Nearly half of offenders with four or five risk factors (age, years of education, arrest blood alcohol concentration (BAC), score on the receptive area scale of AUI and raw score on the MacAndrews scale of MMPI-2) were rearrested compared to the base rate (25%). However, this method is not sufficiently precise to accurately predict which individuals will and will not be rearrested. Although generalizability of specific algorithms across populations needs to be examined, this method appears promising as a clinically accessible way to classify, in a given offender population, those who are most likely to repeat the offense.


C’de Baca, J., Miller, W. R., & Lapham, S. (2001). A multiple risk factor approach for predicting DWI recidivism. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment21(4), 207–215.

Keywords: alcohol, DUI, DWI, recidivism


Are Biomarkers of Chronic Alcohol Misuse Useful in the Assessment of DWI Recidivism Status?

Authors: Sophie Couture, Thomas Brown Douglas, Jacques Tremblay, N. M. K. Ng Ying Kin, Marie Claude Ouimet, Louise Nadeau
Journal: Accident Analysis and Prevention

Methods: First-time offenders (n = 49) and recidivists (n = 95) participated in the study. In addition to self-reported information on sociodemographic and driving characteristics, data from several AUD questionnaires were gathered: Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Composite International Diagnostic Interview, and Timeline Follow-Back. Blood samples were collected to measure AST, ALT, GGT, MCV, CDT, and thiamine.


Results: AUD biomarkers, taken individually or in combination, did not indicate that recidivists had more frequent AUD compared to first-time offenders. Also, they failed to significantly differentiate firsttime offenders from recidivists or predict recidivism status. Finally, the superiority of biomarkers over psychosocial AUD questionnaires was not supported in the laboratory setting.


Conclusion: The present findings suggest that biomarkers of chronic patterns of heavy drinking may not be adequate to capture the multiple processes that appear to promote recidivism (e.g., binge drinking, other risky behavioural and personality features). Despite their objectivity, caution is warranted in the interpretation of a positive score on these biomarkers in DWI assessment. Longitudinal research is needed to more comprehensively explore the relationship between positive biomarkers in first-time offenders and their risk of becoming recidivists.


Couture, Sophie & Brown, Thomas & Tremblay, Jacques & Kin, N. & Ouimet, Marie & Nadeau, Louise. (2010). Are biomarkers of chronic alcohol misuse useful in the assessment of DWI recidivism status? Accident; analysis and prevention. 42. 307-12.

Keywords: alcohol, assessment, biomarkers, driving while impaired, DUI, recidivism


Attitudes Toward Mandatory Ignition Interlocks for all Offenders Convicted of Driving While Intoxicated

Authors: Jonathan Downs, Ruth A. Shults, Bethany A. West
Journal: Journal of Safety Research

Introduction: Ignition interlocks are effective in reducing alcohol-impaired driving recidivism for all offenders, including first-time offenders. Despite their effectiveness, interlock use among persons convicted of driving while intoxicated from alcohol (DWI) remains low. This cross-sectional survey of U.S. adults assessed public support for requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted DWI offenders including first-time offenders. The goal was to update results from a similar 2010 survey in light of new state requirements and increased interlock installations.


Methods: Questions were included in the Porter Novelli FallStyles survey, which was fielded from September 28 to October 16, 2015. Participants were the 3,536 individuals who provided an opinion toward requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders. For analyses, opinion toward requiring interlocks for all offenders was dichotomized into ‘agree’ and ‘neutral/disagree.’ To handle missing data, 10 imputed datasets were created and pooled using fully conditional specification (FCS).


Results: Fifty-nine percent of adults supported requiring interlocks for all DWI offenders. Multivariate analysis revealed that persons who did not report alcohol impaired driving (AID) were 60% more likely to support requiring interlocks than those who reported AID. Having heard of interlocks also increased support. Support was generally consistent across demographic subgroups.


Conclusions: Interlocks for all offenders have majority support nationwide in the current survey, consistent with previous reports. Support is lowest among those who have reported alcohol-impaired driving in the past 30 days. These results suggest that communities with higher levels of alcohol-impaired driving may be more resistant to requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted DWI offenders. Future studies should examine this association further. Practical applications: These results indicate that the majority of adults recognize DWI as a problem and support requiring interlocks for all offenders.


Downs, J., Shults, R., & West, B. (2017). Attitudes toward mandatory ignition interlocks for all offenders convicted of driving while intoxicated. Journal of Safety Research63, 99–103.



Does the Probability of DWI Arrest Fall Following Participation in DWI and Hybrid Drug Treatment Court Programs?

Authors: Frank A. Sloan, Elizabeth J. Gifford, Lindsey M. Eldred, Sabrina A. McCutchan
Journal: Accident Analysis and Prevention

Using North Carolina administrative data, this study examined recidivism following participation in specialty hybrid drug and driving while intoxicated (DWI) court programs. Three court program participation levels were considered—being referred to, enrolling in, and completing a specialty court program. Measures of DWI recidivism were: arrest and total number of arrests for DWI, and being convicted of DWI during follow-up periods of two and, alternatively, four years. Propensity score matching was used to obtain comparable control groups. Using a four-year follow-up, persons convicted of a DWI who completed a specialty court program were associated with a greater reduction in DWI re-arrests and re-convictions than did matched individuals who were never referred to a specialty court program. DWI courts were more effective in reducing re-arrests than hybrid drug courts were. Although promising from the vantage point of participants, few persons convicted of a DWI were referred to either court type, thus limiting this strategy’s potential effectiveness in reducing DWI.


Sloan, F. A., Gifford, E. J., Eldred, L. M., & McCutchan, S. A. (2016). Does the probability of DWI arrest fall following participation in DWI and hybrid drug treatment court programs? Accident Analysis & Prevention97, 197–205.

Keywords: drinking and driving, DWI courts, hybrid drug courts, recidivism


Effectiveness of Ignition Interlock Devices in Reducing Drunk Driving Recidivism

Authors: Jeffrey H. Coben, Gregory L. Larkin
Journal: American Journal of Preventative Medicine

Objective: To determine if ignition interlock devices reduce driving while intoxicated (DWI) recidivism.
Data Collection and Analysis: A total of 31 studies were found. Ten studies met the selection criteria. Three of these studies were eliminated from further analysis because they did not contain original data. A fourth study was eliminated due to methodologic weaknesses, leaving six studies for final review and analysis. Pooled analyses were not done because studies did not follow similar methods over comparable time periods.


Main Results: Five of the six studies found interlocks were effective in reducing DWI recidivism while the interlock was installed in the car. In the five studies demonstrating a significant effect, participants in the interlock programs were 15%–69% less likely than controls to be re-arrested for DWI. The only reported randomized, controlled trial demonstrated a 65% reduction in re-arrests for DWI in the interlock group, compared with the control group.


Conclusions: Alcohol ignition interlock programs appear to be effective in reducing DWI recidivism during the time period when the interlock is installed in the car. Future studies should attempt to control for exposure (i.e., number of miles driven) and determine if certain sub-groups are most benefited by interlock programs.


Coben, J. H., & Larkin, G. L. (1999). Effectiveness of ignition interlock devices in reducing drunk driving recidivism. American Journal of Preventive Medicine16(1), 81–87.

Keywords: accidents (traffic), alcohol drinking, automobile driving, drinking behavior, evaluation studies


Drug Courts for DWI Offenders? The Effectiveness of Two Hybrid Drug Courts on DWI Offenders

Authors: Jeffrey A. Bouffard, Katie A. Richardson, Travis Franklin
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice

The effectiveness of drug courts for illegal drug-involved offenders has been well documented (Belenko, 1998, 2001; Wilson, Mitchell, & MacKenzie, 2006), however, few studies had examined whether they work for repeat “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) or “driving under the influence” (DUI) offenders. The current study examined sixty-six offenders who had completed one of two hybrid DUI/drug courts (compared to eighty-six similar parolees) operating in two small cities in a single midwestern state. Results suggested that among non-DUI offenders, completion of the drug court program reduced recidivism, as might be expected; however, among the subsample of chronic DUI offenders no significant recidivism reduction was noted. These results add to the small, but growing literature suggesting that DUI courts (as they are currently being implemented) may not be an effective way to reduce the occurrence of repeat DUI offenses. Suggestions for DUI court implementation and future research are presented.

Bouffard, J. A., Richardson, K. A., & Franklin, T. (2010). Drug courts for DWI offenders? The effectiveness of two hybrid drug courts on DWI offenders. Journal of Criminal Justice38(1), 25–33.



General Responsivity Adherence in Juvenile Drug Treatment Court: Examining the Impact on Substance-Use Outcome

Author: Liana R. Taylor
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues

Although the number of juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTC) in operation has increased since the first JDTCs were implemented in the 1990s, research continues to lag regarding the effectiveness of the treatment interventions that are provided. The purpose of the present study was to explore how the risk-need-responsivity models’ general responsivity principle could be used to inform the effectiveness of the interventions provided to 1,176 participants in nine JDTCs in the United States. Responsivity adherence was measured using the number of general responsivity-adherent techniques included in each intervention. The results indicated that an increase in general responsivity adherence was associated with an increase in substance use severity score, which suggests that the effect of the JDTC model on treatment outcomes could vary by the type of interventions provided to participants. In addition, the findings suggest the need to further specify adherence to the general responsivity principle, particularly among substance-involved juvenile offenders.


Taylor, L. R. (2016). General Responsivity Adherence in Juvenile Drug Treatment Court: Examining the Impact on Substance-Use Outcome. Journal of Drug Issues46(1), 24–40.

Keywords: general responsivity principle, juvenile drug treatment court, risk-need-responsivity model, substance use severity


Identifying Leading Characteristics Associated with Juvenile Drug Court Admission and Success

Authors: J.C. Barnes, Holly Ventura, J. Mitchell Miller
Journal: Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice

Since first appearing in the late 1980s, drug courts have quickly become one of the leading intervention strategies for offenders exhibiting problems with drug abuse. Popular with policy makers for their innovative approach to breaking the drugs-crime nexus, drug courts are now considered one of the hallmarks of both the adult and juvenile justice systems of corrections. Empirical research has indicated that drug courts are one of the most promising contemporary correctional strategies in reducing recidivism among substance abusing offenders. This study examined a juvenile drug court in an effort to answer some recent research questions that have been proffered by empiricists. Results suggested that clients with a history of mental health problems had greater odds of being admitted to the drug court. No client characteristics, however, were predictive of client success in the drug court. Policy implications are also considered.


Barnes, J. C., Miller, H. V., & Miller, J. M. (n.d.). Identifying Leading Characteristics Associated with Juvenile Drug Court Admission and Success. 350-360.

Keywords: drug court admissions, drug court outcomes, juvenile drug court, mental health status


Juvenile Drug Court Effects on Recidivism and Drug Use: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Authors: Emily E. Tanner-Smith, Mark W. Lipsey, David B. Wilson
Journal: Journal of Experimental Criminology

Objectives To conduct a meta-analysis of the effects of juvenile drug courts on general recidivism, drug recidivism, and drug use, and to explore variability in effects across characteristics of the drug courts and juvenile participants.


Methods: We conducted a comprehensive literature search to identify randomized and controlled quasi-experimental studies that reported the effects of juvenile drug courts in the United States. Random-effects meta-analysis models were used to estimate mean odds ratio effect sizes, and meta-regression models were used to explore variability in effects.


Results: The literature search yielded 46 eligible evaluation studies. The meta-analysis found that, overall, juvenile drug courts were no more or less effective than traditional court processing, with mean effects sizes that were not statistically significant for general recidivism, drug recidivism, or drug use. There was statistically significant heterogeneity in those effect sizes, but none of the drug court or participant characteristics coded from the study reports were associated with that variability. However, the juvenile drug court evaluations were generally of poor methodological quality, with very few studies employing random assignment and many instances of substantial baseline differences between drug court and comparison groups.


Conclusions: Juvenile drug courts were not found to be categorically more or less effective than traditional court processing for reducing recidivism or drug use. The great variability in effects, nonetheless, suggests that there may be effective drug courts, but no distinctive characteristics of the more effective courts could be identified from the descriptive information provided in the generally low quality research studies.
currently available.


Tanner-Smith, E. E., Lipsey, M. W., & Wilson, D. B. (2016). Juvenile drug court effects on recidivism and drug use: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Experimental Criminology12(4), 477–513.

Keywords: drug courts, juveniles, meta-analysis, recidivism, substance use


Comparative Analysis of Recidivism Outcomes Following Drug Treatment Court in Vancouver, Canada

Authors: Julian M. Somers, Stefanie N. Rezansoff, Akm Moniruzzaman
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) integrate therapeutic interventions for substance using offenders with the administration of justice. Available evidence indicates that DTCs are effective at reducing recidivism, but it is not yet established whether they are equally effective for all subgroups of offenders. The current study investigates the comparative effectiveness of a Canadian DTC among subgroups defined by ethnicity, gender, prior offending, and the presence of a co-occurring mental disorder. Results indicate greater reductions in recidivism among female and Aboriginal participants, and no differences in recidivism associated with the presence or absence of co-occurring mental disorders or the number of prior convictions. Longer duration of involvement with the DTC program was positively associated with reduced recidivism. The effectiveness of DTCs with distinct subpopulations may be related to their composition and inclusion of expertise relevant to the needs of diverse participants.


Somers, J. M., Rezansoff, S. N., & Moniruzzaman, A. (2014). Comparative Analysis of Recidivism Outcomes Following Drug Treatment Court in Vancouver, Canada. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology58(6), 655–671.

Keywords: drug treatment court, recidivism, therapeutic jurisprudence


Family Drug Treatment Courts As Comprehensive Service Models: Cost Considerations

Authors: Jody Brook, Becci A. Akin, Margaret H. Lloyd Sieger, Michelle Johnson-Motoyama, Yueqi Yan
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

Literature on family drug treatment courts (FDTCs) suggests that parental participation in these courts is associated with improved substance abuse treatment and child welfare system outcomes. Despite these beneficial outcomes, FDTCs serve only 7-10% of eligible child welfare involved families. As part of a FDTC evaluation, this FDTC site sought to provide stakeholders with information about costs and benefits. Considering the program costs alongside the cost avoidance from reduced time in foster care, this analysis determined that FDTC participation resulted in a net savings
per child of $9,710. The cost component of the evaluation proved valuable,
challenging, and informative.


Brook, J., Akin, B. A., Lloyd, M. H., Johnson-Motoyama, M., & Yan, Y. (2016). Family Drug Treatment Courts As Comprehensive Service Models: Cost Considerations. Juvenile and Family Court Journal67(3), 23–43.

Keywords: cost analysis, family drug court, foster care, parenting education, substance abuse


Healing Families: Outcomes from a Family Drug Treatment Court

Authors: Dr. Jacqueline van Wormer, Ming‐Li Hsieh
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

Family drug treatment courts (FDTC) have been acknowledged as a promising intervention for substance-abusing parents involved in the child welfare system. Over the past decade, the number of FDTC programs has grown substantially, yet questions remain regarding the efficacy of these courts. This study examines the ability of the Snohomish County (WA) FDTC to address the three main goals of the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Utilizing propensity score matching, this study found that participants were more likely to have their children returned, experienced stronger treatment completion rates, and had less use of foster care. Implications for replication and further analysis are discussed.


van Wormer, J., & Hsieh, M.-L. (2016). Healing Families: Outcomes from a Family Drug Treatment Court. Juvenile and Family Court Journal67(2), 49–65.

Keywords: child welfare, family drug court, propensity score matching, quasi-experimental model, substance-abusing


How Does Family Drug Treatment Court Participation Affect Child Welfare Outcomes?

Authors: Elizabeth Joanne Gifford, Lindsey Morgan Eldred, Allison Vernerey, Frank Allen Sloan
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Parental substance use is a risk factor for child maltreatment. Family drug treatment courts(FDTCs) have emerged in the United States as a policy option to treat the underlying condition and promote family preservation. This study examines the effectiveness of FDTCs in North Carolina on child welfare outcomes. Data come from North Carolina records from child protection services, court system, and birth records. Three types of parental participation in a FDTC are considered: referral, enrolling, and completing an FDTC. The sample includes 566 children who were placed into foster care and whose parents participated in a FDTC program. Findings indicate that children of parents who were referred but did not enroll or who enrolled but did not complete had longer stays in foster care than children of completers. Reunification rates for children of completers were also higher. Outcomes for children in the referred and enrolled groups did not differ in the multivariate analyses. While effective substance use treatment services for parents may help preserve families, future research should examine factors for improving participation and completion rates as well as factors involved in scaling programs so that more families are served.


Gifford, E. J., Eldred, L. M., Vernerey, A., & Sloan, F. A. (2014). How does family drug treatment court participation affect child welfare outcomes? Child Abuse & Neglect38(10), 1659–1670.

Keywords: child welfare, family drug treatment court, foster care, parental substance use


How Effective Are Family Treatment Drug Courts? Outcomes From a Four-Site National Study

Authors: Beth L. Green, Carrie Furrer, Sonia Worcel, Scott W. M. Burrus, Michael W. Finigan
Journal: Child Maltreatment

Family treatment drug courts (FTDCs) are a rapidly expanding program model designed to improve treatment and child welfare outcomes for families involved in child welfare who have substance abuse problems. The present study compares outcomes for 250 FTDC participants to those of similar parents who did not receive FTDC services in four sites. Results show that FTDC parents, compared to comparison parents, entered substance abuse treatment more quickly, stayed in treatment longer, and completed more treatment episodes. Furthermore, children of FTDC parents entered permanent placements more quickly and were more likely to be reunified with their parents, compared to children of non- FTDC participants. Finally, the FTDC program appears to have a “value added” in facilitating positive child welfare outcomes above and beyond the influence of positive treatment experiences.


Green, B. L., Furrer, C., Worcel, S., Burrus, S., & Finigan, M. W. (2007). How Effective Are Family Treatment Drug Courts? Outcomes From a Four-Site National Study. Child Maltreatment12(1), 43–59.

Keywords: courts, foster care, parenting, program evaluation, substance abuse


Measuring Client Satisfaction and Engagement: The Role of a Mentor Parent Program in Family Drug Treatment Court

Authors: Laurie Drabble, Lisa L. Haun, Hilary Kushins, Edward Cohen
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

Parent engagement is an important intermediate outcome in Family Drug Treatment Court (FDTC) and child welfare services. This study explored the utility and reliability of a client satisfaction and engagement survey designed to measure interim outcomes of a Mentor Parent Program, operating in conjunction with a FDTC. Findings suggest the survey is a useful, parsimonious and reliable tool for measuring key dimensions of parent mentor services including client engagement; client-centered support and empowerment; and help with systems navigation and accessing resources. The survey may be adapted for use in other FDTC or parent mentor contexts.


Drabble, L. A., Haun, L. L., Kushins, H., & Cohen, E. (2016). Measuring Client Satisfaction and Engagement: The Role of a Mentor Parent Program in Family Drug Treatment Court. Juvenile and Family Court Journal67(1), 19–32.

Keywords: addiction treatment, child welfare, family drug treatment court, mentor parents, peer mentor, program evaluation, recovery coach


The Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court: 3-Year Self-Report Outcome Study

Authors: Denise C. Gottfredson, Brook W. Kearley, Stacy S. Najaka, Carlos M. Rocha
Journal: Evaluation Review

This study reports results from interviews with 157 research participants who were interviewed 3 years after randomization into treatment and control conditions in the evaluation of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court. The interviews asked about crime, substance use, welfare, employment, education, mental and physical health, and family and social relationships. Program participants reported less crime and substance use than did controls. Few differences between groups were observed on other outcomes, although treatment cases were less likely than controls to be on the welfare rolls at the time of the interview. Effects differed substantially according to the originating court.


Gottfredson, D. C., Kearley, B. W., Najaka, S. S., & Rocha, C. M. (2005). The Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court: 3-Year Self-Report Outcome Study. Evaluation Review29(1), 42–64.

Keywords: drug treatment courts, randomized experiments


Opioid Exposure Associated with Poppy Consumption Reported to Poison Control Centers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Authors: Eva Greenthal, Peter Lurie, Suzanne Doyon
Journal: Clinical Toxicology

Objective: To assess characteristics of exposures to contaminated poppy and identify trends in exposure and poppy-related deaths.


Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of adverse events associated with exposure to poppy products (primarily poppy seeds) from the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS), 2000–2018, supplemented with analysis of overdoses and deaths related to poppy from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS) (2004–2018), and the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) (1968–2018).


Results: There were 591 NPDS exposure cases involving poppy between 2000 and 2018 including 392 in persons aged 13+. Rates of intentional exposures in NPDS increased among the age 13+ group over the study period. Most intentional exposures occurred in males in their teens and twenties. NPDS included 18 overdoses and three deaths likely attributable to poppy, most involving poppy seed tea. CAERS and FAERS included five additional deaths likely attributable to opioids in poppy.


Conclusions: Including previously reported cases, there are now at least 19 U.S. deaths associated with poppy seeds in the literature. We recommend that practitioners working in opioid treatment and recovery be alert to use of poppy to treat pain and symptoms of withdrawal.


Greenthal, E., Lurie, P., & Doyon, S. (2021). Opioid exposure associated with poppy consumption reported to poison control centers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Clinical Toxicology0(0), 1–14.

Keywords: National Poison Data System, opioid overdose, poison control center, poppy seed, poppy tea


Reentry Court Judges: the Key to the Court

Authors: Christopher Salvatore, Venezia Michalsen, Caitlin Taylor
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation

Over the last few decades, treatment-oriented court judges have moved away from being neutral arbitrators in an adversarial court process to treatment facilitators. In the problem-solving court model, judges are part of a more therapeutic treatment process with program participants and a courtroom work group. The shift from the use of the traditional criminal justice process toward the use of more treatment-oriented models for some populations highlights the need to systematically document key elements of treatment court models. In particular, it is important to clearly document the role of Reentry Court Judges because they are a key component of the Reentry Court model. The current study used interviews with members of the courtroom work group, as well as a focus group interview of former participants in the program, to help identify the role of the judge and activities the judge engages. Findings revealed that the judges played a supportive, informal role, balanced with a more formal, authoritarian role, and the judges engaged participants in pre-court meetings, as well as courtroom sessions. Further, the judges facilitated interactions with program participants outside the courtroom, demonstrating that the judge is a core component of success for participants in Reentry Court.


Salvatore, C., Michalsen, V., & Taylor, C. (2020). Reentry court judges: The key to the court. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation; London59(4), 198–222.

Keywords: judges, probationers, reentry, reintegration, treatment


Reentry Court Research: Overview of Findings from the National Institute of Justice’s Evaluation of Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Courts

Authors: Shannon M. Carey, Michael Rempel, Christine H. Lindquist, Amanda Cissner, Lama Hassoun Ayoub, Dana Kralstein, Anna M. Malsch

Study Goals: This study of eight SCA reentry courts across the U.S. had four goals: 1. Describe the SCA reentry courts through a comprehensive process evaluation. 2. Determine the effectiveness of the SCA reentry courts at reducing recidivism and improving individual outcomes through a rigorous impact evaluation. 3. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis. 4. Contribute to the development of a “true“ reentry court model.


Methods: The study used a multi-method approach including 1. a process evaluation in all eight sites involving yearly site visits from 2012 to 2014 with key stakeholder interviews, observations, and participant focus groups; 2. a prospective impact evaluation (in four sites) including interviews at release from jail or prison and at 12 months after release (as well as oral swab drug tests) with reentry court participants and a matched comparison group; 3. a recidivism impact evaluation (in seven sites) with a matched comparison group tracking recidivism for 2 years post reentry court entry and 4. a cost-benefit evaluation (in seven sites) involving a transactional and institutional cost analysis (TICA) approach. Final administrative data were collected through the end of 2016.


Results: Results were mixed across sites. One site consistently demonstrated positive outcomes across the interview, recidivism, and cost analyses with the reentry court successfully delivering more substance abuse treatment and other services than what was received by the comparison group. In addition, reentry court participants out-performed the comparison group in reduced recidivism (re-arrests and re-conviction) and reincarceration (revocation and time in jail or prison). Two sites had neutral, trending toward positive, results with reduced participant re-arrests but with other outcomes (such as convictions and re-incarceration) not significantly different between the participants and the comparison group. Two other sites had mixed results (e.g., participants had significantly fewer re-arrests but significantly increased re-incarceration) and two had negative results (e.g., participants had significantly more re-arrests and incarceration while other outcomes were no different between groups). Cost findings were similarly mixed with two sites experiencing cost savings due mainly to lower recidivism costs and fewer victimization costs for reentry court participants ($2,512 and $6,710 saved per participant) and the remainder experiencing loss (ranging from just over -$1,000 to almost – $17,000 loss per participant). The research protocol and process evaluation findings are documented in three annual project reports; research caveats include a lack of detailed treatment service data. Also, reentry court program investment costs are described, but the comparison of cost estimates is limited to outcomes and does not include net benefits based on investment in non-reentry court case processing in the comparison group.


Conclusions: Key processes that set the one site with positive outcomes apart from the other sites was the high level of consistency and intensity of substance abuse treatment, wraparound services for multiple criminogenic needs, high intensity supervision, as well as an increased use of praise from the judge along with other incentives and sanctions. In addition, the eligibility criteria for this site required that participants have a substance use disorder with risk levels ranging from moderate to high (based on their local risk assessment with a three point scale that ranged from low to high). In contrast, other site eligibility criteria did not require a substance use disorder and participant risk levels were mostly high to very high (depending on the assessment tool used and their specific scoring and risk category criteria). It is possible that the sites with less positive results did not have the appropriate level and type of services consistently available to best serve the varying risk levels of their participants.


Carey, S. M., Rempel, M., Lindquist, C., Cissner, A., Ayoub, L. H., Kralstein, D., & Malsch, A. (2017). Reentry Court Research: Overview of Findings from the National Institute of Justice’s Evaluation of Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Courts (Overview/Summary No. 251496; pp. 1–33). Office of Justice Pro

Reentry Courts: An Emerging Use of Judicial Resources in the Struggle to Reduce the Recidivism of Released Offenders

Author: Daniel M. Fetsco
Journal: Wyoming Law Review

In the current system of criminal justice in the United States, most courts have little involvement with offenders once they are sentenced to prison. Certainly, prison inmates can and do appeal their convictions, but the appeals are heard by separate appellate courts. After release from prison on parole, or under some other form of supervised release, the court’s role in the affairs of the offender diminishes further. Parole officers are typically the agents of the criminal justice system who carry out the terms of the offender’s sentence once released, providing supervision and ideally assisting the offender’s transition back into the community. Parole officers accomplish this through working with offenders to help them avoid using drugs and alcohol, maintain curfews and daily schedules, abide by the law, and secure and maintain lawful employment. If an offender fails to follow the conditions of his or her supervision, it is the parole agent and parole board or other releasing authority who determines what sanctions shall be imposed in response to the violations.


Fetsco, D. M. (2013). Reentry Courts: An Emerging Use of Judicial Resources in the Struggle to Reduce the Recidivism of Released Offenders. Wyoming Law Review13(2), 591–614.

Keywords: judges, probationers, reentry, reintegration, treatment


Reentry Courts: Providing a Second Chance for Incarcerated Mothers and Their Children

Author: Erin McGrath
Journal: Family Court Review

Each year many incarcerated mothers are released from prison and must endure the difficult process of prisoner reentry. The rate of recidivism remains significantly high among this transitioning population, which negatively affects many children. The traditional parole system has not adequately addressed the complexities of a mother-prisoner’s reentry and reunification with her child. This Note proposes that states should expand or adopt the use of problem solving parole courts, or “Reentry Courts” to support a mother and her child through the transition from prison to home. Reentry Courts provide a multi-agency coordinated solution, which utilizes judicial authority for women seeking to transform their lives and reunify with their children upon their release from prison.


McGrath, E. (2012). Reentry Courts: Providing a Second Chance for Incarcerated Mothers and Their Children. Family Court Review50(1), 113–127.

Keywords: child, incarcerated mother, prisoner reentry, problem solving court, reentry, reentry court, reunification


The Missing Pieces in Federal Reentry Courts: A Model for Success Note

Author: Kristin Brown Parker
Journal: Drexel Law Review

With incarceration rates at an all-time high and over-criminalization rampant, there is a growing need for programs aimed at rehabilitating ex-offenders following release from prison. These programs are critical to combatting the collateral consequences associated with imprisonment. Perhaps the most significant of those collateral consequences ex-offenders face are housing and employment. More specifically, due to ex-offenders’ criminal histories, landlords may refuse to rent spaces to ex-offenders, and employers may discriminate against them. Although there has been significant progress in the area of employment by way of “Ban the Box” legislation, which prohibits employers from requiring applicants to disclose criminal history, there is still much progress to be made. There is a growing trend toward combating collateral consequences and assisting ex-offenders in successfully rehabilitating following release from prison through a collaboration between courts and correctional institutions. Specifically, local, state, and federal reentry courts are cropping up throughout the country with the goal of assisting ex-offenders in securing housing and employment, and addressing additional issues ex-offenders face following reentry into the community. While all of these programs are a step in the right direction toward providing necessary assistance to ex-offenders, some are more effective than others, and Philadelphia’s Federal Reentry Court has proven to be especially successful.


Parker, K. B. (2015). The Missing Pieces in Federal Reentry Courts: A Model for Success Note. Drexel Law Review8(2), 397–424.



A Hero’s Welcome? Exploring the Prevalence and Problems of Military Veterans in the Arrestee Population

Authors: Michael D. White, Philip Mulvey, Andrew M. Fox, David Choate
Journal: Justice Quarterly

The potential for veterans to end up in the criminal justice system as a result of physical and psychological problems that may be combat‐related has generated much interest, illustrated most recently by the development of specialized veterans’ courts. However, little is known about how often veterans are arrested and incarcerated, the nature of their problems, or the extent to which their military service has contributed to their criminality. Using interview data from 2,102 arrestees booked in Maricopa County (AZ) during 2009, this paper examines the problems and prior experiences of arrested military veterans and compares veteran and non‐veteran arrestees along a range of measures. Results indicate that veterans comprise 6.3% of the arrestee population, and that more than 50% of veterans report suffering from at least one combat‐related problem including physical injury, post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other mental health problems, and substance abuse. Multivariate analysis indicates that veteran arrestees differ from non‐veterans on a number of key measures, most notably more frequent arrests for violent offenses and greater use of crack cocaine and opiates. The paper concludes with a discussion of implications for the potential link between military service and criminality as well as for criminal justice policy and practice.


White, M. D., Mulvey, P., Fox, A. M., & Choate, D. (2012). A Hero’s Welcome? Exploring the Prevalence and Problems of Military Veterans in the Arrestee Population. Justice Quarterly29(2), 258–286.

Keywords: combat-related problems and crime, military and crime, veterans and crime


An Analysis of Successful Outcomes and Associated Contributing Factors in Veterans’ Court

Authors: R. Scott Johnson, Andrea Stolar, Emily Wu, Loretta A. Coonan
Journal: Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

This study aims to examine the extent to which a veteran’s propensity for arrest following separation from veterans’ court is associated with that veteran’s length of stay within the program, type of discharge, or number of judicial sanctions issued. This is a retrospective chart review that focuses on the first 100 participants in the Harris County Veterans’ Court Program. After controlling for a number of demographic factors, both arrests during enrollment in the veterans’ court program (p = .031) and Factor Score 1 (unsuccessful discharge, fewer months in the veterans’ court program, and more months of follow up) (p = .042) were predictive of arrest following separation from the veterans’ court program. In addition, a prior diagnosis of opiate misuse was also predictive of arrest following separation (p < .001). Given these findings, veterans’ court judges and program administrators might examine ways of continuing enrollment for veterans at highest risk for recidivism.


Johnson, R. S., Stolar, A. G., Wu, E., Coonan, L. A., & Graham, D. P. (2015). An analysis of successful outcomes and associated contributing factors in veterans’ court. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic79(2), 166–173.



Exploring Therapeutic and Militaristic Contexts in a Veteran Treatment Court

Authors: Tyler J. Vaughan, Lisa Bell Holleran, and Rachel Brooks
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

Recently, the number of veteran treatment courts (VTCs) has greatly expanded. These courts, based on drug treatment court processes, attempt to handle the underlying causes of criminal conduct as well as the instant offense. There is, however, no research that addresses how the military manifests in VTC. We suggest that participants import military culture into VTC processes and that the military will have an influence on VTC proceedings. The purpose of this study is to examine how military and specialty court approaches appear in the VTC. Using results from field research in a VTC in Texas, we find the military has profound influences in VTC proceedings. Military references serve the purpose of structuring the court docket, helping develop rapport between court staff and participants, as well as creating a familiar context for participants. We highlight the value and potential problems of relying on military culture. Policy implications and directions for future research are discussed.


Vaughan, T. J., Bell Holleran, L., & Brooks, R. (2019). Exploring Therapeutic and Militaristic Contexts in a Veteran Treatment Court. Criminal Justice Policy Review30(1), 79–101.

Keywords: fieldwork, military culture, qualitative research, veteran treatment courts


Healing the Wounds: An Examination of Veterans Treatment Courts in the Context of Restorative Justice

Authors: Julie Marie Baldwin, Joseph Rukus
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

Controversy exists regarding whether specialized courts, specifically drug courts, adhere to the restorative justice model. Veterans treatment courts (VTCs) are the newest programmatic innovation in the specialized court arena and have not been widely studied to date. This study utilizes data from the first in-depth case study of a VTC and explores whether it embodies the restorative justice ideal. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, we find that the VTC does not fully embody the restorative justice agenda, but it adheres closer to the ideal than drug courts.


Baldwin, J. M., & Rukus, J. (2015). Healing the Wounds: An Examination of Veterans Treatment Courts in the Context of Restorative Justice. Criminal Justice Policy Review26(2), 183–207.

Keywords: veterans court, veterans treatment court, restorative justice, restorative practice,
specialized courts, criminal justice policy


Varieties of Veterans’ Courts: A Statewide Assessment of Veterans’ Treatment Court Components

Authors: Anne S. Douds, Eileen M. Ahlin, Daniel Howard, Sarah Stigerwalt
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

Since the mid-2000s, there has been an upsurge in the development of Veterans’ Treatment Courts (VTCs) to support justice-involved veterans’ treatment needs while also providing criminal justice supervision. Despite their prolific development in recent years, there is a dearth of scholarly research on how VTCs are structured and whether there are common components across courts. There is a need to understand how VTCs are structured and operationally implemented to inform additional program planning and evaluation. To bridge this gap in the literature, this study provides a statewide assessment of the 17 VTCs operating in Pennsylvania, identifies six common components, and highlights areas in which their implementation diverges between courts to meet the specific needs of veterans across Pennsylvania. The results of this study provide a baseline framework to aid future researchers in conducting process and outcome evaluations by documenting and examining the common components of VTCs.


Douds, A. S., Ahlin, E. M., Howard, D., & Stigerwalt, S. (2017). Varieties of Veterans’ Courts: A Statewide Assessment of Veterans’ Treatment Court Components. Criminal Justice Policy Review28(8), 740–769.

Keywords: community corrections, courts, therapeutic jurisprudence


Evidence-based Treatment and Supervision Practices for Co-occurring Mental and Substance Use Disorders in the Criminal Justice System

Authors: Roger H. Peters, M. Scott Young, Elizabeth C. Rojas, Claire M. Gorey
Journal: The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse


Background: Over seven million persons in the United States are supervised by the criminal justice system, including many who have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders (CODs). This population is at high risk for recidivism and presents numerous challenges to those working in the justice system.


Objectives: To provide a contemporary review of the existing research and examine key issues and evidence-based treatment and supervision practices related to CODs in the justice system.


Methods: We reviewed COD research involving offenders that has been conducted over the past 20 years and provide an analysis of key findings.


Results: Several empirically supported frameworks are available to guide services for offenders who have CODs, including Integrated Dual Disorders Treatment (IDDT), the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Evidence-based services include integrated assessment that addresses both sets of disorders and the risk for criminal recidivism. Although several evidence-based COD interventions have been implemented at different points in the justice system, there remains a significant gap in services for offenders who have CODs. Existing program models include Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT), day reporting centers, specialized community supervision teams, pre- and post-booking diversion programs, and treatment-based courts (e.g., drug courts, mental health courts, COD dockets). Jail-based COD treatment programs provide stabilization of acute symptoms, medication consultation, and triage to community services, while longer-term prison COD programs feature Modified Therapeutic Communities (MTCs).


Conclusion: Despite the availability of multiple evidence-based interventions that have been implemented across diverse justice system settings, these services are not sufficiently used to address the scope of treatment and supervision needs among offenders with CODs.


Peters, R. H., Young, M. S., Rojas, E. C., & Gorey, C. M. (2017). Evidence-based treatment and supervision practices for co-occurring mental and substance use disorders in the criminal justice system. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse43(4), 475–488.

Keywords: co-occurring disorders, criminal justice system, mental disorders, offenders, substance abuse


Does Reentry Court Completion Affect Recidivism Three Years after Exit? Results from a Retrospective Cohort Study

Authors: Spencer Lawson, Eric Grommon, Bradley Ray
Journal: Corrections

Reentry courts are a strategy to assist individuals subjected to post-release supervision in the reintegration process, but there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of these practices. The current study presents the results of a retrospective cohort study for a sample of 340 participants who exited a reentry court. Specifically, survival analyses were employed to evaluate whether participants’ reentry court completion status affects their likelihood of and timing to recidivism events three years after exiting the program. The results revealed that successful program completion continues to shape recidivism outcomes up to three years after reentry court exit.


Lawson, S. G., Grommon, E., & Ray, B. (2019). Does Reentry Court Completion Affect Recidivism Three Years after Exit? Results from a Retrospective Cohort Study. Corrections0(0), 1–17.

Keywords: community supervision, problem-solving courts, program evaluation, recidivism, reentry court


Reentry Courts: An Examination of the “Provocative Proposal” in Practice

Author: Rodney Villazor
Journal: Federal Sentencing Reporter

Villazor, R. (2016). Reentry Courts: An Examination of the “Provocative Proposal” in Practice. Federal Sentencing Reporter28(4), 253–258.

Keywords: community supervision, problem-solving courts, program evaluation, recidivism, reentry court


Building the Evidence Base for Family Drug Treatment Courts: Results From Recent Outcome Studies

Authors: Beth L. Green, Carrie Jeanne Furrer, Sonia D. Worsel, Scott W. M. Burrus, Michael W. Finigan
Journal: Drug Court Review

Family Drug Treatment Courts (FDTCs) are an increasingly prevalent program designed to serve the multiple and complex needs of families involved in the child welfare system who have substance abuse problems. It is estimated that over 301 FDTCs are currently operational in the United States. Few rigorous studies of FDTCs have examined the effectiveness of these programs. This paper reviews current FDTC research and summarizes the results from four outcome studies of FDTCs. Results suggest that FDTCs can be effective programs to improve treatment outcomes, increase the likelihood of family reunification, and reduce the time children spend in foster care. However, further research is needed to explore how variations in program models, target populations, and the quality of treatment services influence effectiveness.


Green, B., Furrer, C., Worsel, S., Burrus, S., & Finigan, M. (2009). Building the Evidence Base for Family Drug Treatment Courts: Results From Recent Outcome Studies. Drug Court Review6(2), 53–82.



Effects of a Multidisciplinary Family Treatment Drug Court on Child and Family Outcomes: Results of a Quasi-Experimental Study

Authors: Eric J. Bruns, Michael D. Pullmann, Ericka S. Weathers, Mark L. Wirschem, Jill K. Murphy
Journal: Child Maltreatment

Family treatment drug courts (FTDCs) are an increasingly common approach for serving families involved in child welfare due to parental substance abuse; however, the evidence base for FTDCs remains emergent. This quasi-experimental study replicates previous research on FTDCs by comparing parental substance abuse treatment and child welfare outcomes for 76 FTDC participants to outcomes for 76 parents in the same system who did not participate in the FTDC, using propensity score matching. Data were obtained from the Superior court, FTDC, child welfare, and public substance use treatment service administrative databases. The follow-up window for participants ranged from 1 to 3 years. Results showed FTDC parents had significantly more review and motion hearings, were significantly more likely to enter treatment, entered treatment faster, received more treatment, and were more likely to successfully complete treatment. FTDC children spent significantly less time placed out of home, ended child welfare system involvement sooner, were more likely to be permanently placed and discharged from child welfare, and were more likely to return to parental care. Results demonstrate that FTDCs promote positive treatment and child welfare outcomes without deepening participants’ involvement in justice systems.


Bruns, E. J., Pullmann, M. D., Weathers, E. S., Wirschem, M. L., & Murphy, J. K. (2012). Effects of a Multidisciplinary Family Treatment Drug Court on Child and Family Outcomes: Results of a Quasi-Experimental Study. Child Maltreatment17(3), 218–230.

Keywords: child welfare, children in child welfare, parents/adults, substance abuse, treatment


Family Drug Court, Targeted Parent Training and Family Reunification: Did this Enhanced Service Strategy Make A Difference?

Authors: Jody Brook, Becci A. Akin, Margaret H. Lloyd, Yueqi Yan
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

This article reports findings from an evaluation of reunification outcomes for children and families who participated in a family drug court (FDC) that incorporated the use of two innovative evidence-based parenting programs. In addition to comprehensive FDC services, families participated in the Strengthening Families Program and Celebrating Families! programs in a sequential format. Data analyses were conducted on a sample of 214 children whose child welfare cases were adjudicated through the FDC and 418 matched comparison cases. Entry-cohort survival analysis results indicated that families receiving FDC services were more than twice as likely to reunify in a 45 month observation window.


Brook, J., Akin, B. A., Lloyd, M. H., & Yan, Y. (2015). Family Drug Court, Targeted Parent Training and Family Reunification: Did this Enhanced Service Strategy Make A Difference? Juvenile and Family Court Journal66(2), 35–52.



Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams for Families with Co-occurring Substance Use and Child Maltreatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors: Martin T. Hall, Aimee B. Kelmela, Ruth A. Huebner, Matthew T. Walton, Anita P. Barbee
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Background: Co-occurring parental substance use and child maltreatment has increased in recent years and is associated with poor child welfare outcomes. The Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (START) program was developed to meet the needs of these families.


Objective: A randomized controlled trial was implemented to compare START to usual child welfare services on three outcomes: out-of-home care (OOHC) placements; reunification; and subsequent child maltreatment.


Participants and setting: Families reported to child welfare services in Jefferson County, Kentucky, were eligible if they had a current finding of child maltreatment or services needed, substance use as a primary risk factor, a child under six years of age, and no other open child welfare cases.


Methods: Biased coin randomization was used for a control: treatment randomization ratio of 1:2. Analyses were conducted using intent-to-treat (ITT), though a subsample of families receiving services was also analyzed. Differences were assessed using t-tests, chi-square, and risk ratios.


Results: A total of 348 families including 526 children were randomized to START (n = 346) and usual services (n = 180). There were no significant differences between groups on the three outcomes in the ITT sample or the subsample that received services, though the START OOHC rate was 7 percentage points lower (relative difference: 21.6 %) and the reunification rate was 13 percentage points higher (relative difference: 27.6 %) in the subsample.


Conclusions: Although differences between groups were not significantly different, the relative differences were meaningful and this is the third study showing lower rates of OOHC among START relative to usual services. Additionally, the START reunification rate is higher than the overall U.S. average in spite of notable risk factors.


Hall, M. T., Kelmel, A. B., Huebner, R. A., Walton, M. T., & Barbee, A. P. (2021). Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams for families with co-occurring substance use and child maltreatment: A randomized controlled trial. Child Abuse & Neglect114, 104963.

Keywords: child maltreatment, out-of-home care, randomized controlled trial, reunification, substance use


Veteran Treatment Court Clients’ Perceptions of Procedural Justice and Recidivism

Authors: Cassandra A. Atkin-Plunk, Gaylene S. Armstrong, Nicky Dalbir
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

Studies surrounding the effectiveness of veterans’ treatment courts (VTCs) are now emerging. Absent from this scholarship is an examination of the presence of procedural justice within VTCs and the influence of procedural justice on future criminal behavior of VTC clients. To begin this dialogue, this study surveys 41 clients enrolled in two VTCs in a Southern state. We explore client perceptions of procedurally just treatment by their judge and assigned supervision officer. Using an average follow-up time of 20 months, this study also examines the effects of perceptions of procedural justice on recidivism of court clients. Results find VTC clients perceive their judge and supervision officer treat them in a procedurally just manner. Interestingly, perceptions of procedural justice during interactions did not result in reduced recidivism among the current sample. Policy and program implications along with recommendations for future research are provided.


Atkin-Plunk, C. A., Armstrong, G. S., & Dalbir, N. (2020). Veteran Treatment Court Clients’ Perceptions of Procedural Justice and Recidivism. Criminal Justice Policy Review. 2021;32(5):501-522.

Keywords: problem-solving courts, procedural justice, recidivism, veterans’ treatment courts


Veteran Treatment Courts: A Promising Solution

Authors: Ashok Paparao Yerramsetti, Daniel David Simons, Loretta A. Coonan, Michael E. DeBakey, Andrea Stolar
Journal: Behavioral Sciences & the Law

The high prevalence of substance use, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental illness in the veteran population presents unique public health and social justice challenges. Veteran involvement in the justice system has been identified as a national concern. Criminal justice involvement compounds pre-existing socioeconomic stressors and further strains support systems. The point of contact with the criminal justice system, however, presents an opportunity to establish mental health treatment. This is consistent with the concept of the sequential intercept model that seeks to divert offenders with mental illness from the criminal justice system into treatment. In recent years, many jurisdictions have established veterans treatment courts (VTCs), a type of problem-solving court serving this diversion function for military veterans. This article presents an overview of the problem, the ethical basis for their development, a brief history of the courts, and their potential for success. The Harris County Veterans Court is presented as an example.


Yerramsetti, A. P., Simons, D. D., Coonan, L., & Stolar, A. (2017). Veteran treatment courts: A promising solution. Behavioral Sciences & the Law35(5–6), 512–522.



Veterans Treatment Court: A Proactive Approach

Author: Judge Robert T. Russell
Journal: New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement

As the veteran population in the United States continues to rise, so too does the need for greater understanding of the impact of military service. As of October 2008, the estimated United States veteran population was 23,442,000.1 “Since October 2001, approximately 1.64 million U.S. troops have been deployed for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Military service can impact the lives of veterans and their families in countless ways. Many returning veterans and their families cope with serious issues such as: alcohol and substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness, unemployment, and strained relationships. Oftentimes, these serious issues go unaddressed, and many of the veterans end up in our criminal justice system. With the increase of veterans with serious needs in our criminal justice system, comes the need for the system to develop innovative ways of working to address these issues and needs. One court in Buffalo, New York, has developed a plan for meeting the serious needs of veterans within the criminal justice system and created the nation’s first specialized Veterans Treatment Court.


Russell, R. T. (2009). Veterans Treatment Court: A Proactive Approach. New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement35(2), 357–372.



Juvenile Drug Courts and Recidivism: Results from a Multisite Outcome Study

Authors: Christopher J. Sullivan, Lesli Blair, Edward J. Latessa, Carrie Sullivan
Journal: Justice Quarterly

This study reports findings from a study of nine juvenile drug courts (JDCs) from across the US. A quasi-experimental design, with one-to-one matching on possible confounders and sociodemographics, was used for the outcome assessment (n = 1372). Baseline and outcome data were drawn from justice system records. Although there is variation across sites and, to some extent, outcomes, these JDCs were generally ineffective in reducing recidivism. Similar findings have emerged in other recent studies of JDCs. Given the results of this study and others, it is essential that juvenile courts work to improve the effectiveness of JDCs by increasing adherence to known principles of effective intervention.


Sullivan, C. J., Blair, L., Latessa, E., & Sullivan, C. C. (2016). “Juvenile Drug Courts and Recidivism: Results from a Multisite Outcome Study.” Justice Quarterly33(2), 291–318.

Keywords: drug courts, evidence-based practice, juvenile justice


Juvenile Drug Court: Enhancing Outcomes by Integrating Evidence-Based Treatments

Authors: Christopher J. Sullivan, Lesli Blair, Edward J. Latessa, Carrie Sullivan
Journal: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

Evaluated the effectiveness of juvenile drug court for 161 juvenile offenders meeting diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence and determined whether the integration of evidence-based practices enhanced the outcomes of juvenile drug court. Over a 1-year period, a four-condition randomized design evaluated outcomes for family court with usual community services, drug court with usual community services, drug court with multisystemic therapy, and drug court with multisystemic therapy enhanced with contingency management for adolescent substance use, criminal behavior, symptomatology, and days in out-of-home placement. In general, findings supported the view that drug court was more effective than family court services in decreasing rates of adolescent substance use and criminal behavior. Possibly due to the greatly increased surveillance of youths in drug court, however, these relative reductions in antisocial behavior did not translate to corresponding decreases in rearrest or incarceration. In addition, findings supported the view that the use of evidence-based treatments within the drug court context improved youth substance-related outcomes. Clinical and policy implications of these findings are discussed.


Henggeler, S. W., Halliday-Boykins, C. A., Cunningham, P. B., Randall, J., Shapiro, S. B., & Chapman, J. E. (n.d.). Juvenile Drug Court: Enhancing Outcomes by Integrating Evidence-Based Treatments. 13.

Keywords: contingency management, delinquency, juvenile drug court, multisystemic therapy, substance abuse


Meeting Treatment Needs: Overall Effectiveness and Critical Components of Juvenile Drug Court/Reclaiming Futures Programs

Authors: Josephine D. Korchmaros, Sally J. Stevens, Alison R. Greene, Monica Davis, Rachel Chalot
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Justice

There is a current trend to incorporate evidence-based practices into juvenile drug courts in an effort to enhance substance abuse treatment capacity. Consequently many jurisdictions that have been implementing the Juvenile Drug Court: Strategies in Practice (National Drug Court Institute & National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2003), have incorporated Reclaiming Futures (Nissen, Butts, Merrigan, & Kraft, 2006) into their juvenile drug courts. The expectation is that the integrated Juvenile Drug Court: Strategies in Practice and Reclaiming Futures (JDC/RF) program would lead to increased engagement of youth in juvenile drug court resulting in improved rates of program clients receiving substance abuse treatment. Results of the National Cross-Site Evaluation of JDC/RF indicate that the overall probability of a JDC/RF program client receiving treatment is relatively high, but varies by program. Specifically, JDC/RF programs lacking systems integration were less effective at serving substance abuse treatment needs, regardless of the characteristics of their
clients. This finding suggests that all communities should focus on system integration when delivering services to adolescents with substance abuse problems in the justice system. In addition, JDC/RF programs with greater access to targeted treatment were more effective at serving substance abuse treatment needs. Even though this effect was accounted for by client characteristics, results suggest that targeted treatment should remain a particular focus of juvenile drug courts.


Meeting Treatment Needs: Overall Effectiveness and Critical Components of Juvenile Drug Court/Reclaiming Futures Programs. (n.d.). Journal of Juvenile Justice, 21.

Keywords: juvenile drug court, Reclaiming Futures, Strategies in Practice, treatment programs


New Approaches for Working with Children and Families Involved in Family Treatment Drug Courts: Findings from the Children Affected by Methamphetamine Program

Authors: Michael S. Rodi, Colleen M. Killian, Philip Breitenbucher, Nancy K. Young, Sharon Amatetti, Russ Bermejo, Erin Hall
Journal: Child Welfare

This is a descriptive study of the Children Affected by Methamphetamine (CAM) grant program, a federally funded effort to improve outcomes through the addition of targeted interventions for 1,940 families, including 2,596 adults and 4,245 children involved in 12 diverse Family Treatment Drug Courts (FTDCs) located across six U.S. states. The majority were children of parents with a primary methamphetamine use disorder. Findings reflect grantees’ reporting on 18 performance indicators of child safety and permanency, adult recovery, and family well-being. Additional information gleaned from grantees’ biannual reports provides insights about program implementation. Results, drawn from this large and complex dataset, indicate that comprehensively addressing families’ needs is associated with better outcomes than those experienced by similarly situated families in grantees’ communities and the nation overall. In addition to describing common program components and outcomes, this article presents important lessons learned about implementing evidence-based children’s services in the FTDC context, as well as future directions for research and evaluation in this arena.


Rodi, M. S., Killian, C. M., Breitenbucher, P., Young, N. K., Amatetti, S., Bermejo, R., & Hall, E. (2015). New Approaches for Working with Children and Families Involved in Family Treatment Drug Courts: Child Welfare94(4), 205–232.



Predictors of Program Failure in a Juvenile Drug Court Program

Authors: Brian Konecky, Tony Cellucci, Kirk Mochrie
Journal: Addictive Behaviors

Adolescent substance use is a major social problem associated with academic underachievement, emotional/psychiatric symptoms, family conflict, and legal difficulties (Evans et al., 2005; Kamininer & Winters, 2011). Adolescents in the juvenile justice system have a high prevalence of substance use disorders (SUD) with multiple SUDs (e.g., alcohol and marijuana) being normative (McClelland, Elkington, Teplin, & Abram, 2004).


There are several major concerns regarding adolescent treatment. First, adolescent substance abuse treatments have high dropout rates. For example, of 160 admissions to residential treatment, only 30% of male adolescents completed treatment, making program failure a substantial issue in this population (Neumann et al., 2010).


Second, adolescents with co-occurring disorders (e.g., depression) have more difficulty completing treatment than those with just SUD (White et al., 2004).


Third, some studies have found that psychopathic characteristics at intake have correlated with attrition, poor participation, and less clinical improvement (e.g., O’Neill, Lidz, & Heilbrun, 2003). Among adolescents enrolled in a short-term court program for first time offenders, those with higher levels of delinquency tended to have subsequent reports of heavy drinking and negative consequences (Hunter, Miles, Pedersen, Ewing, & D’Amico, 2014).


Drug courts were designed to address low treatment completion rates, frequent relapse, and recidivism, associated with substance abuse within the correctional system. As of December 2011, there were an estimated 476 juvenile courts operating (Huddleston & Marlowe, 2011). Research suggests that juvenile drug courts can be more effective than other treatments for adolescents (Henggeler, 2007) leading to their expansion (Alarid, Montemayor, & Dannhaus, 2012). However, few studies have examined predictors of program outcome in juvenile drug courts, creating a need to better assess who benefits or fails these programs. This study examined this question, extending prior literature on using a risk assessment instrument, the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory, to this setting.


Konecky, B., Cellucci, T., & Mochrie, K. (2016). Predictors of program failure in a juvenile drug court program. Addictive Behaviors59, 80–83.

Keywords: adolescents, drug court, substance abuse


Selection into Mental Health Court: Distinguishing Among Eligible Defendants

Authors: Mary Lee Luskin, Bradley Ray
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior

How defendants are selected into mental health courts (MHC) is central to issues of fairness, efficacy, and successful program replication. Only recently has empirical research started to examine MHC selection, revealing a multi-stage process with multiple decision makers and multiple variables. In this study, we use classification and regression tree analysis (CART) to examine the variables suggested in recent research to predict selection into MHC. The analysis includes legal and diagnostic variables, treatment history, measures of treatability, motivation to change, violence risk, and symptom severity. We find that the MHC is more likely to accept defendants who did not have warrants issued for their arrest, who had diagnoses other than depression, and who did not report using illegal drugs around the time of their admission. Symptom severity and motivation to treatment also predict MHC admission, with their effects contingent on defendants’ statuses on other variables.


Luskin, M. L., & Ray, B. (2015). Selection into mental health court: Distinguishing among eligible defendants. Criminal Justice and Behavior42(11), 1145–1158.

Keywords: admission processes, diversion, mental health courts, selection, selection bias


The Client–Caseworker Relationship and its Association with Outcomes Among Mental Health Court Participants

Authors: Kelli E. Canada, Matthew W. Epperson
Journal: Community Mental Health Journal

A portion of people with mental illnesses who are arrested are diverted to mental health courts (MHC) where they work with teams of treatment and court staff rather than serving time in custody. This study investigated the association between the relationship with caseworkers and outcomes. MHC participants were recruited to participate in structured interviews on their perceptions of the bond and conflict with their MHC caseworkers. Regression models tested associations between relationships with caseworkers and program retention, service use, and number of days spent in jail. Perceived conflict with caseworkers was higher among participants who were terminated or missing from the MHC. Participants who perceived less conflict with caseworkers utilized more services and spent fewer days in jail. The perceived bond was significantly associated with service use. Caseworkers with clients who are in the criminal justice system should be mindful as conflict arises and implement strategies to effectively manage conflict.


Canada, K. E., & Epperson, M. W. (2014). The client–caseworker relationship and its association with outcomes among mental health court participants. Community Mental Health Journal50(8), 968–973.



Mental Health Courts and Adult Offenders with Developmental Disabilities and Co-occurring Diagnoses

Authors: Mamadou M. Seck, George S. Tsagaris, Robert Rowe
Journal: Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal

This study examined the mental health court (MHC) outcomes of 160 adult offenders with developmental disabilities and co-occurring disorders of mental health or substance abuse who were serviced by the forensic unit of an agency. A descriptive analysis of 120 offenders evaluated by the court clinic identified 23 (19.2%) with developmental disabilities only and three groups with co-occurring disorders including 32 (26.7%) with substance abuse disorders, 45 (37.5%) with mental health disorders, and 20 (16.7%) with mental health and substance abuse disorders. There was no clinical evaluation of the other 40 participants. Crimes varied from burglary to conspiracy using weapons, drug and narcotics trafficking, and theft. For MHC and non-MHC judges, differences in court outcomes were revealed with regard to community control (67% vs. 62%), prison sentences (33% vs. 38%), and recidivism rates. For best practice, additional disability-specific training was recommended for judges and other court professionals.


Seck, M. M., Tsagaris, G. S., & Rowe, R. (2017). Mental health courts and adult offenders with developmental disabilities and co-occuring diagnoses. Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal13(2), 30–40.

Keywords: co-occurring disorders, court outcomes, mental health court, offenders with developmental disabilities


Predictors of Mental Health Court Graduation

Authors: Virginia Aldigé Hiday, Bradley Ray, Heathcote W. Wales
Journal: Psychology, Public Policy, and Law

Mental health courts (MHCs), nontraditional problem-solving courts designed to address underlying causes of offending rather than apportion guilt and punishment, have been reported to reduce offending among persons with mental illness and consequently have been spreading. Graduation from a MHC has been found to be a major predictor of reduced recidivism; yet few studies have examined factors affecting MHC graduation. This study examines what participants brought to MHC, their processing in MHC, and their behaviors during MHC. It found that noncompliant participant behaviors during MHC had the strongest impact on graduation, increasing the odds of failure to graduate and reducing, if not eliminating, the direct effects on completion of the risk factors participants brought into court.


Aldigé Hiday, V., Ray, B., & Wales, H. W. (2014). Predictors of mental health court graduation. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law20(2), 191–199.

Keywords: co-occurring substance abuse, diversion, graduation, mental health courts, severe mental illness


Recidivism Following Mental Health Court Exit: Between and Within-group Comparisons

Authors: Evan M. Lowder, Sarah L. Desmarais, Daniel J. Baucom
Journal: Law and Human Behavior

Over the past decade, Mental Health Courts (MHCs) have spread rapidly across the U.S. These courts aim to reduce recidivism among adults with mental illnesses through diversion into community-based treatment. Extant research suggests that MHCs can be effective in reducing recidivism, but also demonstrates that effectiveness varies as a function of characteristics of the participants (e.g., criminal history) and the program (e.g., coercion). Less is known regarding the extent to which process-related factors (e.g., length of participation, time between referral and receipt of services) impact effectiveness. Prior research also is limited by a focus on recidivism during MHC as opposed to postexit. To address these knowledge gaps, we examined recidivism 1 year postexit for a group of MHC participants (n = 57) and offenders receiving treatment as usual (TAU; n = 40), total N = 97. We also investigated the influence of individual characteristics and process factors on changes in jail days 1 year preentry to 1 year postexit for MHC participants. Overall, results provide some evidence supporting the effectiveness of MHCs. MHC participants had significantly fewer jail days, but not charges or convictions, relative to TAU participants. Among MHC participants, graduation from the MHC, presence of co-occurring substance use, and longer length of MHC participation were associated with greater reductions in jail days. Other process factors were unrelated to reductions in recidivism. Findings suggest that MHCs may be particularly effective for high-risk participants and that time spent in a MHC has positive effects on recidivism, regardless of graduation status.


Lowder, E. M., Desmarais, S. L., & Baucom, D. J. (2016). Recidivism following mental health court exit: Between and within-group comparisons. Law and Human Behavior40(2), 118–127.



Assessing the Effectiveness of Drug Courts on Recidivism: A Meta-analytic Review of Traditional and Non-traditional Drug Courts

Authors: Ojmarrh Mitchell, David B.Wilson, Amy Eggers, Doris L. MacKenzie
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice

Purpose: The objective of this research was to systematically review quasi-experimental and experimental evaluations of the effectiveness of drug courts in reducing offending.


Methods: Our search identified 154 independent evaluations: 92 evaluations of adult drug courts, 34 of juvenile drug courts, and 28 of DWI drug courts. The findings of these studies were synthesized using meta-analysis.


Results: The vast majority of adult drug court evaluations, even the most rigorous evaluations, find that participants have lower recidivism than non-participants. The average effect of participation is analogous to a drop in recidivism from 50% to 38%; and, these effects last up to three years. Evaluations of DWI drug courts find effects similar in magnitude to those of adult drug courts, but the most rigorous evaluations do not uniformly find reductions in recidivism. Juvenile drug courts have substantially smaller effects on recidivism. Larger reductions in recidivism were found in adult drug courts that had high graduation rates, and those that accepted only non-violent offenders.


Conclusions: These findings support the effectiveness of adult drug courts in reducing recidivism. The evidence assessing DWI courts’ effectiveness is very promising but more experimental evaluations are needed. Juvenile drug courts typically produce small reductions in recidivism.


Mitchell, O., Wilson, D. B., Eggers, A., & MacKenzie, D. L. (2012). Assessing the effectiveness of drug courts on recidivism: A meta-analytic review of traditional and non-traditional drug courts. Journal of Criminal Justice40(1), 60–71.



Associations with Substance Abuse Treatment Completion Among Drug Court Participants

Author: Randall T. Brown
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse

Subjects in the study included all participants (N = 573) in drug treatment court in a mid-sized U.S. city from 1996 through 2004. Administrative data from the drug court included measures of demographics and socioeconomics, substance use, and criminal justice history. Stepwise multivariate logistic regression yielded a final model of failure to complete drug treatment. Unemployment, lower educational attainment, and cocaine use disorders were associated with failure to complete treatment. The limitations of administrative data should be considered in the interpretation of results.


Brown, R. (2010). Associations with substance abuse treatment completion among drug court participants. Substance Use & Misuse45(12), 1874–1891.

Keywords: cocaine, criminal justice, drug abuse, drug court, unemployment


Criminally Involved Parents who Misuse Substances and Children’s Odds of Being Arrested as a Young Adult: Do Drug Treatment Courts Mitigate the Risk?

Authors: Elizabeth J. Gifford, Lindsey M. Eldred, Kelly E. Evans, and Frank A. Sloan
Journal: Journal of Child and Family Studies

This paper examined (1) the association between parents who are convicted of a substance-related offense and their children’s probability of being arrested as a young adult and (2) whether or not parental participation in an adult drug treatment court program mitigated this risk. The analysis relied on state administrative data from North Carolina courts (2005–2013) and from birth records (1988–2003). The dependent variable was the probability that a child was arrested as a young adult (16–21). Logistic regression was used to compare groups and models accounted for the clustering of multiple children with the same mother. Findings revealed that children whose parents were convicted on either a substance-related charge on a non-substance-related charge had twice the odds of being arrested as young adult, relative to children whose parents had not been observed having a conviction. While a quarter of children whose parents participated in a drug treatment court program were arrested as young adults, parental completion this program did not reduce this risk. In conclusion, children whose parents were convicted had an increased risk of being arrested as young adults, irrespective of whether or not the conviction was on a substance-related charge. However, drug treatment courts did not reduce this risk. Reducing intergenerational links in the probability of arrest remains a societal challenge.


Gifford, E. J., Eldred, L. M., Evans, K. E., & Sloan, F. A. (2016). Criminally involved parents who misuse substances and children’s odds of being arrested as a young adult: Do drug treatment courts mitigate the risk? Journal of Child and Family Studies25(8), 2447–2457.

Keywords: drug treatment court, intergenerational, parental participation, young adult crime


Drug Courts and the Facilitation of Turning Points: An Expansion of Life Course Theory

Authors: Sarah Messer, Ryan Patten, Kimberlee Candela
Journal: Contemporary Drug Problems: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly

Life course theory has been used to explain why people stop committing crime and/or deviant behavior. Life course theory scholars have demonstrated important life events, such as marriage, gaining employment, or joining the military, have led to reduced recidivism; however, drug courts might also legitimately be considered a turning point for an offender. This study utilized semi-structured interviews with former drug court participants (n = 29) in an attempt to expand life course theory and demonstrate how drug courts should be considered a facilitator of ‘turning points’ for previous criminal offenders. During the interviews, participants discussed how drug court helped them attain many important skills/ideas: self-esteem, improved relationships with family and children, a general educational development certificate, a driver’s license, and/or gainful employment. A gendered analysis demonstrates women found drug court to be more useful at facilitating turning points than their male peers. Additionally, recidivism rates for the participants were lower than similarly situated offenders at the state level. While further research is needed, this study begins to advance the expansion of life course theory.


Messer, S., Patten, R., & Candela, K. (2016). Drug courts and the facilitation of turning points: An expansion of life course theory. Contemporary Drug Problems: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly43(1), 6–24.

Keywords: drug court, gender, life course theory


Gender-responsive Drug Court Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors: Nena Messina, Stacy Calhoun, Umme Warda
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior

This pilot study compared outcomes for 94 women offenders in San Diego County, California, who participated in four drug court programs. Women were randomized to gender-responsive (GR) programs using Helping Women Recover and Beyond Trauma or standard mixed-gender treatment. Data were collected at program entry, during treatment, and approximately 22 months after treatment entry. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted. Results showed that GR participants had better in-treatment performance, more positive perceptions related to their treatment experience, and trends indicating reductions in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology. Both groups improved in their self-reported psychological well-being and reported reductions in drug use (p < .06) and arrest (a diagnosis of PTSD was the primary predictor of reductions in rearrest, p < .04). Findings show some beneficial effects of adding treatment components oriented toward women’s needs. Significant questions remain, particularly around PTSD and whether it should be targeted to improve substance use outcomes for women.


Messina, N., Calhoun, S., & Warda, U. (2012). Gender-responsive drug court treatment: A randomized controlled trial. Criminal Justice and Behavior39(12), 1539–1558.

Keywords: Beyond Trauma, drug court treatment, gender-responsive treatment, Helping Women Recover, randomized controlled trial, women offenders


‘I don’t see myself as prison material’: Motivations for Entering a Rural Drug Court

Authors: Ryan Patten, Sarah Messer, Kimberlee Candela
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

Since the inception of drug court in the late 1980s, it has become a widely used alternative to incarcerating drug offenders. Previous research has detailed the effectiveness of programming on recidivism, participants’ perceptions of the service delivery model, and cost-effectiveness. The scholarship related to drug offender motivations to participate in drug court has largely discussed family obligations and the sense of loss stemming from drug abuse, and only two studies have discussed the fear of prison as a primary motivator. This research utilized semi-structured interviews with former drug court participants from a rural county in California to ascertain their motivation for engaging in drug court (N = 29). The results show 79% of participants were trying to avoid prison or jail, while 62% were motivated to end the cycle of drug abuse in their lives. The conclusion has policy implications for future drug court design; however, additional research is needed.


Patten, R., Messer, S., & Candela, K. (2015). “I don’t see myself as prison material”: Motivations for entering a rural drug court. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology59(11), 1188–1202.

Keywords: drug court, motivation


Impact of Jail Sanctions during Drug Court Participation upon Substance Abuse Treatment Completion

Authors: Ryan Patten, Sarah Messer, Kimberlee Candela
Journal: Addiction

Aims: This study of participants in a US drug treatment court describes the relationship between the imposition of short‐term jail sanctions and substance abuse treatment dropout, and examines offender characteristics moderating or modifying the impact of jail sanctions on treatment dropout.


Methods: Data were derived from administrative information collected by the Dane County Wisconsin Drug Treatment Court from 1996–2004 on all 573 participants achieving a final disposition of treatment completion or failure during those program years. Iterative Cox proportional hazards models of time to treatment failure were created; jail sanctions during drug court participation were framed as time‐dependent covariates. A theoretical framework and specific statistical criteria guided construction of a final parsimonious model of time to treatment drop‐out.


Findings: Treatment failure was associated with unemployment [hazard ratio (HR) in unemployed versus employed = 1.41, P‐value 0.0079], lower educational attainment (HR in high school non‐graduate versus graduate = 1.41, P = 0.02) and application of the first jail sanction (HR 2.71, P < 0.001). The association between treatment failure and a first sanction was considerably stronger for sanctions administered earlier in participation (HR for sanction 1 at < 30 days 11.34, P‐value 0.0002).


Conclusions: An initial jail sanction for non‐adherence may be more likely to foster treatment compliance in less refractory individuals (i.e. those not already acclimated or socialized to incarceration or other corrections interventions). More stringent supervisory conditions and individualized services may be required to reintegrate such offenders and promote longer‐term public safety.


Brown, R. T., Allison, P. A., & Nieto, F. J. (2011). Impact of jail sanctions during drug court participation upon substance abuse treatment completion. Addiction, 106(1), 135–142.



A Qualitative Analysis of Family Dynamics and Motivation in Sessions with 15 Women in Drug Treatment Court

Authors: Zoe E. Goldberg, Nancy P. Chin, Amina Alio, Geoffrey C. Williams, Diane Morse
Journal: Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment

Women with substance use disorders (SUDs) often experience inadequate health care, mental and physical health problems, trauma, lack of social support, and undermining of support for psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness needed for motivation and well-being. For women with SUD trying to reclaim sobriety and a healthy life, family can present both barriers and support. The aim of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of the intersection of family relationships with motivation of women in Drug Treatment Court (DTC) to attain their health goals. Data consist of transcribed intervention sessions between trained peer interventionists and 15 DTC participants from The Women’s Initiative Supporting Health DTC Intervention Study. This analysis uses a qualitative framework approach to analyze the data. The Self-determination Theory of human motivation and Family Systems Theory provide the conceptual framework to understand how participants’ expressions of motivation-related basic needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness and change-related behaviors interfaced with family support. Analysis revealed more mentions of family in motivation-supportive contexts than in motivation-thwarting contexts, but highlighted complex roles families can play in health of women in recovery from SUD. Providers may be able to incorporate this knowledge to address the needs of this challenging population.


Goldberg, Z. E., Chin, N. P., Alio, A., Williams, G., & Morse, D. S. (2019). A qualitative analysis of family dynamics and motivation in sessions with 15 women in Drug Treatment Court. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment13.

Keywords: family support, motivation, substance use disorder, trauma, women’s health


A Quantitative Study of a Drug Treatment Court in a Western Canadian City: Post-sentencing and Reoffence Outcomes

Authors: Michael Weinrath, Kelly Gorkoff, Joshua Watts, Calum Smee, Zachary Allard, Michael Bellan , Sarah Lumsden, Melissa Cattini
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Drug treatment courts (DTCs) have been proposed as an alternative to custody that will better deal with drug-dependent offenders through application of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ). While DTC proponents emphasize the positive aspects of the judicial involvement and intense treatment that most courts provide, critics observe that there are many punitive aspects to DTCs. Frequent court appearances, curfews, urinalysis, multiple bail conditions, and delayed sentencing can be viewed as extensions of coercive social control rather than as benevolent measures intended to help offenders. Further, critics of Canadian DTCs have challenged the efficacy of treatment. This paper seeks to add to a limited Canadian research literature by examining a DTC in the Prairie city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Two samples are used: sample 1 examines sentencing outcomes and reoffence data for 199 DTC admissions from 2006 to 2014; sample 2 is employed for a quasi-experimental comparative recidivism study using a propensity score matching determined sample of 63 DTC cases with 167 adult probationers from 2010–12. Graduates showed lower rates of reoffence compared to unsuccessful cases. Sentencing outcomes showed that unsuccessful participants were most often incarcerated when re-sentenced on original charges. Probation cases reoffended at higher rates than the matched DTC group. Administrative violations were still higher than in the probation group, and may actually result in an inflated reoffence rate for Canadian DTCs. Policy implications and directions for further research are discussed.


Goldberg, Z. E., Chin, N. P., Alio, A., Williams, G., & Morse, D. S. (2019). A qualitative analysis of family dynamics and motivation in sessions with 15 women in Drug Treatment Court. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment13.

Keywords: drug dependent, drug treatment courts, problem-solving courts, recidivism, substance abuse


Parental Criminal Justice Involvement and Children’s Involvement with Child Protective Services: Do Adult Drug Treatment Courts Prevent Child Maltreatment?

Authors: Dr. Elizabeth J. Gifford, Lindsey M. Eldred, Dr. Frank A. Sloan, Kelly E. Evans
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse

Background: In light of evidence showing reduced criminal recidivism and cost savings, adult drug treatment courts have grown in popularity. However, the potential spillover benefits to family members are understudied.


Objectives: To examine: (1) the overlap between parents who were convicted of a substance-related offense and their children’s involvement with child protective services (CPS); and (2) whether parental participation in an adult drug treatment court program reduces children’s risk for CPS involvement.


Methods: Administrative data from North Carolina courts, birth records, and social services were linked at the child level. First, children of parents convicted of a substance-related offense were matched to (a) children of parents convicted of a nonsubstance-related offense and (b) those not convicted of any offense. Second, we compared children of parents who completed a DTC program with children of parents who were referred but did not enroll, who enrolled for <90 days but did not complete, and who enrolled for 90+ days but did not complete. Multivariate logistic regression was used to model group differences in the odds of being reported to CPS in the 1 to 3 years following parental criminal conviction or, alternatively, being referred to a DTC program.


Results: Children of parents convicted of a substance-related offense were at greater risk of CPS involvement than children whose parents were not convicted of any charge, but DTC participation did not mitigate this risk.
Conclusion/Importance: The role of specialty courts as a strategy for reducing children’s risk of maltreatment should be further explored.


Gifford, E. J., Eldred, L. M., Sloan, F. A., & Evans, K. E. (2016). Parental criminal justice involvement and children’s involvement with child protective services: Do adult drug treatment courts prevent child maltreatment? Substance Use & Misuse51(2), 179–192.

Keywords: child maltreatment, convictions, drug treatment courts, substance use


The Dilemma of Re-licensing DWI Offenders: The Offenders’ Point of View

Authors: Louise Nadeau, Ward Vanlaar, Juliette Jarvis, Thomas G Brown
Journal: Accident Analysis & Prevention

In many jurisdictions, drivers convicted for the first-time of driving while impaired by alcohol undertake a risk assessment that will determine the severity of sanctions and the remedial measures they must follow as requisites for re-licensing. There is uncertainty inherent in the assessment of risk for recidivism, however, many offenders feel unfairly assessed and discommoded by the decision-making process and its consequences. The objective of this qualitative study was to gain insight into the perspectives of offenders regarding re-licensing decision making and sanctioning. Specifically, in focus groups first-time offenders and recidivists were probed as to whether they favoured erring on the side of road safety indecision making, with its consequent greater risk of false positive assessments, or erring on the side of maintaining driving privileges, with its consequent greater risk of false negative assessments. In general, participants preferred a higher probability of false negative vs. false positive assessments. Most cited the consequences of sanctions and remedial measures as too severe to impose them on potentially low-risk drivers, as the assessment and monitoring protocols’ limitations could lead to non-equitable treatment. At the same time, recidivists evoked a greater preference for a higher probability of false positive assessments compared to first-time offenders, as they believed that recidivism was more likely to follow a first conviction than did first-time offenders. This information can be useful for a more comprehensive and societally coherent exercise of DWI prevention policies.


Nadeau, L., Vanlaar, W., Jarvis, J., & Brown, T. G. (2016). The dilemma of re-licensing DWI offenders: The offenders’ point of view. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 87, 43–49.

Keywords: alcohol, assessment, driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, risk, recidivism


The Effect of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy on Driving While Intoxicated Recidivism

Authors: Elizabeth L. Quinn, Thomas P. Quinn
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues

This longitudinal study examined differences in driving while intoxicated (DWI) recidivism among defendants with multiple DWI offenses after receiving a 16-week cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program compared with those who received standard services. Defendants on probation supervision with histories of repeated DWI offenses (N = 286; male = 240, female = 46) were referred to CBT. There was a significant difference in DWI recidivism 3 years after CBT among participants (11%) and the New York State (25%) and national (30%) rates; the comparison group reoffended at the rate of 25%. Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) scores of the CBT group also decreased significantly compared with the comparison group, and CBT participants showed significant improvement in overall functioning measured by Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF). CBT offered in this innovative manner was more effective with recalcitrant, hard to treat, DWI offenders. It may also benefit precontemplative offenders by helping them recognize that their drinking is negatively impacting their lives and may warrant more traditional alcohol treatment.


Quinn, T. P., & Quinn, E. L. (2015). The Effect of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy on Driving While Intoxicated Recidivism. Journal of Drug Issues45(4), 431–446.

Keywords: CBT, DWI, recidivist DWI offenders


Effects of Admission and Treatment Strategies of DWI Courts on Offender Outcomes

Authors: Frank A.Sloan, Lindsey M.Chepke, Dontrell V.Davis, Kofi Acquah, Phyllis Zold-Kilbourn
Journal: Accident Analysis & Prevention

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to classify DWI courts on the basis of the mix of difficult cases participating in the court (casemix severity) and the amount of involvement between the court and participant (service intensity). Using our classification typology, we assessed how casemix severity and service intensity are associated with program outcomes. We expected that holding other factors constant, greater service intensity would improve program outcomes while a relatively severe casemix would result in worse program outcomes.


Methods: The study used data from 8 DWI courts, 7 from Michigan and 1 from North Carolina. Using a 2way classification system based on court casemix severity and program intensity, we selected participants in 1 of the courts, and alternatively 2 courts as reference groups. Reference group courts had relatively severe casemixes and high service intensity. We used propensity score matching to match participants in the other courts to participants in the reference group court programs. Program outcome measures were the probabilities of participants’: failing to complete the court’s program; increasing educational attainment; participants improving employment from time of program enrollment; and re-arrest.


Results: For most outcomes, our main finding was that higher service intensity is associated with better outcomes for court participants, as anticipated, but a court’s casemix severity was unrelated to study outcomes.


Conclusions: Our results imply that devoting more resources to increasing duration of treatment is productive in terms of better outcomes, irrespective of the mix of participants in the court’s program.


Sloan, F. A., Chepke, L. M., Davis, D. V., Acquah, K., & Zold-Kilbourn, P. (2013). Effects of admission and treatment strategies of DWI courts on offender outcomes. Accident Analysis & Prevention53, 112–120.

Keywords: alcohol-impaired driving, court intervention, drunk driving, DWI offenders, motor vehicle crashes, treatment


Novel Method of Estimating AROC using an Injury Risk Curve for Biomechanical Injury Metric Selection

Authors: Alexander Baker, Fang-Chi Hsu, Scott Gayzik
Journal: Traffic Injury Prevention

Objective: Area under the receiver operating characteristic (AROC) is commonly used to evaluate an injury metric’s ability to discriminate between injury and noninjury cases. However, AROC has limitations and may not handle censored data sets adequately. Survival methodology creates robust estimates of injury risk curves (IRCs) which accommodate censored data. We developed an observation-adjusted ROC (oaROC), an AROC-like statistic calculated from the IRC.


Methods: oaROC uses an observational distribution and an IRC to measure true positive rate (TPR) and false positive rate (FPR). The oaROC represents what the AROC would be with a large number of observations sampled from the IRC. We verified this using a limit test with simulated data sets at various sample sizes drawn from an assumed “true” IRC. For each sample size, 5,000 different data sets were created; a conventional AROC was calculated for each data set and compared with the single oaROC, which was calculated from the “true” IRC and not dependent on sample size.


Results: The oaROC, calculated from the simulated IRC, was 0.911. At a sample size of 20, the mean AROC was 0.930 (2.0% difference). At a sample size of 1,000, the mean AROC was 0.9114 (0.02% difference).


Conclusion: We verified that AROC approaches the oaROC with increasing sample sizes, and oaROC presents a measure of IRC discriminatory ability. Survival methodology can estimate IRCs using censored observations and the oaROC was designed with this in mind. The oaROC may be a useful measure of discrimination for data sets containing censored data. Further investigation is needed to evaluate oaROC calculated from estimated IRCs.


Baker, A., Hsu, F.-C., & Gayzik, S. (2018). Novel method of estimating AROC using an injury risk curve for biomechanical injury metric selection. Traffic Injury Prevention19(sup1), S174–S176.

Keywords: deemed-approved ordinance, driving while intoxicated, saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, social host ordinance, underage drinking


Predictors of Completion of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Court for Repeat Offenders

Authors: Christine A. Saum, Matthew L. Hiller, Bridget A. Nolan
Journal: Criminal Justice Review

Driving under the influence (DUI) courts are a somewhat recent adaptation of the widely popular drug courts. As such there is a need for more research on these specialty courts that target DUI offenders. An important area of research is program completion and determining what factors may be related to participant dropout. The current study presents findings on a 3-year admissions cohort of participants in the Waukesha Alcohol Treatment Court (WATC) for third-time DUI offenders. This program has been in operation for over 6 years and is a court-based intervention program specifically designed by local stakeholders to address the serious DUI problem in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. Results indicate that variables related to pretrial and case processing, including having participated in substance abuse treatment prior to DUI court entry, were related to WATC completion status. Patterns emerged for the sociodemographic and substance use and health variables, although these relationships did not reach statistical significance. DUI court planners can utilize this information when applying The Ten Guiding Principles of DWI Courts to their courts such as identifying subsets of DUI offenders and refining program components to improve participant completion and subsequent successful outcomes.


Saum, C. A., Hiller, M. L., & Nolan, B. A. (2013). Predictors of Completion of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Court for Repeat Offenders. Criminal Justice Review38(2), 207–225.

Keywords: court innovations, courts/law, drugs and crime, other, substance abuse


Civil Jurisdiction: The Boundaries between Federal and Tribal Courts

Author: Melissa Tatum
Journal: Arizona State Law Journal


Koehn, M. L. (1997). Civil Jurisdiction: The Boundaries between Federal and Tribal Courts. Arizona State Law Journal29(3), 705–768.

Custom, Tribal Court Practice, and Popular Justice

Author: Elizabeth E. Joh
Journal: American Indian Law Review


Elizabeth E. Joh, Custom, Tribal Court Practice, and Popular Justice, 25 Am. Indian L. Rev. 117 (2000),



In a Class by Themselves: A Proposal to Incorporate Tribal Courts into the Federal Court System without Compromising Their Unique Status as “Domestic Dependent Nations”

Author: R. Stephen McNeill
Journal: Washington and Lee Law Review


McNeill, R. S. (2008). In a Class by Themselves: A Proposal to Incorporate Tribal Courts into the Federal Court System without Compromising Their Unique Status as Domestic Dependent Nations. Washington and Lee Law Review65(1), 283–346.



Indian Courts and Fundamental Fairness: Indian Courts and the Future Revisited

Author: Matthew L. M. Fletcher
Journal: University of Colorado Law Review


Fletcher, M. L. M. (2013). Indian Courts and Fundamental Fairness: Indian Courts and the Future Revisited. University of Colorado Law Review84(1), 59–96.



Montana Tribal Courts: Influencing the Development of Contemporary Indian Law

Authors: Margery H. Brown, Brenda C. Desmond
Journal: Montana Law Review


Brown, M. H., & Desmond, B. C. (1991). Montana Tribal Courts: Influencing the Development of Contemporary Indian Law. Montana Law Review52(2), 211–306.



The Efficacy of the Rio Hondo DUI Court: A 2-Year Field Experiment

Authors: John M. MacDonald, Andrew R. Morral, Barbara Raymond, Christine Eibner
Journal: Evaluation Review

This study reports results from an evaluation of the experimental Rio Hondo driving under the influence (DUI) court of Los Angeles County, California. Interviews and official record checks with 284 research participants who were randomly assigned to a DUI court or a traditional criminal court were assessed at baseline and at 24-month follow-up. The interviews assessed the impact of the DUI court on self-reported drunk driving behavior, the completion of treatment, time spent in jail, alcohol use, and stressful life events. Official record checks assessed the impact of the DUI court on subsequent arrests for driving under the influence and other drinking-related behaviors. Few differences on any outcomes were observed between participants in the experimental DUI court and those assigned to the traditional court. The results suggest that the DUI court model had little additional therapeutic or public safety benefit over the traditional court process. The implication of these findings for the popularity of specialized courts for treating social problems is discussed.


MacDonald, J. M., Morral, A. R., Raymond, B., & Eibner, C. (2007). The Efficacy of the Rio Hondo DUI Court: A 2-Year Field Experiment. Evaluation Review31(1), 4–23.

Keywords: driving under the influence, DUI courts, randomized experiment


Unlocking the Black Box: Indicators of Treatment Noncompliance in a DWI Court Program

Authors: Claire Nolasco, Pierre Rivolta, Janet L. Mullings, Aneta Spaic
Journal: Journal of Substance Use

Although a plethora of research has been conducted on the profiles of substance abusers and the efficacy of various drug treatment programs in lowering post-treatment recidivism, there has been a dearth of studies on the treatment progress itself, the ‘‘black-box’’ in drug/DWI treatment research. This study examines the indicators of treatment noncompliance among a sample of DWI Court Program participants of one county in a Southern state. Results of regression indicate that clients with delinquent peers were less likely to comply with treatment conditions. Results indicate that the odds of a client with criminal acquaintances to be noncompliant were 4.8 times greater than for a client with no criminal acquaintances (p50.05). A greater count of sanctions and incentives received also increased the odds of being noncompliant. The odds of a client being noncompliant were 1.5 times greater when the count of incentives increased by one unit. Similarly, the odds of a client being noncompliant were 2.2 times greater when the count of sanctions increased by one unit. Results indicate that the quality of incentives and sanctions rather than the number or rate granted to clients may be more predictive of treatment compliance.


Nolasco, C., Rivolta, P., Mullings, J., & Spaic, A. (2015). Unlocking the black box: indicators of treatment noncompliance in a DWI court program. Journal of Substance Use, 21, 1-5.

Keywords: drug and alcohol use, DWI courts, program evaluation, treatment compliance


A Meta-Analytic Examination of Drug Treatment Courts: Do they Reduce Recidivism?

Authors: Jeff Latimer, Kelly Morton-Bourgon, Jo-Anne Chrétien
Journal: Department of Justice Canada

A meta-analysis was conducted to determine if drug treatment courts reduce recidivism compared to traditional justice system responses. After a comprehensive search of both the published and unpublished literature, 54 studies were located and deemed acceptable according to the study inclusion criteria. Since studies oftentimes contained information on more than one program, data from 66 individual drug treatment court programs were aggregated and analyzed. The results indicated that drug treatment courts significantly reduced the recidivism rates of participants by 14% compared to offenders within the control/comparison groups. Several variables identified in the analysis, however, had an impact on the results, including the age of the participants, the length of the program, the follow-up period used to measure recidivism, and other methodological variables (i.e., the use of random assignment and the choice of the comparison group). While there are other issues that were not the subject of this research, such as the cost-effectiveness of DTCs, the results of this meta-analysis provides clear support for the use of drug treatment courts as a method of reducing crime among offenders with substance abuse problems.


Latimer, J., Morton-Bourgon, K., & Chrétien, J.-A. (2006). A Meta-Analytic Examination of Drug Treatment Courts: Do they Reduce Recidivism? Research and Statistics Division/Department of Justice Canada, 24.



A Phenomenological Approach to Assessing a DUI/DWI Program

Authors: Raymund E. Narag, Sheila Royo Maxwell, Byung Lee
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

In an effort to find a more proactive solution to the problem of drunk driving, a midwestern city has implemented a Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Impaired (DUI/DWI) Court program, a derivative of the popular drug courts. Eligible participants are those who have had two or more drunk-driving offenses but who have not been convicted of a violent offense. Participants volunteer for a 36-week program in exchange for a suspension of their prison sentence. Program elements include drug/alcohol monitoring, support groups, counseling, and extensive supervision. Using a phenomenological approach, this article describes the challenges faced by 20 participants, how they navigated the program requirements, their key realizations about their conditions, and their views on the viability and effectiveness of the program. The article uses qualitative interviews of participants and stakeholders collected for a process evaluation of the DUI program, and official records collected for programming purposes. Findings from this research can be used broadly for programming purposes and can be used by other court jurisdictions that are developing similar programs.


Narag, R. E., Maxwell, S. R., & Lee, B. (2013). A Phenomenological Approach to Assessing a DUI/DWI Program. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 57(2), 229–250.

Keywords: deterrence, drug court, phenomenology, process evaluation, reintegrative shaming


A Theoretical Exploration of a Drug Court Program based on Client Experiences

Authors: Loreen Wolfer, James C. Roberts
Journal: Contemporary Drug Problems

While many agree that drug court programs work, researchers generally have not examined any conceptual frameworks for why. Twenty-six graduates of a county drug court were interviewed about their views of the program. Findings suggest that this program was effective because 1) its model of treatment assisted participants in their reintegration back into society without further stigmatizing them; 2) it provided a form of “outer containment” that held participants’ behaviors in check; and 3) the treatment options strengthened participants’ own internal control mechanisms. Braithwaite’s (1989) theory of reintegrative shaming and Reckless’ (1961) containment theory offer important frameworks for understanding these findings. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.


Wolfer, L., & Roberts, J. C. (2008). A Theoretical Exploration of a Drug Court Program based on Client Experiences. Contemporary Drug Problems, 35(2–3), 481–507.



Predicting Drug Court Treatment Completion Using the MMPI-2-RF

Authors: Curtis Mattson, Bradley Powers, Dale Halfaker, Steven Akeson, Yossef Ben-Porath
Journal: Psychological Assessment

We examined the ability of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF; Ben-Porath & Tellegen, 2008) substantive scales to predict Drug Court treatment completion in a sample of individuals identified as being at risk for failure to complete the program. Higher scores on MMPI-2-RF scales Behavior/Externalizing Dysfunction, Antisocial Behavior, Aberrant Experiences, Juvenile Conduct Problems, Aggression, and Disconstraint–Revised were associated with increased risk for failure to complete treatment. These results are consistent with previous findings (O’Reilly, 2007; Sellbom, Ben-Porath, Baum, Erez, & Gregory, 2008) regarding treatment completion. Gender was also found to be associated with treatment completion, with females being more likely to complete the Drug Court program than males. Zero-order correlations and relative risk analyses indicated that the MMPI-2-RF can provide useful information regarding risk factors for failure to complete Drug Court treatment. Limitations and future directions are discussed.


Mattson, C., Powers, B., Halfaker, D., Akeson, S., & Ben-Porath, Y. (2012). Predicting drug court treatment completion using the MMPI-2-RF. Psychological Assessment, 24(4), 937–943.



Rethinking Court-Sanctioned Reintegration Processes: Redemption Rituals as an Alternative to the Drug Court Graduation

Authors: Izaak L. Williams, David Mee-Lee, John R. Gallagher, Katherine Irwin
Journal: The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice

This research-based position paper offers critical examination and critique of the drug court (DC) graduation model and outlines an alternative approach. To enhance reconfiguration of the current DC graduation system, we propose a redemption-oriented framework that we believe is better aligned with the rehabilitation literature and reintegrative shaming theory. These conceptual underpinnings cohere with restorative justice and together represent a useful interpretive perspective for examining current DC practices in the United States. They also align with the goals we believe redemption rituals should elevate. This is based on four main elements of redemption rituals: achievement; co-ordination of care; status elevation; and moral inclusion. We operationalise these elements by identifying two constituent factors of each. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for DC practice and recommendations for future research in this area.


Williams, I. L., Mee‐Lee, D., Gallagher, J. R., & Irwin, K. (2017). Rethinking Court-Sanctioned Reintegration Processes: Redemption Rituals as an Alternative to the Drug Court Graduation. The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice, 56(2), 244–267.

Keywords: drug court (DC), graduation ceremony, recidivism, redemption rituals, reintegrative shaming theory, substance use disorders


Symptoms of Depression and Successful Drug Court Completion

Authors: Natasha S. Mendoza, Jonathan R. Trinidad, Thomas H. Nochajski, Mark C. Farrell
Journal: Community Mental Health Journal

The majority of drug abusing offenders who need substance abuse treatment do not receive it. Although interventions like drug court increase the probability of offender success, little is known about how co-occurring psychological symptoms impact drug court treatment outcomes. Based on previous research, we hypothesized that co-occurring psychological symptoms would have a significant relationship with successful drug court completion. Using a sample of suburban drug court enrollees (n = 122), multivariate logistic regression was conducted with successful drug court completion as the outcome variable. Predictor variables included symptom counts of depression, post-traumatic stress, obsessive–compulsive disorder, panic disorder, psychosis, generalized anxiety, and social phobia. Results indicated that participants with fewer symptoms of depression were more likely to successfully complete drug court than participants with more symptoms. The present study extends previous research by demonstrating that symptoms of depression are related to poorer outcomes for drug court enrollees. Accordingly, drug courts need to address participants’ symptoms of depression to maximize success.


Mendoza, N. S., Trinidad, J. R., Nochajski, T. H., & Farrell, M. C. (2013). Symptoms of depression and successful drug court completion. Community Mental Health Journal, 49(6), 787–792.

Keywords: alcohol and drugs, co-occurring psychological symptoms, depression, drug court, mental health


What Works in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs for Offenders?

Authors: Stephen J. Bahr, Amber L. Masters, Bryan M. Taylor
Journal: The Prison Journal

The purpose of this article is to review current empirical research on the effectiveness of drug treatment programs, particularly those for prisoners, parolees, and probationers. The authors reviewed empirical research published after the year 2000 that they classified as Level 3 or higher on the Maryland Scale. Participants in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), therapeutic communities, and drug courts had lower rates of drug use and crime than comparable individuals who did not receive treatment. Several different types of pharmacological treatments were associated with a reduced frequency of drug use. Those who received contingency management tended to use drugs less frequently, particularly if they also received cognitive-behavioral therapy. Finally, researchers reported that drug use and crime were lower among individuals whose treatment was followed by an aftercare program. Effective treatment programs tend to (a) focus on high-risk offenders, (b) provide strong inducements to receive treatment, (c) include several different types of interventions simultaneously, (d) provide intensive treatment, and (e) include an aftercare component.


Bahr, S. J., Masters, A. L., & Taylor, B. M. (2012). What works in substance abuse treatment programs for offenders? The Prison Journal, 92(2), 155–174.

Keywords: effectiveness, prisoners, substance abuse, treatment


A Theoretical Model of Drug/DUI Courts: An Application of Structural Ritualization Theory

Authors: Bin Liang, J. David Knottnerus, Michael A. Long
Journal: American Journal of Criminal Justice

Past studies of Drug/DUI courts primarily focused on outcome evaluation and policy-driven issues, but lacked an effective theoretical framework for understanding drug court programs, in particular the interaction between the program and clients. In this study, we apply structural ritualization theory (SRT) to the Drug/DUI program and argue that such programs serve two key functions, to disrupt clients’ old rituals (e.g., drug/alcohol abuse, committing crimes), and to help lay a foundation for building new abstinent and noncriminal ritualized practices for clients both in and after the drug court program. We further argue that the effectiveness of drug program functions and services at the organizational level and the success of clients’ transformation at the individual level can be empirically measured and studied by four elements of SRT, including salience, repetitiveness, homologousness, and resources. Policy implications are drawn based on the contribution of SRT.


Liang, B., Knottnerus, J. D., & Long, M. A. (2016). A Theoretical Model of Drug/DUI Courts: An Application of Structural Ritualization Theory. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 41, 17.

Keywords: DUI/drug program, SRT, theoretical model


There is ‘hope for you yet’: The Female Drug Offender in Sentencing Discourse

Authors: Monique Mann, Helena Menih, Catrin Smith
Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology

Language and gender research has, in recent years, emphasised the importance of examining the context-specific ways in which people ‘do gender’ in different situations. In this paper, we explore how women involved in drug offences, specifically methamphetamine manufacture offences, are constructed within the language of the courts. Thirty-six sentencing transcripts from the New Zealand courts were examined to investigate how such offences, committed by women, are understood. In order to explore the representation of female offenders, a critical discourse analytic approach was adopted. Such an approach recognises that linguistic modes not only create and legitimise power inequalities but also embody a specific worldview. Three gendered discourses were identified in the sentencing texts: (i) the discourse of femininity, reinforcing the socially prescribed female role; (ii) the discourse of aberration, concerning women who breach traditional gender role expectations and, (iii) the discourse of salvation, presenting aberrant women with an opportunity to become ‘good’ women once again. The findings illustrate the ways in which processes of gendering take place within a specific community of practice: the courtroom.


Mann, M. (2014). There is ‘hope for you yet’: The female drug offender in sentencing discourse. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 47(3), 355–373.

Keywords: critical discourse analysis, female offenders, feminist theory, gendering, sentencing discourse


Tough Love: Nurturing and Coercing Responsibility and Recovery in California Drug Courts

Authors: Stacy Lee Burns, Mark Peyrot
Journal: Social Problems

This article considers the activities of the participants in California drug treatment courts and their differences from more traditional criminal courts. The article focuses on how drug court judges and defendants interact to construct the defendant as a personally responsible and rehabilitatively changed “recovering” person, or, alternatively, as an essentially “addicted” and deficient self. The research also explores broader links between the ways drug courts operate and the potential complications involved in mixing coerced treatment and “voluntary” participation. The study finds that certain kinds of defendants may be discovered to be unsuitable for participation in the program; that clients negotiate with the judge over the nature of their (numerous) infractions; and that clients proceeding through the program may be terminated, move backward in treatment stages, have their treatment extended, or be advanced forward and on to the next stage of treatment. The article argues that, while drug court provides offenders the chance to avoid imprisonment and permanent stigmatization by participating in the discourse of aid and treatment, “offenders” in drug court also submit to a combination of penal and therapeutic aims. In practice, this means that judges are likely to exercise enhanced supervision, monitoring, and control over their lives because they are being “rehabilitated.”


Burns, S. L., & Peyrot, M. (2003). Tough Love: Nurturing and Coercing Responsibility and Recovery in California Drug Courts. Social Problems, 50(3), 416–438.



Understanding Success and Nonsuccess in the Drug Court

Authors: Andrew Fulkerson, Linda D. Keena, Erin O’Brien
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

The drug court was developed as a response to the ineffectiveness of the traditional criminal justice response to addiction. It has grown from 1 Miami court in 1989 to more than 2,100 drug court programs across the United States in 2011. The drug court has been described as a restorative or community justice intervention that can benefit the offender, direct and indirect victims, and the community as a whole through its combination of treatment, intensive supervision, and regular court appearances. Although the number of qualitative drug court studies has increased in recent years, there are few studies that compare those who successfully complete the drug court program with those who do not complete. This article is a qualitative study of drug court participants in an Arkansas drug court program. The article compares and contrasts the perceptions of those graduated from the program with those who were terminated from the program.


Fulkerson, A., Keena, L. D., & O’Brien, E. (2013). Understanding Success and Nonsuccess in the Drug Court. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 57(10), 1297–1316.

Keywords: drug court, qualitative research, restorative justice


The Impacts of Family Treatment Drug Court on Child Welfare Core Outcomes: A Meta-analysis

Authors: Saijun Zhang, Hui Huang, Qi Wu, Yong Li, Meirong Liu
Journal: Child Abuse & Neglect

Background: Substance abuse has been prevalent among caregivers involved in child welfare and is a major barrier to their achieving favorable outcomes. Family Treatment Drug Courts (FTDCs) have been viewed as one of the most promising interventions but research has reported mixed effects on child welfare outcomes. No meta-analysis was conducted to synthesize the findings to reach a more generalizable conclusion.


Objective: The meta-analysis synthesized findings from existing evaluations to examine whether and to what extent FTDC participants achieved better reunification and safety outcomes than non-participants. Participants and Setting: Among 17 identified studies dated from 2004 to 2018, the pooled sample subjects in the intervention and comparison groups were 3402 and 3683 for the 16 studies on reunification outcomes, and 842 and 632 for the eight studies on child safety outcomes.


Methods: We first estimated the FTDCs’ pooled effects on child reunification and safety outcomes. Furthermore, we conducted a series of subgroup meta-analysis to compare FTDCs’ effects across study and program characteristics.


Results: Subjects participating in FTDCs were substantially more likely to achieve reunification (OR = 1.75, 95% CI = 1.38, 2.22) without increasing the risk of subsequent foster care reentry or maltreatment re-report. Subgroup meta-analysis suggests factors such as research design, FTDC model, observation length, publication type and period may contribute to FTDCs’ disparities on reunification outcomes.


Conclusions: The synthesized findings strengthen evidence for the implementation and expansion of FTDCs for serving substance abusing caregivers in the child welfare system.


Zhang, S., Huang, H., Wu, Q., Li, Y., & Liu, M. (2019). The impacts of family treatment drug court on child welfare core outcomes: A meta-analysis. Child Abuse & Neglect, 88, 1–14.

Keywords: caregiver substance abuse treatment, family treatment drug court, foster care reentry, maltreatment recurrence, meta-analysis, reunification


Family Drug Courts: Conceptual Frameworks, Empirical Evidence, and Implications for Social Work

Author: Margaret H. Lloyd
Journal: Families in Society

Families in the child welfare system who are affected by substance abuse face distinct challenges to achieving reunification. Family drug courts (FDCs), which are child welfare courts based on a therapeutic framework of legal scholarship, arose 2 decades ago as an alternative approach for adjudicating these cases. A comprehensive review of prior empirical research on FDCs is presented to ascertain whether the model is a best practice for this population. The results of this review suggest that children in families that are involved in FDCs spend less time in foster care and are more likely to achieve reunification. This analysis incorporates findings from qualitative literature and undertakes methodological and values-based critiques in order to develop implications for social work research, practice, and policy.


Lloyd, M. H. (2015). Family Drug Courts: Conceptual Frameworks, Empirical Evidence, and Implications for Social Work. Families in Society, 96(1), 49–57.



Key Linkages Between Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Treatment: Social Functioning Improvements and Client Satisfaction in a Family Drug Treatment Court

Authors: Valerie Bryan, Jennifer Havens
Journal: Family Court Review

This article summarizes early findings regarding social functioning and client satisfaction from a longitudinal study of women receiving treatment in a family drug treatment court located in the Midwestern United States (N= 33). Drug treatment court participants were interviewed at program entry and when they had completed 6 months of treatment. Family drug court participants reported significant improvements in employment status and increases in earned income after 6 months of treatment. Respondents also reported improved social functioning and high overall levels of satisfaction with treatment. Findings and implications for future research are discussed.


Bryan, V., & Havens, J. (2008). Key Linkages Between Child Welfare and Substance Abuse Treatment: Social Functioning Improvements and Client Satisfaction in a Family Drug Treatment Court. Family Court Review, 46(1), 151–162.

Keywords: court-ordered treatment, family drug court, family reunification, parental substance abuse, substance abuse treatment


Show Me the Money: Child Welfare Cost Savings of a Family Drug Court

Authors: Scott W.M. Burrus, Juliette R. Mackin, Michael W. Finigan
Journal: Family Court Review

Family drug courts are programs that serve the complex needs of families involved with the child welfare system due to parental substance abuse. This article summarizes the results of outcomes and selected costs of a system-wide reform located in Baltimore, Maryland. Results from this study found that parents served by the program entered treatment faster, stayed in treatment longer, and completed treatment more often than non-served parents. Children in program families spent less time in foster care and were more likely to be reunified with their biological parents. These outcomes resulted in cost savings, including reduced foster care expenditures.


Burrus, S. W. M., Mackin, J. R., & Finigan, M. W. (2011). Show Me the Money: Child Welfare Cost Savings of a Family Drug Court. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 62(3), 1–14.



Tensions and Contradictions in Family Court Innovation with High Risk Parents: The Place of Family Drug Treatment Courts in Contemporary Family Justice

Authors: Judith Harwin, Karen Broadhurst, Caroline Cooper, Stephanie Taplin
Journal: International Journal of Drug Policy

Parental substance misuse is a leading factor in child abuse and neglect and frequently results in court-mandated permanent child removal. Family drug treatment courts, which originated in the USA and are only found in adversarial family justice systems, are a radical innovation to tackle this problem. Unlike ordinary court, they treat parents within the court arena as well as adjudicating, and in this way they seek to draw a new balance between parental needs and the child’s right to timely permanency. Family drug treatment courts have spread to England, Australia and Northern Ireland and international research has found they have higher rates of parental substance misuse cessation and family reunification and lower foster care costs than ordinary courts. Yet their growth has been far from straightforward. In the USA they have not kept pace with the rise of criminal drug treatment courts and in England and Australia their numbers remain small. The central purpose of this article is to explore why the family drug treatment movement has not achieved wider impact and to consider opportunities and challenges for its future development. To address these questions we draw on evidence and experience from the USA, England and Australia. We discuss the operational challenges, tensions between children’s needs for stability and parental timescales for recovery, the impact of wider economic and political change, and issues in data evaluation. We conclude that despite the promise of family drug treatment courts as a new paradigm to address risky parenting, effecting systemic change in the courts is extremely difficult.


Harwin, J., Broadhurst, K., Cooper, C., & Taplin, S. (2019). Tensions and contradictions in family court innovation with high risk parents: The place of family drug treatment courts in contemporary family justice. International Journal of Drug Policy, 68, 101–108.

Keywords: child protection, court reform, family drug treatment courts, neglect and abuse, parental substance misuse


Therapeutically (Un)Just Interactions in Family Court Proceedings

Author: Cindy Brooks Dollar
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

Court systems have a unique and powerful impact on the lives of persons who enter into them. In recognition of some of the deleterious effects of traditional court models, scholars and practitioners advocate for alternative court processes, especially through the implementation of specialty courts. Family court is a type of specialized court, which handles legal disputes among family members. The stated mission of family courts reflects notions of therapeutic jurisprudence; however, scarce research examines if therapeutic jurisprudence is actually practiced in family court settings. Using 12 months of observational data of over 100 hearings, the present study assesses the extent to which principles of therapeutic jurisprudence are apparent in court proceedings. I find that although therapeutically just interactions are common in family court, some encounters remain antitherapeutic or damaging. The implication of family court’s current operation within the broader “justice” system is discussed.


Dollar, C. B. (2020). Therapeutically (Un)Just Interactions in Family Court Proceedings. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 31(2), 262–286.

Keywords: family court, problem-solving courts, specialty court, therapeutic jurisprudence


The Experiences of Young Adult Offenders Who Completed a Drug Court Treatment Program

Authors: Kathleen A. Moore, Melissa M. Barongi, Khary K. Rigg
Journal: Qualitative Health Research

Although there has been a proliferation of studies on the effectiveness of drug court programs, these studies are largely quantitative in nature. Little is known about the experiences of persons who participate in drug court. In this study, we aimed to fill this knowledge gap by exploring experiences of young adults who completed an adult drug court treatment program. Nine semi-structured interviews were conducted, typed into a word-processing program, and then entered into a data analysis software program. Using grounded theory strategies, analysis revealed several emergent themes, which are presented chronologically to provide a narrative of study participants’ experiences before, during, and after the program. Findings provide insights on how participants perceive drug courts and experiences that might facilitate or impede completion of drug court programs. Our findings are particularly important for drug court professionals as they attempt to develop appropriate recommendations for best practices and new policy initiatives.


Moore, K. A., Barongi, M. M., & Rigg, K. K. (2017). The Experiences of Young Adult Offenders Who Completed a Drug Court Treatment Program. Qualitative Health Research, 27(5), 750–758.

Keywords: Pinellas County Adult Drug Court, qualitative methods, substance use


The Effectiveness of Drug Court Programming for Specific Kinds of Offenders: Methamphetamine and DWI Offenders Versus Other Drug-Involved Offenders

Authors: Jeffrey A. Bouffard, Katie A. Richardson
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

Numerous evaluations have documented that drug court programs can and do work (Belenko, 1998, 1999, 2001; Gottfredson, Najaka, however, to date, less attention has been paid to specific issues such as how well drug courts work for certain types of offenders. In particular, there has been a lack of attention paid to the personal characteristics that may be thought of as ?risk factors? among participants, especially their drug of choice. Of particular interest in this study are the following questions: First, are drug courts equally effective for offenders charged with methamphetamine-related crimes versus other types of drug offenders? Second, is the drug court model equally effective for offenders charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) compared to other types of drug-involved offenders? Data from a hybrid drug court operating in a small urban area in the upper Midwest was used to examine the above questions. Information on 87 individuals who had participated in this drug court program and 124 similar offenders who were sentenced to prison followed by traditional parole were analyzed. Results indicated that the drug court reduced recidivism for methamphetamine-involved and other types of drug-using offenders; however, among DWI offenders, drug court graduation was not related to reduced recidivism, as it was among non-DWI offenders. Implications for drug court programming and future research are discussed.


Bouffard, J. A., & Richardson, K. A. (2007). The Effectiveness of Drug Court Programming for Specific Kinds of Offenders: Methamphetamine and DWI Offenders Versus Other Drug-Involved Offenders. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 18(3), 274–293.

Keywords: driving while intoxicated, drug courts, methamphetamine


The Epidemiology of Psychiatric Disorders among Repeat DUI Offenders Accepting a Treatment-Sentencing Option

Authors: Jeffrey A. Bouffard, Katie A. Richardson
Journal: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

Psychiatric comorbidity likely contributes to driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol among repeat offenders. This study presents one of the first descriptions of the prevalence and comorbidity of psychiatric disorders among repeat DUI offenders in treatment. Participants included all consenting eligible admissions (N ϭ 729) to a 2-week inpatient treatment facility for court-sentenced repeat DUI offenders (i.e., offenders electing treatment in place of prison time) from April 17, 2005, to April 23, 2006. Participants completed the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, which assessed the following disorders using criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; American Psychiatric Association, 1994): alcohol use and drug use, bipolar, generalized anxiety, posttraumatic stress, intermittent explosive conduct, attention deficit, nicotine dependence, pathological gambling, and major depressive. Repeat DUI offenders evidenced higher lifetime and 12-month prevalence of alcohol use and drug use disorders, conduct disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder compared with the general population. Almost half qualified for lifetime diagnoses of both addiction (i.e., alcohol, drug, nicotine, and/or gambling) and a psychiatric disorder. Lifetime and past-year comorbidity rates were higher among participants than in the general population. These results suggest that clinicians should consider multimorbidity within DUI treatment protocols.


Shaffer, H. J., Nelson, S. E., LaPlante, D. A., LaBrie, R. A., Albanese, M., & Caro, G. (2007). The epidemiology of psychiatric disorders among repeat DUI offenders accepting a treatment-sentencing option. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(5), 795–804.

Keywords: alcohol abuse, comorbidity, driving under the influence, epidemiology


Moving beyond BAC in DUI: Identifying Who Is at Risk of Recidivating

Authors: Karen L. Dugosh, David S. Festinger, Douglas B. Marlowe
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy


Dugosh, K. L., Festinger, D. S., & Marlowe, D. B. (2013). Moving beyond BAC in DUI: Identifying Who is at Risk of Recidivating. Criminology & Public Policy, 12(2), 181–193.



On Classifying Driving-While-Intoxicated Offenders: the Experiences of a Citywide DWI Drug Court

Authors: L. Thomas Winfree, Jr., Dennis M. Giever
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice

In 1995, Municipal Court Judge Stephen Ryan initiated one of the nation’s first drug courts specifically designed for alcoholic driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) offenders in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Beginning in January 1997, Judge Ryan allowed researchers unrestricted access to defendants in this court. The researchers collected survey data from three primary groups of convicted DWI offenders. Each group was created by the court’s classification staff: (1) nonalcoholic first- and second-time DWI offenders, (2) alcoholic first- and second-time DWI offenders, and (3) chronic three-time (or more) DWI offenders. This exploratory study addressed a single question: How different are the personal characteristics, crime histories, and attitudes of the three offender groups? The analysis revealed that the three groups were different in ways that were expected, given their different levels of formal justice system processing, and ways that could prove troubling for public policy analysts and practitioners.


Winfree, L. T., & Giever, D. M. (2000). On classifying driving-while-intoxicated offenders The experiences of a citywide DWI drug court. Journal of Criminal Justice, 28(1), 13–21.



Positive Experiences Among DUI Offenders in Court-Mandated Substance Abuse Treatment

Author: Katarzyna Blanka Pilewicz
Journal: Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and other drugs puts communities’ and individuals’ safety at tremendous risk. The excessive use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and/or some prescribed medications causes cognitive impairment and the physical incapability of operating a vehicle. The court system penalizes drunken driving behaviors by placing DUI offenders in a variety of mandated interventions to minimize the risk of reoffense. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore DUI offenders’ positive experiences and perceptions derived from DUI programs and how they impacted well-being and commitment to positive change using Seligman’s well-being theory as a conceptual framework. In-depth, face-to-face interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 11 DUI offenders participating in court-mandated treatment in a northern U.S. state. The interviews were manually transcribed and then coded for themes using a typology classification system based on key terms, word repetitions, and metaphors. The findings highlighted positive consequences and outcomes resulted from DUI arrest including resilience, engagement in treatment, and well-being. The findings of this study could be useful because addiction professionals might incorporate concepts related to positive psychology into the addiction treatment. The issues described by the participants may be used to enrich the quality of existing DUI interventions with the promotion of positive factors supporting health, thus shifting existing negative focus on disease, weakness, and damage into positive interventions based on strengths and virtues.


Pilewicz, K. B. (2019). Positive Experiences Among DUI Offenders in Court-Mandated Substance Abuse Treatment. Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies, 137.



Punishment and Alcohol Problems: Recidivism among Drinking-Driving Offenders

Author: Jiang Yu
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice

The degree to which punishment reduces criminal recidivism has been extensively studied, though few efforts have examined the extent to which sanctions are effective for offenders whose criminal behaviors are a result of their alcohol and substance abuse problems. This study was conducted under the hypothesis that the effect of alcohol problems and the effect of sanctions tend to negate each other. Sanctions reduce the chance of repeat drinking-driving offenses, while severe alcohol problems increase such chances. Analysis based on a sample of 521 persons who had prior arrests for drinking-driving offenses indicated that offenders’ alcohol problems are the strongest predictor of future recidivism. When alcohol problems were controlled for, punitive sanctions did not significantly decrease the chance of recidivism. Findings suggest that carefully screening drinking-driving offenders’ alcohol-related problems and providing effective treatment to those offenders who are in need of such services, constitute critical strategies to reduce drinking-driving recidivism. Similar strategies should be applied to offenders who committed alcohol/drug-related offenses other than drinking-driving.


Yu, J. (2000). Punishment and alcohol problems Recidivism among drinking-driving offenders. Journal of Criminal Justice, 10.



Testing the Gender Effect in Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Women’s Participation in Tulsa County Drug and DUI Programs

Authors: Bin Liang, Michael A. Long
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues

Though research on drug and driving under the influence (DUI) courts increased significantly in the past two decades, very little has focused on women’s participation in these programs and how gender may have influenced clients’ performance, despite the call of feminist criminologists that entry into crime and substance abuse is different for women. Based on data collected from Tulsa County DUI and Drug programs in Oklahoma, this study examines the impact of gender on clients’ performance in both programs. In addition to identifying associations between clients’ gender and demographics, criminal history, addiction problems, and other medical and mental health problems, this study explores gender’s impact on both program progress (e.g., program length, use of sanctions, relapse) and final outcome (termination vs. graduation). Data show that different factors are associated with female entry into drug and DUI courts and successful completion of the program compared with men, which calls for gender tailored treatment for women.


Liang, B., & Long, M. A. (2013). Testing the Gender Effect in Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Women’s Participation in Tulsa County Drug and DUI Programs. Journal of Drug Issues, 43(3), 270–288.

Keywords: addiction, DUI/drug program, gender, treatment, women


Unraveling the Complexity of Driving while Intoxicated: A Study into the Prevalence of Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Comorbidity

Authors: James Freeman, Jane Carlisle Maxwell, Jeremy Davey
Journal: Accident Analysis & Prevention

Objective: Research is beginning to provide an indication of the co-occurring substance abuse and mental health needs for the driving under the influence (DUI) population. This study aimed to examine the extent of such psychiatric problems among a large sample size of DUI offenders entering treatment in Texas.


Methods: This is a study of 36,373 past year DUI clients and 308,714 non-past year DUI clients admitted to Texas treatment programs between 2005 and 2008. Data were obtained from the State’s administrative dataset.


Results: Analysis indicated that non-past year DUI clients were more likely to present with more severe illicit substance use problems, while past year DUI clients were more likely to have a primary problem with alcohol. Nevertheless, a cannabis use problem was also found to be significantly associated with DUI recidivism in the last year. In regards to mental health status, a major finding was that depression was the most common psychiatric condition reported by DUI clients, including those with more than one DUI offence in the past year. This cohort also reported elevated levels of Bipolar Disorder compared to the general population, and such a diagnosis was also associated with an increased likelihood of not completing treatment. Additionally, female clients were more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems than males, as well as more likely to be placed on medications at admission and more likely to have problems with methamphetamine, cocaine, and opiates.


Conclusions: DUI offenders are at an increased risk of experiencing comorbid psychiatric disorders, and thus, corresponding treatment programs need to cater for a range of mental health concerns that are likely to affect recidivism rates.


Freeman, J., Maxwell, J. C., & Davey, J. (2011). Unraveling the complexity of driving while intoxicated: A study into the prevalence of psychiatric and substance abuse comorbidity. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 43(1), 34–39.

Keywords: DUI, psychiatric co-morbidity, substance abuse


Using Behavioral Triage in Court-Supervised Treatment of DUI Offenders

Authors: Shannon M. Carey, Theresa Herrera Allen, Eric L. Einspruch, Juliette R. Mackin, Douglas Marlowe
Journal: Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly

In 2008, San Joaquin County, California, implemented a system change where all repeat Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenders in the largest judicial district (mainly the City of Stockton) are required to participate in a DUI Monitoring Court program. The program follows a behavioral triage system where offenders are placed into one of two tracks. Track 1 (monitoring) is a less intensive system where participants are required to come to court infrequently to report on progress in completing the terms of their probation, including Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) requirements, to qualify to get their license returned. Track 2 is for participants who demonstrate through their behavior (i.e., behavioral triage) that they are unable to comply with Track 1 requirements and who are assessed as needing drug and alcohol treatment. Track 2 follows a drug court model. All repeat DUI offenders convicted after 2008 (i.e., program participants) and a comparison group of all repeat DUI offenders convicted in the 2 years prior to program implementation were tracked for 18 months from the time of their DUI conviction. DMV data were used to examine new DUI convictions and traffic accidents for both groups. The results showed that program participants had significantly fewer new DUI convictions, accidents related to drug and alcohol consumption, and accidents resulting in injury. Participants were also significantly more likely to comply with court, probation, and DMV requirements, and to regain their driver’s licenses. The model implemented by the San Joaquin DUI Monitoring Court showed substantial promise for increasing public safety by reducing drunk driving and traffic accidents.


Carey, S. M., Allen, T. H., Einspruch, E. L., Mackin, J. R., & Marlowe, D. (2015). Using Behavioral Triage in Court-Supervised Treatment of DUI Offenders. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 33(1), 44–63.

Keywords: behavioral triage, drug treatment, drunk driving, DUI offenders, DWI, repeat offenders, stepped care


What Works (or Doesn’t) in a DUI Court? An Example of Expedited Case Processing

Authors: Jeffrey A. Bouffard, Leana A. Bouffard
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice

Purpose: A number of policy efforts have aimed to reduce drunk driving, including deterrence-based policies and specialized treatment courts. This study examines the impact of expedited court processing on the county-wide rate of DUI offenses. It also examines the links between sanction swiftness, certainty, and severity and changes in DUI rates over time.


Methods: This study uses interrupted time series analysis to assess changes in DUI rates in one county over a time period including the introduction of a full-coverage, expedited court docket for DUI. Additionally, the three components of deterrence were examined.


Result: Findings reveal that the program implementation corresponded with a lower rate of DUI case filings, but not with a general reduction in alcohol-involved collisions in the county. Additionally, only sanction swiftness improved over time, while certainty remained stable and severity declined.


Conclusions: Results indicate that the introduction of the expedited court docket does not appear to have produced a deterrent effect on DUI. It may be that DUI offenders require more than expedited processing to overcome the issues that precipitate their offending. Future research and policy should explore both the impact of swiftness of punishment and the provision of appropriate treatment services in addressing DUI offending.


Bouffard, J. A., & Bouffard, L. A. (2011). What works (or doesn’t) in a DUI court? An example of expedited case processing. Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(4), 320–328.



Addiction and Sociality: Perspectives from Methamphetamine Users in Suburban USA

Authors: Paul Boshears, Miriam Boeri, Liam Harbry
Journal: Addiction Research & Theory


Boshears, P., Boeri, M., & Harbry, L. (2011). Addiction and sociality: Perspectives from methamphetamine users in suburban USA. Addiction Research & Theory, 19(4), 289–301.



Alternative Courts and Drug Treatment: Finding a Rehabilitative Solution for Addicts in a Retributive System

Author: Molly K. Webster
Journal: Fordham Law Review

Sentencing drug crimes and treating drug-addicted defendants often stem from contradictory theories of punishment. In the late twentieth century, courts traded rehabilitation for retributive ideals to fight the “War on Drugs.” However, beginning with the Miami-Dade Drug Court, treatment and rehabilitation have returned to the forefront of sentencing policy in traditional and alternative drug courts. Jurisdictions have implemented a variety of policies designed to treat addiction as opposed to punishing it. Community courts, such as the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn, New York, community-panel drug courts, such as the Woodbury County Community Drug Court in Iowa, and Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement represent efforts to address treatment within the court system. This Note argues that certain policies are more likely to benefit drug-addicted defendants than others, including procedural justice, predictable sanctions, and an increased focus on treatment. It also posits that qualitative studies measuring long-term success of drug treatment programs should be commissioned to ensure that drug courts utilize the most effective treatment policies that promote rehabilitative ideals.


Webster, M. K. (2015). Alternative Courts and Drug Treatment: Finding a Rehabilitative Solution for Addicts in a Retributive System. Fordham Law Review, 84(2).



An Evaluation of Successful Program Completions across Types of Problem-Solving Courts

Author: Kimberly Kaiser
Journal: Justice Evaluation Journal

Variations of problem-solving court programs have been created to address a wide variety of offense-related problems, such as drug addiction, mental health, domestic violence, homelessness, and many others. Yet there is little knowledge as to whether this model is equally effective across these many versions of the model. This study uses data from the 2012 Census of Problem-Solving Courts to assess whether there is variation in the proportion of successful program completions across program types. Additionally, this study examined what program-level characteristics are associated with increased successful program completions. The findings of this study suggest that, while there is some variation in program success across program types, there is also substantial variation within types of programs. That is, not one type of problem-solving court program is more effective than any other. The results of this study also found that the programs that offer a larger variety of services are likely to have higher levels of successful program completions. Future research should follow these preliminary findings by examining variations in other outcomes measures of success.


Kaiser, K. (2020). An Evaluation of Successful Program Completions across Types of Problem-Solving Courts. Justice Evaluation Journal, 3(1), 54–68.

Keywords: drug court, mental health court, problem-solving courts, program evaluation, veteran court


Beyond Crime and Drug Use: Do Adult Drug Courts Produce Other Psychosocial Benefits?

Authors: Mia Green, Michael Rempel
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues

An extensive body of research indicates that adult drug courts reduce reoffending, whereas a more limited number of studies point to reductions in drug use as well. However, barely any research examines whether these programs produce benefits in other areas, including socioeconomic well-being, family relationships, mental health, and homelessness. To fill this important gap, findings are presented from a quasi-experimental study of 1,156 drug court participants from 23 sites and 625 comparison offenders from 6 sites where drug courts are unavailable. Six-month follow-up interviews were conducted with 1,533 offenders (86%) and 18-month interviews with 1,474 (83%) offenders. Findings indicate that drug courts produced modest positive effects (though many were not statistically significant) across a range of socioeconomic outcomes. Findings also indicate that drug courts reduced family conflict. However, significant effects were not evident with respect to emotional or instrumental support from family members, mental health, or homelessness.


Green, M., & Rempel, M. (2012). Beyond Crime and Drug Use: Do Adult Drug Courts Produce Other Psychosocial Benefits? Journal of Drug Issues, 42(2), 156–177.

Keywords: drug court, family, multi-site, socioeconomic


Methamphetamine Using Careers of White and Black Women

Authors: Kent R. Kerley, Lindsay Leban, Heith Copes, Leah Taylor, Christine Agnone
Journal: Deviant Behavior

From current arrest data, as well as scholarly research, it appears that methamphetamine (meth) is generally considered a ‘‘white drug.’’ Although most meth users are white, a nontrivial percentage is black. In this study we explore racial differences in the drug careers of women meth users. Specifically, we use in-depth interviews with 13 black and 17 white former meth users to determine if there are differences in the initiation into, persistence with, and desistance from use. From these interviews we observe racial differences in terms of how the women were introduced to meth, the way they experienced the high, how they procured the drug, their access to the drug, and the length of their drug careers. We find that the deviant careers for white and black meth users are similar in many ways, but various social and structural barriers to meth use among black women made their careers shorter and distinct compared to white users.


Kerley, K. R., Leban, L., Copes, H., Taylor, L., & Agnone, C. (2014). Methamphetamine Using Careers of White and Black Women. Deviant Behavior, 35(6), 477–495.



Narratives of Methamphetamine Abuse: A Qualitative Exploration of Social, Psychological, and Emotional Experiences

Authors: Ann M. O’Brien, Mary-Lynn Brecht, Conerly Casey
Journal: Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions

Clinicians are increasingly confronted with treating the dramatically growing numbers of methamphetamine (MA) abusers. However, scant research documents the internal experience of MA abuse. This study uses data from ethnographic interviews to describe the development of MA abuse across users’ lives. Results show drug initiation emerging from abuse during childhood and parental drug abuse. Respondents entered drug-using peer groups that paradoxically offer both protection from and vulnerability to violence and other problems. Consequences of MA abuse include economic instability and concern with only the acquisition and use of MA, instead of MA-related problems. Understandings of “problematic” drug use emerge as respondents stigmatize users who lack basic resources and hurt others for the sake of money or drugs, and parents whose use interferes with parenting. Respondents describe barriers and alternatives to treatment. Results provide insight into the experience of MA abuse. Theoretical considerations and implications are discussed.


O’Brien, A. M., Brecht, M.-L., & Casey, C. (2008). Narratives of Methamphetamine Abuse: A Qualitative Exploration of Social, Psychological, and Emotional Experiences. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 8(3), 343–366.

Keywords: affective memory, child abuse, crime, methamphetamine abuse, political economy, qualitative study, self-reliance, violence


Predicting Drug Court Outcome Among Amphetamine-using Participants

Authors: Lora J. Wu, Sandra J. Altshuler, Robert A. Short, John M. Roll
Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

Amphetamine use and abuse carry with it substantial social costs. Although there is a perception that amphetamine users are more difficult to treat than other substance users, drug courts have been used to effectively address drug-related crimes and hold the potential to lessen the impact of amphetamine abuse through efficacious treatment and rehabilitation. The objective of this study was to identify predictors of drug court outcome among amphetamine-using participants. A drug court database was obtained (N = 540) and amphetamine-using participants (n = 341) identified. Multivariate binary regression models run for the amphetamine-using participants identified being employed and being a parent as predictive of successful completion of the program, whereas being sanctioned to jail during the program was inversely related to program completion.


Wu, L. J., Altshuler, S. J., Short, R. A., & Roll, J. M. (2012). Predicting drug court outcome among amphetamine-using participants. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 42(4), 373–382.

Keywords: amphetamine, drug court, employment, methamphetamine, parent


Race, Neighborhood, and Drug Court Graduation

Author: Daniel Howard
Journal: Justice Quarterly

This research examines the possibility that racial disparities in drug court graduation are attributable to individual-level employment or education or to neighborhood-level disadvantage. Individual-level data on 455 drug court clients and neighborhood-level census and police incident data are joined geographically. Drug court graduation is modeled using multilevel logistic regression. In a model with no neighborhood-level indicators, client race, employment, and education all predicted drug court graduation. When neighborhood-level variables are introduced, client-level race drops from significance but employment and education remain significant predictors of graduation. Client race, then, appears to be an indirect indicator of neighborhood disadvantage, while client employment and education remain important individual-level predictors of drug court graduation. These results support further analysis of neighborhood-based barriers to drug court graduation and the development of drug court programming that can address neighborhood-based challenges.


Howard, D. (2014). Race, Neighborhood, and Drug Court Graduation. Justice Quarterly, 33(1), 159–184.

Keywords: drug court, neighborhood, race


Sanctions and Rewards in Drug Court Programs: Implementation, Perceived Efficacy, and Decision Making

Authors: Christine H. Lindquist, Ph.D., Christopher P. Krebs, Ph.D., Pamela K. Lattimore, Ph.D. Pamela K. Lattimore, Ph.D.
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues

A key component of drug courts is the use of graduated sanctions and rewards to encourage compliance; however, little is known about how such systems are actually implemented. The current paper documents the specific behaviors that are sanctioned and rewarded and the sanctions and rewards used, perceptions of the rewards, participants’ understanding of the sanctioning system, and the decision-making process regarding sanctioning in five judicial circuits in Florida. Using qualitative data gathered from interviews with 86 key stakeholders and analyzed using NUD*IST software, we conducted comparisons between drug courts and traditional courts as well as by respondent role (staff vs. offender). Our main findings are that (1) many more sanctions were used and more behaviors were identified as being likely to result in a sanction in drug courts compared to traditional courts, (2) the sanctions used in drug courts were more treatment oriented than in traditional courts, and (3) the drug courts appeared to emphasize tailoring the sanction to the individual participant rather than applying sanctions in a standardized manner.


Lindquist, C. H., Krebs, C. P., & Lattimore, P. K. (2006). Sanctions and Rewards in Drug Court Programs: Implementation, Perceived Efficacy, and Decision Making. Journal of Drug Issues, 36(1), 119–144.



Re-creating a Vision of Motherhood: Therapeutic Drug Court and the Narrative

Authors: Roxanne Vandermause, Billie Severtsen, John Roll
Journal: Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice

The experience of mothering for women recovering from drug abuse in the criminal justice system is a serious issue. This article describes a study nested in a multi-method community participatory project to improve the services of the Therapeutic Drug Court (TDC) for citizens in our community. Interviews with felonious female offenders with minor children completing a TDC and mental health associates who work with them were analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological approach in the Heideggerian tradition. Findings revealed that mothers could reclaim a vision of parenting with or without their children, with help. This article shows how this reclamation occurs.


Vandermause, R., Severtsen, B., & Roll, J. (2013). Re-creating a vision of motherhood: Therapeutic Drug Court and the narrative. Qualitative Social Work: Research and Practice, 12(5), 620–636.

Keywords: hermeneutics, mental health, phenomenology, substance abuse, women


Successful Completion: An Examination of Factors Influencing Drug Court Completion for White and Non-White Male Participants

Authors: Dr. Kristen E. DeVall, Dr. Christina L. Lanier
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse

This research examines the influence of demographic and legal factors on the successful completion of the Seahawk Drug Treatment Court Program for White and Non-White male participants. Located in a medium-size city, the program targets male felony offenders and has been in operation for more than 10 years. The research sample is comprised of 526 participants with a program disposition between January 1, 2005 and September 30, 2010. Using race-specific logistic regression models, results reveal both similarities and differences among these groups. The implications and limitations of this research are discussed, as well as avenues for future research.


DeVall, K. E., & Lanier, C. L. (2012). Successful Completion: An Examination of Factors Influencing Drug Court Completion for White and Non-White Male Participants. Substance Use & Misuse47(10), 1106–1116.

Keywords: drug courts, drug of choice, employment, race/ethnicity


An Evaluation of Three Driving-Under-the-Influence Courts in Georgia

Authors: James C. Fell, A. Scott Tippetts, J. DeCarlo Ciccel
Journal: Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine Annual Conference

Following the model of Drug Courts, three Georgia Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) Courts (established in Chatham, Clarke, and Hall Counties in 2003) were designed to address the underlying alcohol problems of repeat DUI offenders through continuous and frequent judicially supervised treatment, periodic alcohol and other drug testing, the use of graduated sanctions, and other appropriate rehabilitative services. A team comprised of a judge, court personnel, probation officials, and treatment providers met regularly to assess offender progress, and offenders met biweekly with the judge to report their progress. An impact evaluation showed after 4 years of exposure that when the DUI Court graduates were combined with the DUI Court terminated offenders (Intent to Treat Group), the DUI Court offenders had significantly lower recidivism rates: 38 percent lower than a Contemporary Group of offenders and 65 percent lower than a Retrospective Group of offenders. The DUI Court Intent to Treat Group had a significantly lower recidivism rate: 15 percent compared to 24 percent for a group of matched offenders from three similar counties in Georgia (Contemporary Group) and a 35 percent rate for matched offenders from the same counties as the DUI Court who would have been eligible for the DUI Court had it been in existence (Retrospective Group). Offenders who were terminated from the DUI Courts for various reasons had a recidivism rate of 26 percent. It is estimated that the DUI Courts prevented between 47 and 112 repeat arrests during a four year period due to the reduced recidivism associated with them.


Fell, J. C., Tippetts, A. S., & Ciccel, J. D. (2011). An Evaluation of Three Driving-Under-the-Influence Courts in Georgia. Annals of Advances in Automotive Medicine Annual Conference55, 301–312.



Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol: Frequency, Reasons, Perceived Risk and Punishment

Authors: Francisco Alonso, Juan Carlos Pastor, Luis Montoro, Cristina Esteban
Journal: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

Background: The aim of this study was to gain information useful to improve traffic safety, concerning the following aspects for DUI (Driving Under the Influence): frequency, reasons, perceived risk, drivers’ knowledge of the related penalties, perceived likelihood of being punished, drivers’ perception of the harshness of punitive measures and drivers’ perception of the probability of behavioral change after punishment for DUI.


Methods: A sample of 1100 Spanish drivers, 678 men and 422 women aged from 14 to 65 years old, took part in a telephone survey using a questionnaire to gather sociodemographic and psychosocial information about drivers, as well as information on enforcement, clustered in five related categories: “Knowledge and perception of traffic norms”; “Opinions on sanctions”; “Opinions on policing”; “Opinions on laws” (in general and on traffic); and “Assessment of the effectiveness of various punitive measures”. Results: Results showed around 60% of respondents believe that driving under the influence of alcohol is maximum risk behavior. Nevertheless, 90.2% of the sample said they never or almost never drove under the influence of alcohol. In this case, the main reasons were to avoid accidents (28.3%) as opposed to avoiding sanctions (10.4%). On the contrary, the remaining 9.7% acknowledged they had driven after consuming alcohol. It is noted that the main reasons for doing so were “not having another way to return home” (24.5%) and alcohol consumption being associated with meals (17.3%). Another important finding is that the risk perception of traffic accident as a result of DUI is influenced by variables such as sex and age. With regard to the type of sanctions, 90% think that DUI is punishable by a fine, 96.4% that it may result in temporary or permanent suspension of driving license, and 70% that it can be punished with imprisonment.


Conclusions: Knowing how alcohol consumption impairs safe driving and skills, being aware of the associated risks, knowing the traffic regulations concerning DUI, and penalizing it strongly are not enough. Additional efforts are needed to better manage a problem with such important social and practical consequences.


Alonso, F., Pastor, J. C., Montoro, L., & Esteban, C. (2015). Driving under the influence of alcohol: Frequency, reasons, perceived risk and punishment. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy10(1), 11.

Keywords: alcohol, driving, driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, road safety


Drunk Drivers, DWI “Drug Court” Treatment, and Recidivism: Who Fails?

Authors: James F. Breckenridge, L. Thomas Winfree, Jr., James R. Maupin, Dennis L. Clason
Journal: Justice Research and Policy

We conducted an evaluation of an experimental Driving-While-Intoxicated (DWI) Drug Court treatment program operated by a single municipal court. Specially trained court personnel assessed first-time (and, as we found out, some second-time) DWI offenders for symptoms of alcoholism. Once court personnel reached a clinical determination that an individual was an alcoholic, research team members randomly assigned that person to either the treatment program or to a control group receiving normal municipal court processing. A third group consisted of a like number of randomly selected, nonalcoholic, first-time offenders. The conviction records of all three groups were tracked for up to 24 months following the initial DWI conviction. We found significantly fewer alcohol-related and other serious crime reconvictions for the nonalcoholic group. Among those determined to be alcoholic, the treatment group had significantly fewer reconvictions than the control group. We address the implications and limitations of our findings for similar experimental studies in criminal justice and for DWI Drug Court treatment programs.


Breckenridge, J. F., Winfree, L. T., Maupin, J. R., & Clason, D. L. (2000). Drunk Drivers, DWI “Drug Court” Treatment, and Recidivism: Who Fails? Justice Research and Policy2(1), 87–105.



DUI Offenders’ Beliefs About DUI Statutes and DUI Law Enforcement: Implications for Deterrence

Authors: Marianne Goodfellow, Catharine Kilgore
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues

Development of a profile of those who drink and drive is needed to more effectively deter this behavior. Using data from the 2001 NSDDAB (National Survey of Drinking and Driving Attitudes and Behavior), Bertelli and Richardson found that the existence of DUI (driving under the influence) statutes impacts only those least likely to drink and drive, while concern for the likelihood of arrest and individual agreement with the goals of drinking and driving laws significantly reduces propensity for almost everyone except the “extreme ‘hard core’ drinking drivers.” Using the same NSDDAB items, this study examined propensity to drink and drive for a sample of 58 offenders in a local DUI Court program. A majority of these known DUI offenders were problem drinkers. Results show that DUI offenders were not deterred by DUI statutes and perceptions of DUI law enforcement. Implications for deterrence theory and the legal legitimacy hypothesis are discussed.

Goodfellow, M., & Kilgore, C. (2014). DUI Offenders’ Beliefs About DUI Statutes and DUI Law Enforcement: Implications for Deterrence. Journal of Drug Issues44(3), 269–280.

Keywords: deterrence, DUI, propensity


First-time DWI Offenders are at Risk of Recidivating Regardless of Sanctions Imposed

Authors: Eileen M. Ahlin, Paul L. Zador, William J. Rauch, Jan M. Howard, G. Doug Duncan
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice

Objective: Research demonstrates that punitive approaches to DWI employed by the judiciary have failed to significantly reduce recidivism. However, little is known about the deterrent effects of administrative and diversion sanctions. We examine whether such sanctions deter first-time DWI offenders.


Methods: We grouped combinations of administrative, judicial, and diversion sanctions routinely employed in the state of Maryland for processing drivers arrested for DWI into one of eight mutually exclusive disposition sequences. We applied this classification to Maryland drivers who had been licensed in the state and had precisely one DWI on their record prior to January 1, 1999. We then used a proportional hazards model to estimate the probability of remaining free of a new DWI during a 6-year period (January 1, 1999 – December 31, 2004) as a function of the disposition of the index violation, and of selected factors that could affect that probability.


Results: Drivers with a prior DWI were at relatively high risk of recidivating regardless of how they were sanctioned. Those who received administrative and alternative sanctions had a risk of recidivating similar to that of drivers who were convicted.


Conclusion: All dispositions sequences, not just convictions, indicate that first-time DWI offenders are at high risk of recidivating.


Ahlin, E. M., Zador, P. L., Rauch, W. J., Howard, J. M., & Duncan, G. D. (2011). First-time DWI offenders are at risk of recidivating regardless of sanctions imposed. Journal of Criminal Justice39(2), 137–142.

Keywords: alcohol, arrest, DWI, first offenders, recidivism


Intended and Unintended Benefits of Specialty Courts: Results from a Texas DWI Court

Authors: Marcus Tyler Carey, Fei Luo
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation

Specialty courts are a popular alternative to traditional solutions for addicted offenders and a large body of research exists regarding the effectiveness of these courts. Specialty court effectiveness is contentious, but methods used to investigate it commonly focus on recidivism while neglecting other aspects of court performance. The major purposes of this study are to determine the correlates to court clients’ drinking behavior and to explore how specialty court programing can be beneficial to clients beyond impacts on recidivism. We examined 154 clients from a South Texas DWI court. Participants were interviewed by trained researchers during intake, 6-month follow up, and the time of completion/discharge. Findings indicate that life circumstances such as employment, mental issues, and military experience influenced clients’ tendency to drink. Further, client drinking and drug use were substantially reduced by the end of the program and clients reported committing less crime. Finally, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety were alleviated by the time of the program’s conclusion. The findings contribute to the literature by complimenting previous findings on the correlates of problem drinking and substantiating benefits of specialty courts that go beyond recidivism.

Carey, M., & Luo, F. (2020). Intended and unintended benefits of specialty courts: Results from a Texas DWI court. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation59, 1–20.

Keywords: alcohol, comorbidity, DWI, mental health, specialty courts


Is It Legal Representation or Clients? : An Empirical Testing of Clients’ Performance and Their Legal Representation in Tulsa County Drug and DUI Programs

Authors: Bin Liang, Michael A. Long, Wendy Brame
Journal: American Journal of Criminal Justice

The importance of legal representation to a criminal defendant is widely accepted, but the quality of government-provided counsels (particularly public defenders) has continuously been questioned. Based on data from Tulsa County DUI and Drug programs in Oklahoma, the authors tested the impact of legal representation (public defender versus private counsel) on clients’ performance in program, measured by plea terms and program outcome. Initial bivariate analyses showed disparate effect of legal representation, as clients represented by private counsels received better plea terms and fared better in program outcome. This effect, however, disappeared once other variables were controlled. Instead, factors closely related to the clients themselves (e.g., demographic features and their criminal behaviors) significantly impacted their program performance.


Liang, B., Long, M. A., & Brame, W. (2012). Is It Legal Representation or Clients? : An Empirical Testing of Clients’ Performance and Their Legal Representation in Tulsa County Drug and DUI Programs. American Journal of Criminal Justice37, 544–561.



Is the Drug Court Model Exportable? The Cost-Effectiveness of a Driving Under the Influence Court

Authors: Christine Eibner, Ph.D., Andrew R. Morral, Ph.D., Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Ph.D., John MacDonald, Ph.D.
Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

We assessed the cost-effectiveness of the Rio Hondo driving-under-the-influence (DUI) court, a therapeutic court intervention in Los Angeles County targeted to repeat DUI offenders. The effectiveness of this court intervention was determined through a randomized controlled field experiment. Although prior research does not identify differences in alcohol-related or criminal behavior between treated and control individuals at follow-up, we found improvements in behavior for all program participants regardless of treatment status. A cost-minimization analysis found that, on average, costs of the DUI court exceeded traditional court expenditures for second-time offenders but produced cost savings for third-time offenders. This suggests that implementing a DUI-specific court intervention for serious DUI recidivists is a worthwhile investment of public resources. The unique legal treatment of DUI offenders in California may hide additional cost savings that could be accrued in other jurisdictions through the adoption of DUI court programs.


Eibner, C., Morral, A. R., Pacula, R. L., & MacDonald, J. (2006). Is the drug court model exportable? The cost-effectiveness of a driving-under-the-influence court. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment31(1), 75–85.

Keywords: driving under the influence, DUI courts, randomized experiment


Looking Inside the Black Box of Drug Courts: A Meta‐Analytic Review

Author: Deborah Koetzle
Journal: Justice Quarterly

There has been a rapid proliferation of drug courts over the past two decades. Empirical research examining the effectiveness of the model has generally demonstrated reduced rates of recidivism among program participants. However, relatively little is known about the structure and processes associated with effective drug courts. The current study seeks to address the issues by exploring the moderating influence of programmatic and non‐programmatic characteristics on effectiveness. The methodology goes beyond previous meta‐analyses by supplementing published (and unpublished) findings with a survey of drug court administrators. Consistent with previous research, the results revealed drug courts reduce recidivism by 9% on average. Further analyses indicated target population, program leverage and intensity, and staff characteristics explain the most variability in drug court effectiveness. These findings are discussed within the context of therapeutic jurisprudence and effective interventions.


Shaffer, D. K. (2011). Looking Inside the Black Box of Drug Courts: A Meta‐Analytic Review. Justice Quarterly28(3), 493–521.

Keywords: drug court, effective interventions, meta-analysis, therapeutic jurisprudence


Combating Methamphetamine Use in the Community: The Efficacy of the Drug Court Model

Authors: Shelley Johnson Listwan, Deborah Koetzle, Jennifer L. Hartman
Journal: Crime & Delinquency

Methamphetamine use was historically a problem facing Western states; however, in recent years it has methodically spread throughout the nation. Methamphetamine use impacts communities, families, and the criminal justice system in a variety of ways. As such, many jurisdictions are developing policies to reduce the sale and consumption of this drug as well as increase penalties for its use. The question of whether methamphetamine users can be safely and effectively treated in the community is unresolved. This study explores whether community-based drug courts are a reasonable option for treating this population. Results of the study indicate that drug of choice does not influence outcome in a drug court setting. Policy implications are discussed.


Listwan, S. J., Shaffer, D. K., & Hartman, J. L. (2009). Combating Methamphetamine Use in the Community: The Efficacy of the Drug Court Model. Crime & Delinquency55(4), 627–644.

Keywords: drug courts, methamphetamines, rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment


Drug Court Treatment for Methamphetamine Dependence: Treatment Response and Posttreatment Outcomes

Authors: Patricia Marinelli-Casey, Ph.D., Rachel Gonzales, M.P.H., Maureen Hillhouse, Ph.D., Alfonso Ang, Ph.D., Joan Zweben, Ph.D., Judith Cohen, Ph.D., M.P.H., Peggy Fulton Hora, J.D., Richard A. Rawson, Ph.D.
Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

Relatively little is known about the impact of drug court treatment programs for methamphetamine (MA) dependence. This article examines treatment performance among a subsample of 287 MA-dependent adults who participated in the Methamphetamine Treatment Project from 1999 to 2001. To gain a preliminary indication of MA users’ response to drug court intervention, we compared a group of 57 MA-dependent participants treated in outpatient treatment within the context of a drug court to a group of comparable MA-dependent individuals treated in outpatient treatment but not supervised by a drug court (n = 230). Analyses reveal that drug court participation was associated with better rates of engagement, retention, completion, and abstinence, compared to outpatient treatment without drug court supervision. Six- and 12-month outcome analyses indicated that participants who were enrolled in drug court intervention used MA significantly less frequently. These findings suggest that drug court supervision coupled with treatment may improve the outcomes of MA dependent offenders beyond that seen from treatment alone.


Marinelli-Casey, P., Gonzales, R., Hillhouse, M., Ang, A., Zweben, J., Cohen, J., Hora, P. F., & Rawson, R. A. (2008). Drug court treatment for methamphetamine dependence: Treatment response and posttreatment outcomes. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment34(2), 242–248.

Keywords: drug court treatment, matrix model, methamphetamine, treatment and response outcomes


Female Drug Offenders Reflect on their Experiences with a County Drug Court Program

Authors: James C. Roberts, Loreen Wolfer
Journal: The Qualitative Report

This paper examines the experiences of a group of female drug offenders who successfully completed a county drug court program in northeast Pennsylvania. Using the constant comparative method, we analyzed interviews with these women for thematic patterns in order to provide an evaluation of this program based on participants’ subjective perceptions of its strengths and weaknesses. While other drug court evaluations identify rewards for good behavior and compassionate program staff as important contributing factors to participants’ success, women in this study credited their recovery and successful completion of the program primarily to fear of punishment and program structure. Our analysis also revealed patterns of improved self-images, improved physical and mental health, improved coping mechanisms, and improved interpersonal relationships. We end the paper with a discussion of implications for future research.


Roberts, J. C., & Wolfer, L. (2011). Female Drug Offenders Reflect on their Experiences with a County Drug Court Program. The Qualitative Report16(1), 20.

Keywords: appreciative inquiry, constant comparative method, drug court, female drug offenders


Examining Gender Differences in Substance Use, Participant Characteristics, and Treatment Outcomes Among Individuals in Drug Court

Authors: Lisa M. Shannon, Afton Jackson, Elizabeth Perkins, Connie Neal
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation

The study purpose was to examine gender differences in factors of potential importance (i.e., substance use, mental health, treatment motivation, criminal activity=thinking) which may help predict treatment outcome among a sample of individuals in drug court. Baseline data were collected via face-to-face interviews from a sample of individuals participating in drug court (N ¼ 515). The multivariate logistic regression analysis showed: age (p < .001), employment (p < .001), and number of months of lifetime incarceration (p < .001) were significant predictors of program completion. Based on study findings, gender may not be a critical factor on program completion in drug court. Rather, the multivariate analysis suggests several of these other characteristics are the critical factors in understanding completion of the drug court program.


Shannon, L. M., Jackson, A., Perkins, E., & Neal, C. (2014). Examining Gender Differences in Substance Use, Participant Characteristics, and Treatment Outcomes Among Individuals in Drug Court. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation53(6), 455–477.

Keywords: criminal thinking, drug court, gender differences, substance use, treatment motivation, treatment outcome


Female Recidivists Speak About Their Experience in Drug Court While Engaging in Appreciative Inquiry

Authors: Michael Fischer, Brenda Geiger, Mary Ellen Hughes
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

Eleven female drug-court participants looked at current and past experiences to assess their program and envision future program innovations. From these women’s perspective, the strongest component of drug court was being surrounded by staff dedicated to their progress and recovery. Graduated supervision and accurate drug testing were appreciated rather than resented when the participants were not humiliated and were treated with respect. Wraparound services, resources, and referral; treatment facilities that accepted children; and individualized treatment plans and therapy with offenders who are ex-addicts, and preferably females, allowed for greater involvement and active participation in recovery. Progressing through three phases, acquiring skills, a job, and visitation rights to see their children or regaining custody, increased these women’s sense of self-efficacy perception and confidence in their ability to lead a drug-free, meaningful life. Findings show the importance of qualitative criteria in evaluating drug-court participants’ progress and the process of recovery.


Fischer, M., Geiger, B., & Hughes, M. E. (2007). Female Recidivists Speak About Their Experience in Drug Court While Engaging in Appreciative Inquiry. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology51(6), 703–722.

Keywords: appreciative inquiry, drug court qualitative assessment, female drug offenders’ subjective experience


Finding the Loopholes: a Cross-sectional Qualitative Study of Systemic Barriers to Treatment Access for Women Drug Court Participants

Authors: Diane S. Morse, Jennifer Silverstein, Katherine Thomas, Precious Bedel, Catherine Cerulli
Journal: Health & Justice

Background: Therapeutic diversion courts seek to address justice-involved participants’ underlying problems leading to their legal system involvement, including substance use disorder, psychiatric illness, and intimate partner violence. The courts have not addressed systemic hurdles, which can contribute to a cycle of substance use disorder and recidivism, which in turn hinder health and wellness. The study purpose is to explore the systemic issues faced by women participants in drug treatment court from multiple perspectives to understand how these issues may relate to health and wellness in their lives.


Methods: Qualitative thematic framework analysis of five separate focus groups consisting of female drug treatment court participants, community providers, and court staff (n = 25). Themes were mapped across the socio-ecological framework and contextualized according to social determinants of health.


Results: Numerous systemic factors impacted women’s access to treatment. Laws and legal policies (governance) excluded those who could potentially have benefitted from therapeutic court and did not allow consideration of parenting issues. Macroeconomic policies limit housing options for those with convictions. Social policies limited transportation, education, and employment options. Public policies limited healthcare and social protection and ability to access available resources. Culture and societal values, including stigma, limited treatment options.


Conclusions: By understanding the social determinant of health for women in drug treatment court and stakeholder’s perceptions, the legal system can implement public policy to better address the health needs of women drug court participants.


Morse, D. S., Silverstein, J., Thomas, K., Bedel, P., & Cerulli, C. (2015). Finding the loopholes: A cross-sectional qualitative study of systemic barriers to treatment access for women drug court participants. Health & Justice3(1), 12.

Keywords: socioecological method, drug treatment court, justice-involved women, social determinants of health


Effectiveness 2 Years Postexit of a Recently Established Mental Health Court

Authors: Padraic J. Burns, Virginia Aldigé Hiday, Bradley Ray
Journal: American Behavioral Scientist

There are now more than 300 mental health courts in the United States; yet studies on their effectiveness in reducing criminal recidivism are relatively few, and most follow defendants after entry into the court, during their participation, and sometimes, for a short period following exit. Using a preenrollment-postexit design that follows participants of one mental health court for 2 years after exit, this article examines criminal recidivism of participants after they no longer receive the court’s services, supervision, and support. It investigates participant demographic, clinical, and criminal history and key arrest characteristics as well as process measures and graduation as predictors of two measures of recidivism, arrests, and postexit jail days. Its findings support the hypothesis that mental health courts can reduce criminal recidivism postexit and point to criminal history, time in mental health court, and graduation as the main influences on recidivism.


Burns, P. J., Hiday, V. A., & Ray, B. (2013). Effectiveness 2 Years Postexit of a Recently Established Mental Health Court. American Behavioral Scientist57(2), 189–208.

Keywords: courts, health, mental


Longer-Term Impacts of Mental Health Courts: Recidivism Two Years After Exit

Authors: Virginia Aldigé Hiday, Bradley Ray, Heathcote Wales
Journal: Psychiatric Services

Objective: This study compared recidivism among mental health court (MHC) participants and MHC-eligible defendants in traditional criminal court (TCC) two years after MHC exit or court disposition to investigate longer-term MHC impacts and effects beyond provision of treatment and services.


Methods: Archival data from the pretrial services agency and MHC judges were used. Four measures of recidivism (any rearrest, number of rearrests, any felony arrest, and time to rearrest) were used to compare 408 MHC participants and 687 MHC-eligible defendants in TCC in the same judicial district. Both groups were provided individualized plans from the same package of services and supervision by the same pretrial services and community agencies. MHC completers and noncompleters were examined separately. Multivariate logistic analyses controlled for confounding variables.


Results: Reductions in recidivism were observed in all three groups from two years before the key arrest to two years after court exit or court disposition. The reduction was greatest among MHC completers: the proportion rearrested was smallest (25%), and completers had the lowest number of arrests (.42). The noncompleter group had the largest proportion of those rearrested (55%) and the highest number of arrests (1.21). When confounding variables were controlled, MHC completers, not noncompleters, differed significantly from the comparison group in two-year recidivism.


Conclusions: MHC participation can reduce recidivism for an extended time after court exit and may have an impact on individuals who complete the program beyond the provision of treatment and services. Further study is needed to determine which MHC components may have this additional effect.


Aldigé Hiday, V., Ray, B., & Wales, H. (2015). Longer-Term Impacts of Mental Health Courts: Recidivism Two Years After Exit. Psychiatric Services67(4), 378–383.

Keywords: courts, health, mental


Mental Health Court Outcomes: A Comparison of Re-Arrest and Re-Arrest Severity Between Mental Health Court and Traditional Court Participants

Authors: Marlee E Moore, Virginia Aldigé Hiday
Journal: Law and Human Behavior

Mental health courts have been proliferating across the country since their establishment in the late 1990s. Although numerous advocates have proclaimed their merit, only few empirical studies have evaluated their outcomes. This paper evaluates the effect of one mental health court on criminal justice outcomes by examining arrests and offense severity from one year before to one year after entry into the court, and by comparing mental health court participants to comparable traditional criminal court defendants on these measures. Multivariate models support the prediction that mental health courts reduce the number of new arrests and the severity of such re-arrests among mentally ill offenders. Similar analysis of mental health court completers and non-completers supports the prediction that a “full dose” of mental health treatment and court monitoring produce even fewer re-arrests.


Hiday, M. E. M. A. (2006). Mental Health Court Outcomes: A Comparison of Re-Arrest and Re-Arrest Severity Between Mental Health Court and Traditional Court Participants. Law and Human Behavior30(6), 659–674.

Keywords: coerced treatment, diversion, mental health court


The Practice of Reintegrative Shaming in Mental Health Court

Authors: Cindy Brooks Dollar, Bradley Ray
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

Scholars and practitioners have renewed their interest in recognizing and designing restorative justice programs. Although these programs often provide successful outcomes, we know relatively little about why they work. Reintegrative shaming theory provides a lens by which to explain successful outcomes. This study uses over three years of direct observations to examine the practice of reintegrative shaming in a mental health court (MHC). We organize our findings around four primary components of reintegrative shaming outlined by Makkai and Braithwaite: respectful disapproval, disapproving the behavior rather than the individual, rejecting deviance as a master status, and ceremonial decertifications of deviance. Our data demonstrate that reintegrative shaming in MHC is largely accomplished through interactions with the judge, although the unique organization of the MHC, including their small caseloads, use of separate dockets, and pre-court team meetings, advance the court’s use of reintegrative shaming.


Dollar, C. B., & Ray, B. (2015). The Practice of Reintegrative Shaming in Mental Health Court. Criminal Justice Policy Review26(1), 29–44.

Keywords: mental health court, problem-solving courts, reintegrative shaming, restorative justice, theory


Graduates Speak: a Qualitative Exploration of Drug Courts Graduates’ View of the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Program

Author: Loreen Wolfer
Journal: Contemporary Drug Problems

A noticeable omission from the plethora of existing drug court research is the voice of those experiencing the program itself. This is an exploratory analysis of the exit interviews of 55 graduates of a Pennsylvania drug court that attempts to address some of this omission. Findings suggest that, in retrospect, graduates find the program structure and random urine screens beneficial to drug rehabilitation; however, there are concerns over perceived differential treatment by team members and lack of respect for defendant time.


Wolfer, L. (2006). Graduates speak: A qualitative exploration of drug courts graduates’ view of the strengths and weaknesses of the program. Contemporary Drug Problems33(2), 303–320.



Identities, Boundaries, and Accounts of Women Methamphetamine Users

Authors: Heith Copes, Lindsay Leban, Kent R. Kerley, Jessica R. Deitzer
Journal: Justice Quarterly

Drug users often define themselves as functional users and depict others as dysfunctional (i.e. junkies). Previous research on the social identities of drug users has focused on the symbolic boundaries they create to distance themselves from stigmatized others. Investigators have yet to focus on how users account for their own boundary violations. Here, we examine the narratives of 30 former women methamphetamine (meth) users to determine how they make distinctions between functional and dysfunctional meth users (i.e. “meth heads”). The distinctions they make are based on users’ abilities to maintain control of their lives and to hide their use from outsiders. Those who saw themselves as functional but who engaged in behaviors inconsistent with this image accounted for these behaviors to maintain desired identities. We show the complexity of drug users’ identities and illustrate how anti-drug campaigns that provide grotesque caricatures of drug users may prolong drug using careers.


Copes, H., Leban, L., Kerley, K. R., & Deitzer, J. R. (2016). Identities, Boundaries, and Accounts of Women Methamphetamine Users. Justice Quarterly33(1), 134–158.

Keywords: methamphetamine, neutralizations, qualitative methods, social identity


In or Out: The Drug Court Dilemma

Authors: Andrew Fulkerson, Linda Keena, Anthony Longman
Journal: Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society

The drug court was developed as a response to the ineffectiveness of the traditional criminal justice response to addiction. Drug courts are limited in resources and placement opportunities for offenders. Accordingly, the issue of who is placed in the drug court program and why they are so placed is a critical factor in the effective utilization of drug court resources. This paper is a qualitative study of the perceptions of the drug court offenders related to their reasons for entering the program and whether this was the proper program for the needs of the offender and the community. Rehabilitation and avoiding prison are the primary reasons offered by participants for entering the drug court. The study suggests that drug court staff provide better information as to risks and rewards of drug court participation than do defense attorneys.


Fulkerson, A., Keena, L., & Longman, A. (2016). In or Out: The Drug Court Dilemma. Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society17(2), 34–45.

Keywords: drug court, drug court and advice of counsel, qualitative research, restorative justice, treatment motivation


Methamphetamine Abuse and Impairment of Social Functioning: A Review of the Underlying Neurophysiological Causes and Behavioral Implications

Authors: Bruce D. Homer, Todd Michael Solomon, Robert W. Moeller, Amy Mascia, Lauren DeRaleau, Perry N. Halkitis
Journal: Psychological Bulletin

The highly addictive drug methamphetamine has been associated with impairments in social cognitions as evidenced by changes in users’ behaviors. Physiological changes in brain structure and functioning, particularly in the frontal lobe, have also been identified. The authors propose a biopsychosocial approach to understanding the effects of methamphetamine addiction by relating the physiological effects of the drug to the behaviors and social cognitions of its users, through the application of the theory of mind paradigm. Although onset of methamphetamine use has been linked to the desire for socialization, chronic use has been associated with an increase in depression, aggressiveness, and social isolation, behaviors that also implicate involvement of the frontal lobe. The reviewed literature provides strong circumstantial evidence that social-cognitive functioning is significantly impacted by methamphetamine use and that the social isolation, depression, and aggressiveness associated with chronic use is due to more than just the social withdrawal associated with addiction. Treatment considerations for methamphetamine must therefore consider the role of social cognition, and pharmacological responses must address the documented impact of the drug on frontal lobe functioning.


Homer, B. D., Solomon, T. M., Moeller, R. W., Mascia, A., DeRaleau, L., & Halkitis, P. N. (2008). Methamphetamine abuse and impairment of social functioning: A review of the underlying neurophysiological causes and behavioral implications. Psychological Bulletin134(2), 301–310.

Keywords: addiction, brain function, methamphetamine, social cognition, theory of mind


Methamphetamine Use Among Young Adults: Health and Social Consequences

Authors: Ira Sommers, Deborah Baskin, Arielle Baskin-Sommers
Journal: Addictive Behaviors

The current research analyzed the relationship between methamphetamine use and health and social outcomes. Interviews were conducted with a sample of 106 respondents. Virtually all of the respondents experienced negative consequences of methamphetamine use. The most serious, but least prevalent, methamphetamine-related health problem was seizures and convulsions. The most prevalent health effect was weight lose. A substantial number of respondents experienced severe psychological symptoms: depression, hallucinations, and paranoia. Of the 106 respondents, 34.9% had committed violence while under the influence of methamphetamine. The data suggest that methamphetamine-based violence was more likely to occur within private domestic contexts, both family and acquaintance relationships.


Sommers, I., Baskin, D., & Baskin-Sommers, A. (2006). Methamphetamine use among young adults: Health and social consequences. Addictive Behaviors31(8), 1469–1476.

Keywords: health and psychological consequences, methamphetamine, violence


Methamphetamine Use and Criminal Behavior

Authors: Michael Gizzi, Patrick Gerkin
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

This research seeks to broaden our understanding of methamphetamine’s (meth’s) place within the study of drugs and crime. Through extensive court records research and interviews with 200 offenders in local jails in western Colorado, this research contributes to the creation of a meth user profile and begins to identify the place of meth in the drug–crime nexus. The study compares the criminal behavior of meth users with other drug users, finding that meth users are more likely than other drug users to be drunk or high at the time of arrest and claim their crimes were related to drug use in other ways. A content analysis of criminal records demonstrates that meth users have more extensive criminal records and are more likely than other drug users to commit property crimes.


Gizzi, M. C., & Gerkin, P. (2010). Methamphetamine Use and Criminal Behavior. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology54(6), 915–936.

Keywords: court records, drug crime nexus, interviews, methamphetamine, property crime


Methamphetamine Use and Violence

Authors: Ira Sommers, Ph.D., Deborah Baskin, Ph.D.
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues

The current research analyzed the relationship between methamphetamine use and violence. Interviews were conducted with a sample of 205 respondents. The research was based on life history interviews with individuals who used methamphetamine for a minimum of three months and who resided in Los Angeles County. Of the 205 respondents, 55 (26.8%) had committed violence while under the influence of methamphetamine. Males comprised two thirds of the 55 respondents (N=36). Of the total sample, 30% of males and 23% of females committed methamphetamine-related violence, respectively. Overall, the 55 respondents reported 80 separate violent events while using methamphetamine. Of these 80 events, 41 (51.4%) acts of violence involved domestic relationships, 28.6% (N=23) of the violent events were drug related, 8.6% (N=7) were gang related, and 11.3% (N=9) involved random acts of violence (e.g., road rage, stranger assault). The study findings suggest that methamphetamine use heightens the risk for violence. Everyone interviewed agreed that methamphetamine has clear abuse and violence potential. Having said this, it is crucial to state that there was no evidence of a single, uniform career path that all chronic methamphetamine users follow. Progression from controlled use to addiction is not inexorable. Furthermore, a significant number of sample members experienced limited or no serious social, psychological, or physical dysfunction as a result of their methamphetamine use. Most germane to this study, we found that violence is not an inevitable outcome of even chronic methamphetamine use.


Sommers, I., & Baskin, D. (2006). Methamphetamine Use and Violence. Journal of Drug Issues36(1), 77–96.



Methamphetamine Use in Nonurban and Urban Drug Court Clients

Authors: William W. Stoops, Michele Staton Tindall, Allison Mateyoke-Scrivner, Carl Leukefeld
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology

Population-based surveys suggest that methamphetamine use and abuse may be rising in the United States. However, little is known about methamphetamine use in eastern sections of the United States, particularly nonurban areas. The purpose of the present study was (a) to explore reported methamphetamine use and its correlates among Kentucky drug court clients and (b) to determine whether differences exist between methamphetamine users by drug court location. Of the 500 drug court clients surveyed, approximately 32% (n = 161) reported lifetime methamphetamine use. Methamphetamine users and nonusers differed in their drug use profiles, self-reported criminal history, and number of criminal offenses. Nonurban and urban methamphetamine users differed in their drug-use profiles, psychological functioning, self-reported criminal history, and number of criminal offenses. These results suggest that differences exist between these populations and clinicians, and criminal justice officials may need to consider these differences when planning treatment and rehabilitation strategies.


Stoops, W. W., Tindall, M. S., Mateyoke-Scrivner, A., & Leukefeld, C. (2005). Methamphetamine Use in Nonurban and Urban Drug Court Clients. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology49(3), 260–276.

Keywords: drug court, methamphetamine, nonurban, urban


Methamphetamine Use, Self-Reported Violent Crime, and Recidivism Among Offenders in California Who Abuse Substances

Authors: Jerome J. Cartier, D. Farabee, M. Prendergast
Journal: Journal of Interpersonal Violence

This study uses data from 641 state prison parolees in California to examine the associations between methamphetamine use and three measures of criminal behavior: (a) self-reported violent criminal behavior, (b) return to prison for a violent offense, and (c) return to prison for any reason during the first 12 months of parole. Methamphetamine use was significantly predictive of self-reported violent criminal behavior and general recidivism (i.e., a return to custody for any reason). However, methamphetamine use was not significantly predictive of being returned to custody for a violent offense. These trends remained even after controlling for involvement in the drug trade (i.e., sales, distribution, or manufacturing).


Cartier, J., Farabee, D., & Prendergast, M. L. (2006). Methamphetamine Use, Self-Reported Violent Crime, and Recidivism Among Offenders in California Who Abuse Substances. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21(4), 435–445.

Keywords: methamphetamine, offenders, recidivism, violent crime


Methamphetamine Users in a Community-Based Drug Court: Does Gender Matter?

Authors: Jennifer L. Hartman, Shelley Johnson Listwan, Deborah Koetzle Shaffer
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation

This paper examines men and women methamphetamine (meth) users who participated in a community-based drug court. The treatment of female drug users is a particularly salient issue because of the concerns with relapse and recidivism. For the current study, we studied the impact of the drug court by gender on a group of high-risk/high-need meth users. The results of the multivariate analysis models indicate that men have a higher probability of failure over an 18-month follow-up period. These findings suggest that a comprehensive drug court can be an effective strategy for women meth users even with an assortment of needs.


Hartman, J. L., Listwan, S. J., & Shaffer, D. K. (2007). Methamphetamine Users in a Community-Based Drug Court: Does Gender Matter? Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 45(3–4), 109–130.

Keywords: drug court, gender, LSI-R, methamphetamines, survival analysis


A Randomized Clinical Trial of Family Therapy in Juvenile Drug Court

Authors: Gayle A. Dakof, Craig E. Henderson, Cynthia L. Rowe, Maya Boustani, Paul E. Greenbaum, Wei Wang, Samuel Hawes, Clarisa Linares, Howard A. Liddle
Journal: Journal of Family Psychology

The objective of this article is to examine the effectiveness of 2 theoretically different treatments delivered in juvenile drug court—family therapy represented by multidimensional family therapy (MDFT) and group-based treatment represented by adolescent group therapy (AGT)—on offending and substance use. Intent-to-treat sample included 112 youth enrolled in juvenile drug court (primarily male [88%], and Hispanic [59%] or African American [35%]), average age 16.1 years, randomly assigned to either family therapy (n = 55) or group therapy (n = 57). Participants were assessed at baseline and 6, 12, 18 and 24 months following baseline. During the drug court phase, youth in both treatments showed significant reduction in delinquency (average d = .51), externalizing symptoms (average d = 2.32), rearrests (average d = 1.22), and substance use (average d = 4.42). During the 24-month follow-up, family therapy evidenced greater maintenance of treatment gains than group-based treatment for externalizing symptoms (d = 0.39), commission of serious crimes (d = .38), and felony arrests (d = .96). There was no significant difference between the treatments with respect to substance use or misdemeanor arrests. The results suggest that family therapy enhances juvenile drug court outcomes beyond what can be achieved with a nonfamily based treatment, especially with respect to what is arguably the primary objective of juvenile drug courts: reducing criminal behavior and rearrests. More research is needed on the effectiveness of juvenile drug courts generally and on whether treatment type and family involvement influence outcomes.


Dakof, G. A., Henderson, C. E., Rowe, C. L., Boustani, M., Greenbaum, P. E., Wang, W., Hawes, S., Linares, C., & Liddle, H. A. (2015). A randomized clinical trial of family therapy in juvenile drug court. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(2), 232–241.

Keywords: adolescents, delinquency, family therapy, juvenile drug court, multidimensional family therapy


Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Juvenile Drug Court: Comparisons to Traditional Probation

Authors: Ginger Gummelt, Michael Sullivan
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

Juvenile Drug Courts have been in operation in the United States for over 20 years, yet their effectiveness and design have been challenged throughout the literature. Using data collected from a Juvenile Drug Court (JDC) in Southeast Texas, this project sought to determine if the JDC intervention reduced recidivism compared to a comparison sample of juvenile offenders. Results indicate that the recidivism rates of participants in the JDC were lower than the comparison group, suggesting that the Drug Court intervention was successful. The program completion rates for JDC youths were also higher for those with fewer infractions. Although the JDC youths had statistically lower infractions, the intervention overall appears to need strengthening. A close inspection of program components could document which programmatic skills are tied to efficacy, leading to the achievement of better outcomes.


Gummelt, G., & Sullivan, M. (2016). Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Juvenile Drug Court: Comparisons to Traditional Probation. Juvenile and Family Court Journal67(4), 55–68.

Keywords: drug court, mental health, probation, recidivism, substance use


Implementing Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts: A Meta-aggregation of Process Evaluations

Authors: David B. Wilson, Ajima Olaghere, Catherine S. Kimbrell
Journal: Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

Juvenile drug treatment courts (JDTCs) continue to be popular. However, results of a recent meta-analysis raised doubts regarding their effectiveness over traditional juvenile justice system processing. The objective of this study was to systematically review the qualitative and quantitative evidence related to the inner workings of JDTCs to identify ways to improve outcomes. We conducted an extensive systematic search for process and implementation studies, resulting in 59 studies that met eligibility criteria. We used meta-aggregation methods to extract 477 study findings and categorized the findings thematically. We report on a subset of findings within four thematic categories containing the largest number of methodologically credible findings: (1) family members as stakeholders in the JDTC process, (2) standards for ensuring accountability and youth compliance with court expectations, such as the consistent application of behavioral contingencies, (3) the availability of community and school services, and (4) the various needs of JDTC clients, such as mental health treatment. Based on these findings, we suggest a modified causal change model for JDTCs that extends the theoretical framework for JDTCs to incorporate improving youth psychosocial functioning as an important outcome. Implications for the role of JDTCs within the juvenile justice system are discussed.


Wilson, D. B., Olaghere, A., & Kimbrell, C. S. (2019). Implementing Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts: A Meta-aggregation of Process Evaluations. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency56(4), 605–645.

Keywords: juvenile drug treatment courts, meta-aggregation, process and implementation issues, systemic review


Juvenile Drug Treatment Court

Authors: David M. Ledgerwood, Ph.D., Phillippe B. Cunningham, Ph.D.
Journal: Pediatric Clinics of North America

Juvenile Drug Treatment Courts (JDTCs) were established in the 1990s to reduce the cycle of crime, drug use, and delinquency among youthful offenders. JDTCs are made up of multidisciplinary teams, including a judge, district attorneys, public defenders, juvenile probation officers, and drug treatment providers who collaborate to address the unique needs of each participant, guided by the principle of therapeutic jurisprudence. The effectiveness of JDTCs has been mixed. Several efforts have been made to improve their effectiveness through further development of the most efficacious components, development of adjunctive treatments designed to improve outcomes, utilization of community resources, and encouragement of family participation.


Ledgerwood, D. M., & Cunningham, P. B. (2019). Juvenile Drug Treatment Court. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 66(6), 1193–1202.

Keywords: adolescent, cannabis, caregivers, juvenile drug treatment court, parents, substance use, therapeutic jurisprudence


Learning More From Evaluation of Justice Interventions: Further Consideration of Theoretical Mechanisms in Juvenile Drug Courts

Authors: Joshua Long, Christopher J. Sullivan
Journal: Crime & Delinquency

It is essential to learn as much as possible from justice interventions, even those that do not appear to be successful. Data came from a sample of youths participating in drug courts in nine sites across the United States and a comparison group of probationers (N = 1,372). Measures were drawn from case records. Path models with direct and indirect effects were analyzed. Aspects of the juvenile drug court process appear to heighten the likelihood of youth failure in the program and recidivism. The ratio of incentives to sanctions was protective as drug court youth who experienced more of the former had a reduced likelihood of recidivism. The article concludes that it is important to examine mechanisms that impact the success of justice interventions.


Long, J., & Sullivan, C. J. (2017). Learning More From Evaluation of Justice Interventions: Further Consideration of Theoretical Mechanisms in Juvenile Drug Courts. Crime & Delinquency, 63(9), 1091–1115.

Keywords: delinquency, juvenile drug courts, mediation analysis, program evaluation


Parent and Youth Engagement in Court-Mandated Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Authors: Pia M. Mauro, Michael R. McCart, Ashli J. Sheidow, Sarah E. Naeger, Elizabeth J. Letourneau
Journal: Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse

While juvenile drug courts (JDCs) require treatment participation, youth and parent engagement in treatment cannot be mandated. We compared youths’ and parents’ self-reports of engagement in Risk Reduction Therapy for Adolescents (RRTA) and Treatment as Usual (TAU) in JDCs. Parents and youths receiving RRTA were more likely than those receiving TAU to report high engagement in treatment. High parent engagement in RRTA early in treatment predicted fewer missed appointments and lower youth substance use at three months. Emphasizing therapeutic techniques that increase parent engagement, as utilized in RRTA, could lead to improved participation and clinical outcomes in court-mandated treatment settings.


Mauro, P. M., McCart, M. R., Sheidow, A. J., Naeger, S. E., & Letourneau, E. J. (2017). Parent and Youth Engagement in Court-Mandated Substance Use Disorder Treatment. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 26(4), 324–331.



Professionals’ Perceptions of and Recommendations for Matching Juvenile Drug Court Clients to Services

Authors: Josephine D. Korchmaros, KendraThompson-Dyck, Rodney C. Haring
Journal: Children and Youth Services Review

Current practice in juvenile drug courts is to implement approaches and models that focus on identifying and meeting the needs of the youth through service-matching—such as the Juvenile Drug Court: Strategies In Practice (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2014) and Reclaiming Futures (, which when combined are JDC/RF programs—to increase effectiveness and produce better outcomes for the youth they serve. This study examined juvenile drug court representatives’ reflections on the ability of juvenile drug courts that are implementing JDC/RF programs to match youth with services and the procedures used to do so. Overall, three major cross-JDC/RF site themes related to service-matching emerged from the data: a) Collaboration; b) Engaging Families; and c) Recommendations to Improve Service-Matching. On the whole, JDC/RF staff noted successes in collaborating within the juvenile drug court system and within the community, and in engaging families that facilitated and supported matching youth to services. They also saw opportunities for and noted multiple recommendations, many of which they were in the process of enacting, for continued growth and improvement in the area of matching youth to services. These results suggest that juvenile drug court teams perceived that they can surmount the barriers and challenges of matching youth to services; that adequate and appropriate staffing of juvenile drug courts is critical to effective service-matching; that juvenile drug courts needed to have formalized effective communication systems in place to facilitate and support a system of care focused on service-matching; and that successfully implementing JDC/RF and creating a system that supports service-matching requires juvenile drug courts to balance interagency collaboration and client confidentiality.


Korchmaros, J. D., Thompson-Dyck, K., & Haring, R. C. (2017). Professionals’ perceptions of and recommendations for matching juvenile drug court clients to services. Children and Youth Services Review73, 149–164.

Keywords: juvenile drug court, service matching


Sustained Outcomes? an Exploratory Study of Juvenile Drug Courts and Long-Term Recidivism

Authors: Linsey Belisle, M.S., Kevin Thompson, Ph.D.
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

This exploratory study examined juvenile drug courts’ effect on adulthood recidivism. Utilizing a twelve-year average follow up time, adult recidivism rates were compared between previous juvenile drug court participants and a comparison group of juveniles who participated in traditional probation. Linear regression models indicated limited recidivism effects of drug court on arrests or convictions into adulthood. The findings suggest that gender and race may play a role in how justice-involved juveniles interact and experience juvenile drug court, highlighting the need for gender-responsive and culturally responsive policies, practices, and programs within juvenile drug courts. Recommendations are made regarding future research areas and ways to potentially improve long-term juvenile drug court outcomes.


Belisle, L., & Thompson, K. (2020). Sustained Outcomes? An Exploratory Study of Juvenile Drug Courts and Long-Term Recidivism. Juvenile and Family Court Journal71(1), 63–83.

Keywords: drug treatment, juvenile drug court, recidivism


The Influence of Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Problems on the Effectiveness of Juvenile Drug Courts

Authors: Sarah M. Manchak, Carrie Sullivan, Myrinda Schweitzer, Christopher J. Sullivan
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

The effectiveness of juvenile drug courts is mixed, and several factors could account for these findings. The present study examines whether and why youth with co-occurring mental health problems may have worse outcomes in juvenile drug court than youth who only have issues with substance use. In a sample of youth in juvenile drug court, 328 youth with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders were compared with 336 youth with only substance use disorders. Youth with co-occurring mental health problems had significantly worse criminal justice outcomes than youth without mental health problems. These outcomes were explained, in part, by more frequent violations of the drug court requirements, and in particular, violations surrounding treatment noncompliance. Results suggest that juvenile drug courts—as they currently operate—may be unsuccessfully managing youth who present with co-occurring mental health and substance use problems. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.


Manchak, S. M., Sullivan, C. C., Schweitzer, M., & Sullivan, C. J. (2016). The Influence of Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Problems on the Effectiveness of Juvenile Drug Courts. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 27(3), 247–264.

Keywords: co-occurring disorders, juvenile drug court, mental illness


Working Alliance, Treatment Satisfaction, and Patterns of Posttreatment Use Among Adolescent Substance Users

Authors: Brooke T. Tetzlaff, Jeffrey H. Kahn, Susan H. Godley, Mark D. Godley, Guy S. Diamond, Rodney R. Funk.
Journal: Psychology of Addictive Behaviors

This longitudinal study examined the relationships among the working alliance, treatment satisfaction, and posttreatment use among adolescents in treatment for substance abuse. Adolescents (N = 600) from the Cannabis Youth Treatment study (M. L. Dennis et al., 2002) completed measures of working alliance and treatment satisfaction as well as substance use and substance-related problems at intake and 3, 6, 9, 12, and 30 months’ post-intake. When controlling for initial substance use and substance-related problems, working alliance, but not treatment satisfaction, predicted use at 3 and 6 months’ post-intake. Neither working alliance nor treatment satisfaction were predictive of longitudinal patterns of posttreatment use. Implications for the assessment of working alliance and treatment satisfaction are discussed.


Tetzlaff, B. T., Kahn, J. H., Godley, S. H., Godley, M. D., Diamond, G. S., & Funk, R. R. (2005). Working Alliance, Treatment Satisfaction, and Patterns of Posttreatment Use Among Adolescent Substance Users. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 19(2), 199–207.



Veterans Treatment Court Research: Participant Characteristics, Outcomes, and Gaps in the Literature

Authors: Janice D. McCall, Jack Tsai, Adam J. Gordon
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation

In the United States, there are increasing numbers of Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) that have been developed to improve Veteran reintegration. Our scoping study examined VTC scholarship published between 2008 and 2016 and summarized participant profiles, services provided, and effectiveness and implementation of VTCs. Of 1,207 sources pertaining to VTC, 206 sources were included for review, and 48 sources were selected for the analytic sample. The majority of VTC participants are White males, middle-aged (30–50 years of age), and had mental health and substance abuse disorders. Studies of VTC effectiveness reported mixed findings. Future rigorous research should expand on VTC outcomes, variability in VTC jurisdictions, and the role of peer mentors.


McCall, J. D., Tsai, J., & Gordon, A. J. (2018). Veterans Treatment Court research: Participant characteristics, outcomes, and gaps in the literature. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation57(6), 384–401.

Keywords: community-based rehabilitation, mental illness, offender rehabilitation, substance abuse, veterans treatment court


Waging War on Recidivism Among Justice-Involved Veterans: An Impact Evaluation of a Large Urban Veterans Treatment Court

Authors: Richard D. Hartley, Julie Marie Baldwin
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

Problem solving courts have increasingly been adopted by jurisdictions around the country as an alternative to traditional criminal court models of justice. Veterans treatment courts (VTCs) are a type of problem-solving court being established all over the country in response to an increased number of justice-involved veterans with the return of military personnel from the Wars in the Middle East. Despite their rapid expansion, there is a dearth of research evaluating the impact of VTCs on recidivism. The current study conducted an impact evaluation regarding recidivism among participants of a large urban VTC program. Findings from descriptive and multivariate analysis reveal positive results for VTC participants, especially graduates, in comparison with the control group. Implications are discussed in context of three areas: (a) current criminal justice policy and practice implications for VTCs, (b) findings from research on other more established problem-solving courts (i.e., drug courts), and (c) research–practitioner partnerships.


Hartley, R. D., & Baldwin, J. M. (2019). Waging War on Recidivism Among Justice-Involved Veterans: An Impact Evaluation of a Large Urban Veterans Treatment Court. Criminal Justice Policy Review30(1), 52–78.

Keywords: justice-involved veterans, problem-solving courts, recidivism, specialty courts, veterans treatment court


Building a Legacy of Hope: Perspectives on Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction Indian Law

Authors: Korey Wahwassuck, John P. Smith, John R. Hawkinson
Journal: William Mitchell Law Review

Poverty, addiction, and hopelessness know no jurisdictional boundaries. All systems struggle to improve outcomes for families, to have fewer children in out-of-home placement, to decrease incarceration and recidivism rates, and to reverse the tide of disproportionate minority contact. But in this era of evaporating resources, no system has proved completely successful on its own. Dismal statistics bear witness that ‘justice as usual” does not result in acceptable outcomes for those involved in the juvenile and adult justice systems. But in northern Minnesota, tribal and state courts are breaking the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse by exercising their jurisdiction jointly, using inter-governmental and inter-agency collaboration of an unprecedented nature. In 2006, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court teamed up with Minnesota’s Ninth Judicial District’s Cass County District Court, to form a unique problem-solving court that was the
first of its kind in the nation. A post-conviction, post-sentencing DWI Court founded on the ten principles of drug courts, the Leech Lake-Cass County Wellness Court handles the cases of both tribal members and non-Indians. The judges are part of a multijurisdictional, multidisciplinary core team made up of representatives from tribal, county, state, and other agencies, and they preside together over hearings. In 2007, a similar Wellness Court was formed in collaboration with the Ninth Judicial District’s Itasca County District Court to work with offenders charged with controlled substance crimes. Three-and-a-half years later, these courts are still operating successfully. While the journey has not been without obstacles, the courts have found solutions to problems along the way. This article explores how these joint-jurisdiction courts developed, gives a brief overview of the nature of tribal-state-federal relationships, outlines the historical and legal basis for tribal-state collaborative agreements, and demonstrates how
this innovative approach to justice allows for more effective administration of justice and far better results across all systems.


Wahwassuck, K., Smith, J. P., & Hawkinson, J. R. (2009). Building a Legacy of Hope: Perspectives on Joint Tribal-State Jurisdiction Indian Law. William Mitchell Law Review36(2), 859–898.



Jurisprudence and Recommendations for Tribal Court Authority due to Imposition of U.S. Limitations

Author: Angelique EagleWoman
Journal: Mitchell Hamline Law Review


EagleWoman, A. (2021). Jurisprudence and Recommendations for Tribal Court Authority due to Imposition of U.S. Limitations. Mitchell Hamline Law Review47(1), 342–374.



Native Populations and the Opioid Crisis: Forging a Path to Recovery

Authors: Martina Whelshula, Margo Hill, S. E. Galaitsi, Benjamin Trump, Emerson Mahoney, Avi Mersky, Kelsey Poinsatte-Jones, Igor Linkov
Journal: Environment Systems And Decisions

American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations have proven particularly susceptible to the opioid crisis in the USA, but the White House’s 2019 national opioid policy roadmap is not structured to address AI/AN vulnerabilities. The concept of resilience, usually considered a positive system attribute, can be applied to complex systems to understand the larger compensatory interactions that restore systems to previous structures despite disruptions or interventions. The opioid crisis is a case of detrimental resilience because even effective interventions have not succeeded in eradicating opioid abuses. Resilience-based systemic interventions are needed to disrupt various aspects of systems while enhancing the social and cognitive abilities of affected populations to withstand the threat. This paper examines community characteristics, healthcare, and law enforcement within the context of AI/AN populations to emphasize the mechanisms that promote undesirable resilience for the opioid crisis. A research agenda bringing together systems science and management is needed to coordinate sectoral interventions and establish strategies to disrupt the resilient cycle of opioid addiction.


Whelshula, M., Hill, M., Galaitsi, S. E., Trump, B., Mahoney, E., Mersky, A., Poinsatte-Jones, K., & Linkov, I. (2021). Native populations and the opioid crisis: Forging a path to recovery. Environment Systems & Decisions, 1–7.

Keywords: American Indians, opioids, resilience, systems management


Rehabilitative Justice: the Effectiveness of Healing to Wellness, Opioid Intervention, and Drug Courts

Authors: Majidah M. Cochran, Christine L. Kettel
Journal: American Indian Law Journal

Cochran, M. M., & Kettel, C. L. (2020). Rehabilitative Justice: The Effectiveness of Healing to Wellness, Opioid Intervention, and Drug Courts. American Indian Law Journal9(1), Article 4.



Restorative Justice in the Arctic: Indigenous Knowledge for Healing Communities

Authors: Heather Sauyaq Jean Gordon, Ranjan Datta

Indigenous people are overrepresented in the justice systems in both Alaska and Canada, especially when looking at incarceration rates (Alaska Department of Corrections, 2018; Canada Department of Justice Research and Statistics Division, 2019). Mainstream justice systems are focusing on punitive measures that do not reflect Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous approaches to restorative justice and healing (Pranis, Stuart, & Wedge, 2003). In this short paper, we aim to generate further understanding of how Indigenous knowledge is significant and related to Indigenous restorative justice as a means to consider how we might resolve various forms of disputes, meet the needs of Indigenous peoples and communities, and rethink Alaska and Canada’s justice systems. This paper considers how we might engage in relearning by making more room for the holistic healing found within Indigenous models of restorative justice. We hope our paper provides a general introduction to the importance of Indigenous knowledge for people who work with Indigenous clients in the United States (U.S.) and Canadian Arctic justice systems. Our paper also serves to inform other Indigneous people interested in developing restorative justice practices in their communities of what is being done in some Canadaian and U.S. Arctic communities


Gordon, H. S. J., & Datta, Ranjan. (2020). Restorative Justice in the Arctic: Indigenous Knowledge for Healing Communities.



The Opioid Epidemic in Indian Country

Authors: Robin T. Tipps, Gregory T. Buzzard, John A. McDougall
Journal: The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics

The national opioid epidemic is severely impacting Indian Country. In this article, we draw upon data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to describe the contours of this crisis among Native Americans. While these data are subject to significant limitations, we show that Native American opioid overdose mortality rates have grown substantially over the last seventeen years. We further find that this increase appears to at least parallel increases seen among non-Hispanic whites, who are often thought to be uniquely affected by this crisis. We then profile tribal medical and legal responses to the opioid epidemic, ranging from tribally-operated medication-assisted therapy to drug diversion courts rooted in traditional tribal cultures.


Tipps, R. T., Buzzard, G. T., & McDougall, J. A. (2018). The Opioid Epidemic in Indian Country. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics46(2), 422–436.



Therapeutic Courts in the Alaska Court System

Author: Barbara Armstrong
Journal: Alaska Justice Forum


Armstrong, B. (2016). Therapeutic Courts in the Alaska Court System. Alaska Justice Forum33(2–3), 2–6.



Tribal Immunity, Tribal Courts, and the Federal System: Emerging Contours and Frontiers Lead Article

Authors: Frank Pommersheim, Terry Pechota
Journal: South Dakota Law Review


Pommersheim, F., & Pechota, T. (1985). Tribal Immunity, Tribal Courts, and the Federal System: Emerging Contours and Frontiers Lead Article. South Dakota Law Review31(3), 553–601.



The Effectiveness of Idaho DUI and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts: Outcome Evaluation

Authors: Scott M. Ronan, Peter A. Collins, Jeffrey W. Rosky
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation

As DUI Courts continue to expand through the United States, research needs to match the growth to inform administrators and the public on the effectiveness of these courts. The current study found that participation in a DUI or Misdemeanor/DUI Drug Court (230%) reduced recidivism compared to a comparison group (37/o) with court filing records that resulted in a disposition of guilty. The current study measured multiple court sites and analyzed recidivism over a 4.5 year time frame, and through the use
of a Cox Proportional Hazard model it was identified that those not in the DUI court group were 1.6 times more likely to recidivate. The authors discuss the limitations and results in their efforts to increase the research on this ever expanding criminal justice


Ronan, S. M., Collins, P. A., & Rosky, J. W. (2009). The Effectiveness of Idaho DUI and Misdemeanor/DUI Courts: Outcome Evaluation. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation48(2), 154–166.

Keywords: Cox Proportional Hazard Model, drug court, DUI court, outcome evaluation, problem-solving court, recidivism


A Longitudinal Examination of Veterans Treatment Courts’ Characteristics and Eligibility Criteria

Authors: Christine Timko, Bessie Flatley, Amanda Tjemsland, Jim McGuire, Sean Clark, Jessica Blue-Howells, Daniel Blonigen, Joel Rosenthal, Andrea Finlay
Journal: Justice Research and Policy

Although the number of Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) has been growing at a rapid rate, thus far, VTC components have not been standardized, due in part to a lack of empirical evidence on the extent to which components vary across VTCs nationwide and change over time. This study analyzed data collected by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Justice Program, on VTCs in 2012 (n = 173 Courts), 2013 (n = 266), and 2014 (n = 351), to describe Court characteristics, participant eligibility criteria, and Courts’ mentoring component. Despite growth in VTC numbers, the survey found consistency over time in these aspects of VTCs. Regarding characteristics, the majority of Courts had jurisdiction at the county level. Across survey years, the range of means was 22–24 for veteran participant census, 10–14 for number of months spent in the Court for misdemeanors, and 18–19 for number of months spent in the Court for felonies. Eligibility requirements suggested openness to veterans of different backgrounds and status. Less than two thirds of Courts had the mentoring component; Courts with the mentoring component had a higher participant census and a longer duration of participants’ time under Court supervision than Courts without this component. Existing mentoring programs were organized mainly by volunteers. VTCs’ adherence to policies supportive of veterans may benefit from having paid mentor coordinators in order to further ensure this hallmark of VTCs.


Timko, C., Flatley, B., Tjemsland, A., McGuire, J., Clark, S., Blue-Howells, J., Blonigen, D., Rosenthal, J., & Finlay, A. (2018). A Longitudinal Examination of Veterans Treatment Courts’ Characteristics and Eligibility Criteria. Justice Research and Policy17(2), 123–136.

Keywords: peer mentors, treatment courts, veterans


Examining Implementation and Preliminary Performance Indicators of Veterans Treatment Courts: The Kentucky Experience

Authors: Lisa M. Shannon, Shira Birdwhistell, Shelia K. Hulbig, Afton Jackson Jones, Jennifer Newell, Connie Payne
Journal: Evaluation and Program Planning

Veterans’ Treatment Courts (VTCs) are posited as a solution to offer rehabilitation for veterans involved in the criminal justice system. Despite the pervasive implementation of VTCs, there is little research focused specifically on VTC implementation and outcomes, which are based on other problem-solving court models such as drug court. The current study presents qualitative process evaluation data from key stakeholders (n = 21) and veteran participants (n = 4) to show accomplishments, challenges, and lessons learned during first-year implementation at two VTC sites. Quantitative performance data is also presented on veteran participants (n = 19) served during the first year to show: types of services, monitoring, judicial interaction, sanctions/therapeutic responses, and rewards, as well as preliminary data on recidivism. Qualitative data, from both key stakeholders and veteran participants, suggests that offering rehabilitation via various program components, services/referrals, and accountability are critical to the success of the VTC. Data also provides valuable lessons learned for VTC implementation including communication, collaboration, information/protocols, and resources. Performance data shows that a variety of services are utilized and that frequent judicial interaction, drug testing, and sanctions are cornerstones of the VTC. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.


Shannon, L. M., Birdwhistell, S., Hulbig, S. K., Jones, A. J., Newell, J., & Payne, C. (2017). Examining implementation and preliminary performance indicators of veterans treatment courts: The Kentucky experience. Evaluation and Program Planning63, 54–66.

Keywords: accountability, camaraderie, communication, mentoring, problem-solving courts, veterans treatment court


Participant Perceptions of Veterans Treatment Courts: A Qualitative Assessment and Systems Model

Authors: Joseph Herzog, Frank Ferdik, Diane Scott, Andrew S. Denney, Sabrina Conklin
Journal: Journal of Veterans Studies

This qualitative study explores veteran treatment court (VTC) participant perceptions of the judicial processes within the court, their experiences with the judge and other court actors, and the relationship between their military service and criminal activity. Purposive sampling was employed to recruit a sample of 13 justice-involved veterans, who at the time of interviewing, were being adjudicated in a VTC located in the southeastern United States. Semi-structured interviewing was used to capture veteran perceptions of VTC. Five unique themes emerged, while perceptions of court actors and the connection between their military service and crime had three themes, respectively. From these themes, we developed a maladaptive coping model to illustrate the experiences of veterans in veteran courts. The study results are intended to inform policy makers, judicial actors, and veteran service providers as they design judicial responses for veteran offenders.


Herzog, J. R. R., Ferdik, F. V., Scott, D. L., Denney, A. S., & Conklin, S. I. (2019). Participant Perceptions of Veterans Treatment Courts: A Qualitative Assessment and Systems Model. Journal of Veterans Studies4(2), 16.

Keywords: criminal justice, veterans, veterans treatment court


Predictors of Incarceration of Veterans Participating in U.S. Veterans’ Courts

Authors: R. Scott Johnson, M.D., J.D., Andrea G. Stolar, M.D., James F. McGuire, Ph.D., Krithika Mittakanti, M.D., Sean Clark, J.D., Loretta A. Coonan, L.C.S.W., David P. Graham, M.D., M.S.
Journal: Psychiatric Services

Objective: Significant variability exists regarding the criteria and procedures used by different veterans’ courts (VCs) across the country. Limited guidance is available regarding which VC model has the most successful outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine factors associated with incarceration during VC participation.


Methods: This study used data for 1,224 veterans collected from the HOMES (Homeless Operations Management and Evaluation System) database of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as data from a national phone survey inventory of all U.S. VCs. To identify variables associated with incarceration during VC participation, four backward conditional logistic regressions were performed.


Results: The following variables were associated with higher rates of incarceration because of a veteran’s noncompletion of the VC program: charges of probation or parole violations, longer stays in the VC program, end of VC participation because
of incarceration for a new arrest or case transfer by the legal system, and requiring mental health follow-up but not undergoing treatment. The following variables were
associated with lower rates of incarceration: stable housing and participating in a VC program that referred veterans for substance abuse treatment.


Conclusions: This study offers VCs a thorough review of an extensive set of recidivism data. Further investigation is necessary to understand the impact of VCs.


Johnson, R. S., Stolar, A. G., McGuire, J. F., Mittakanti, K., Clark, S., Coonan, L. A., & Graham, D. P. (2017). Predictors of Incarceration of Veterans Participating in U.S. Veterans’ Courts. Psychiatric Services68(2), 144–150.



Sex Differences in Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders and Treatment Entry Among Justice-involved Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration

Authors: Andrea Finlay, Ingrid A. Binswanger, David A. Smelson, Leon Sawh, Jim McGuire, Joel Rosenthal, Jessica Blue-Howells, Christine Timko, Janet Carolyn Blodgett, Alex Harris, Steven M. Asch, Susan Frayne
Journal: Medical Care

Background—Over half of veterans in the criminal justice system have mental health or substance use disorders. However, there is a critical lack of information about female veterans in the criminal justice system and how diagnosis prevalence and treatment entry differ by sex.


Objectives—To document prevalence of mental health and substance use disorder diagnoses and treatment entry rates among female veterans compared with male veterans in the justice system.


Research Design—Retrospective cohort study using national Veterans Health Administration clinical/administrative data from veterans seen by Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists in fiscal years 2010–2012.


Subjects—A total of 1535 females and 30,478 male veterans were included.

Measures—Demographic characteristics (eg, sex, age, residence, homeless status), mental health disorders (eg, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder), substance use disorders (eg, alcohol and opioid use disorders), and treatment entry (eg, outpatient, residential, pharmacotherapy).


Results—Among female veterans, prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders was 88% and 58%, respectively, compared with 76% and 72% among male veterans. Women had higher odds of being diagnosed with a mental health disorder [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.98; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.68–2.34] and lower odds of being diagnosed with a substance use disorder (AOR = 0.50; 95% CI, 0.45–0.56) compared with men. Women had lower odds of entering mental health residential treatment (AOR = 0.69; 95% CI, 0.57–0.83).


Conclusions—Female veterans involved in the justice system have a high burden of mental health disorders (88%) and more than half have substance use disorders (58%). Entry to mental health residential treatment for women is an important quality improvement target.


Finlay, A. K., Binswanger, I. A., Smelson, D., Sawh, L., McGuire, J., Rosenthal, J., Blue-Howells, J., Timko, C., Blodgett, J. C., Harris, A. H. S., Asch, S. M., & Frayne, S. (2015). Sex Differences in Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders and Treatment Entry Among Justice-involved Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration. Medical Care53(Supplement 4Suppl 1), S105–S111.

Keywords: criminal justice, mental disorders, mental health services, sex differences, substance use disorders, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans health


Take a Load off Fanny: Peer Mentors in Veterans Treatment Courts

Authors: Caroline I. Jalain, Elizabeth Grossi
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

This article explores the role of mentors in three veterans treatment courts (VTCs) in two Midwestern states. VTCs have existed for more than 10 years and continue to flourish across local, state, and federal jurisdictions. Yet, little is known about the factors related to program compliance, completion, and reductions in recidivism. Many VTCs consider peer mentors as a key link between the court workgroup, program participants, and ultimately program outcomes. Thus, this study uses individual and focus-group data from interviews with veteran mentors and VTC team members along with field observations in various VTC settings to better understand the role of peer mentors. The research begins with an overview of the recruitment, selection, training, and retention of mentors. Secondly, the study examines the impact of these mentor programs and concludes with recommendations for further evaluation of the role of mentors and other key stakeholders regarding program compliance, completion, and recidivism reduction.


Jalain, C. I., & Grossi, E. L. (2020). Take a Load off Fanny: Peer Mentors in Veterans Treatment Courts. Criminal Justice Policy Review31(8), 1165–1192.

Keywords: justice-involved veterans, peer mentors, veterans treatment court


Veterans Treatment Court Impact on Veteran Mental Health and Life Satisfaction

Authors: Linda M. Montgomery, Ph.D., James N. Olson, Ph.D.
Journal: Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Science

After discharge from the military, veterans may experience significant readjustment stress, including involvement with the criminal justice system. For veterans who find themselves in the criminal justice system, the Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) offers a pre-trial diversion program rather than incarceration. In 2016, the 285th District Court in Midland Texas began accepting veterans in their new VTC. Participation involved mental health and/or substance use treatment, attending mentoring groups, and employment. Over 18 months, 29 Veterans were invited to participate in the VTC; 26 entered the program, and of these, 16 successfully completed the program (graduated); 3 were discharged due to continued arrests, substance use, or failure to show for services. A battery of mental health and life satisfaction questionnaires were administered upon entry, 6 months, and 1 year. For Veterans who graduated, the PCL-5 and DASS-21 showed reduced PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and stress. Furthermore, the number of Veterans scoring in the normal range of symptoms on the PCL-5 and DASS-21 increased after 6 months. Graduates exhibited greater life satisfaction, social support, and psychological well-being, and had no interaction with law enforcement. It was suggested that peer restoration components of VTC programs are vital for success.


Montgomery, L. M., & N. Olson, J. (2018). Veterans Treatment Court Impact on Veteran Mental Health and Life Satisfaction. Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Science6(1), 1–4.

Keywords: military, peer support groups, social support, treatment outcome, veterans


Whom Do They Serve? A National Examination of Veterans Treatment Court Participants and Their Challenges

Author: Julie Marie Baldwin
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review

The veterans treatment court (VTC) is a recently developed specialized court that targets the growing population of veterans in contact with the criminal justice system. Using data collected from the first national survey of VTCs in 2012, this study explores who VTC participants are by creating a descriptive portrait of their personal and military characteristics and the legal, extralegal, and programmatic challenges they face. This study also examines the perceived relationships between military service and legal and extralegal issues. This research produces the first early illustration of VTC participants on a national level, finding similarity and variability across VTCs, in comparison with the national veteran population, and between servicemen and servicewomen on a variety of factors. Furthermore, this study identifies recent changes in the VTC participant population. Recommendations for VTC programs and for research on justice-involved veterans and active-duty personnel are provided in light of the fluid VTC population.


Baldwin, J. M. (2017). Whom Do They Serve? A National Examination of Veterans Treatment Court Participants and Their Challenges. Criminal Justice Policy Review28(6), 515–554.

Keywords: justice-involved veterans, military service, specialized court, veterans and crime, veterans treatment court


US Veterans’ Court Programs: An Inventory and Analysis of National Survey Data

Authors: R. Scott Johnson, Andrea G. Stolar, James F. McGuire, Sean Clark, Loretta A. Coonan, Paul Hausknecht, David P. Graham
Journal: Community Mental Health Journal

This study used data from a phone survey inventory of US veterans’ courts to provide descriptive information on the current status of their various elements. To identify which items were most predictive of a court’s percentage of subjects terminated from their program, a linear regression was performed. The following were associated with higher rates of termination from the veterans’ court (VC) program: (a) programs that offered phase progression based on measurable goals, (b) programs that conduct frequent drug and alcohol testing, and (c) programs for which sanctions are more severe for failing immediate goals (sobriety) versus long-term ones (completion of training). The following were associated with lower rates of termination from the VC program: (a) programs in which later phases permit less stringent testing, (b) programs utilizing behavioral contracts, (c) programs utilizing brief incarcerations. This inventory provides nationwide empirical data that may be used in the development of veterans’ courts.


Johnson, R. S., Stolar, A. G., McGuire, J. F., Clark, S., Coonan, L. A., Hausknecht, P., & Graham, D. P. (2016). US Veterans’ Court Programs: An Inventory and Analysis of National Survey Data. Community Mental Health Journal52(2), 180–186.

Keywords: court, VA, veteran, recidivism


Native American Juvenile Delinquents and the Tribal Courts: Who’s Failing Who?

Author: Sarah M. Patterson
Journal: New York Law School Journal of Human Rights


Patterson, S. M. (2000). Native American Juvenile Delinquents and the Tribal Courts: Who’s Failing Who? New York Law School Journal of Human Rights17(2), 801–834.



The Tribal Court Survives in America

Author: Tom Tso
Journal: The Judges’ Journal

The laws and courts of our nation can be considered, in one sense, the product of immigrants. To the original Americans, the first colonists brought foreign concepts of private ownership of land and stressed individual rights and responsibilities. While the immigrant concepts predominated, the Native Americans today retain aspects of their own tribal laws and ways. In effect, in Native American areas two sets of laws operate. We feel that it is important to recognize this other system of justice that still prevails in Indian lands. We focus here on one tribe’s story, the Navajo, and how their courts work. We believe there are lessons for all of us in the Navajo courts, and, in particular, those interested in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms will find much useful information in this article.


Tso, T. (1986). The Tribal Court Survives in America. Judges’ Journal25(2), 22–55.



Tribal Court Praxis: One Year in the Life of Twenty Indian Tribal Courts

Author: Nell Jessup Newton
Journal: American Indian Law Review


Newton, N. J. (1997). Tribal Court Praxis: One Year in the Life of Twenty Indian Tribal Courts. American Indian Law Review22(2), 285–353.



Tribal Courts and Federal Sentencing

Author: Kevin K. Washburn
Journal: Arizona State Law Journal


Washburn, K. K. (2004). Tribal Courts and Federal Sentencing. Arizona State Law Journal36(1), 403–450.



Tribal Courts and the Federal Union

Author: Robert N. Clinton
Journal: Willamette Law Review


Clinton, R. N. (1990). Tribal Courts and the Federal Union. Willamette Law Review26(4), 841–936.



Tribal Courts: Custom and Innovative Law

Author: Gloria Valencia-Weber
Journal: New Mexico Law Review


Valencia-Weber, G. (1994). Tribal Courts: Custom and Innovative Law. New Mexico Law Review24(2), 225–264.



Tribal Courts’ Failure to Protect Native American Women: A Reevaluation of the Indian Civil Rights Act

Author: Carla Christofferson
Journal: The Yale Law Journal


Christofferson, C. (1991). Tribal Courts’ Failure to Protect Native American Women: A Reevaluation of the Indian Civil Rights Act. The Yale Law Journal101(1), 169–185.



Tribal Courts: Protectors of the Native Paradigm of Justice

Author: B. J. Jones
Journal: St. Thomas Law Review


Jones, B. J. (1997). Tribal Courts: Protectors of the Native Paradigm of Justice. St. Thomas Law Review10(1), 87–94.



Tribal Courts, the Model Code, and the Police Idea in American Indian Policy The American Indian and the Law: The Historical and Administrative Context of American Indian Policy

Authors: Russel Lawrence Barsh, J. Youngblood Henderson
Journal: Law & Contemporary Problems


Barsh, R. L., & Henderson, J. Y. (1976). Tribal Courts, the Model Code, and the Police Idea in American Indian Policy The American Indian and the Law: The Historical and Administrative Context of American Indian Policy. Law and Contemporary Problems40(1), 25–60.



Tribal Immunity and Tribal Courts

Author: Catherine T. Shruve
Journal: Arizona State Law Journal


Struve, C. T. (2004). Tribal Immunity and Tribal Courts. Arizona State Law Journal36(1), 137–182.



A Process Evaluation of Toronto’s First Youth Mental Health Court

Authors: Krista M. Davis, Michele Peterson-Badali, Brian Weagant, Tracey A. Skilling
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Youth mental health courts are a relatively new type of specialty court designed to address the mental health needs of justice-involved youth, usually with the ultimate goal of desistance from future offending. As part of a process evaluation of Toronto’s first youth mental health court, court records and files for 127 youth who participated in the program from its inception in 2011 until August 2013 were reviewed to (1) describe the operation of the court and the clients it serves, (2) explore predictors of successful completion of court requirements, and (3) examine how the court addresses the mental health and criminogenic needs of its clients. Most clients successfully completed the court requirements, with case-processing time comparable to that of “traditional” youth courts; completers were more likely than non-completers to have a mental health diagnosis and higher initial treatment motivation. Half of youth received treatment targeted to their identified mental health needs. Analysis of a subsample of cases indicated that, for most youth, mental health issues were indirectly related to their offences, indicating the need to address criminogenic needs in addition to mental health needs in the court. Findings are discussed with regards to best practice for treating justice-involved youth with mental health needs.


Davis, K. M., Peterson-Badali, M., Weagant, B., & Skilling, T. A. (2015). A Process Evaluation of Toronto’s First Youth Mental Health Court. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice57(2), 159–188.

Keywords: evaluation, mental health court, rehabilitation, youth


A Theoretical Evaluation of a Youth Mental Health Court Program Model

Authors: Krista M. Davis, Michele Peterson-Badali, Tracey A. Skilling
Journal: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

Mental health courts are a promising new approach to addressing the overrepresentation of mental health needs among offender populations, yet little is known about how they facilitate change, particularly for youth. The current study reports on a process evaluation of a youth mental health court in Toronto, Canada. Drawing upon observations of the court and interviews with key informants, we developed a program model of the court and explored its implementation within the context of empirical evidence for treating justice-involved youth. Findings revealed that the proposed mechanism of change, which focuses on reducing recidivism through the treatment of mental health needs, should also consider factors directly related to offending behavior. Findings further highlight several strengths of the program, including the program’s supportive environment and ability to engage and link youth and families with treatment. Areas for continued growth include the need for comprehensive protections of legal rights.


Davis, K. M., Peterson-Badali, M., & Skilling, T. A. (2016). A theoretical evaluation of a youth mental health court program model. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry45, 17–24.

Keywords: justice, mental health court, rehabilitation, youth


Correlates of Competency to Stand Trial Among Youths Admitted to a Juvenile Mental Health Court

Authors: Eraka Bath, Lauren Reba-Harrelson, Robyn Peace, Jie Shen, Honghu Liu
Journal: The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

Competency to stand trial (CST) assessment of juvenile offenders is a relatively recent phenomenon, as are juvenile mental health courts. Factors associated with youths ’ ability to participate in legal proceedings are not well understood, regardless of the court venue. Using a sample of 324 juveniles participating in the Los Angeles County Juvenile Mental Health Court (LAJMHC), we sought to explore the relationships of age, mental health diagnosis, and history of mental health treatment to CST status. Results suggest youths under the age of 15 were significantly more likely to have been found incompetent to stand trial (IST) when compared with older youths (p .007). Youths with a diagnosis of a pervasive developmental disorder or intellectual disability were also more likely to be found IST than those without these diagnoses (p .02 and p .0001, respectively). Conversely, participants aged 16 or 17 years and diagnosed with a mood, substance abuse, or psychotic disorder were more likely to be found CST than those without these diagnoses (p .0001, p .035, and p .0064, respectively). Participants with a history of psychotherapy or psychotropic medication were more likely to be found CST than were those without any treatment history (p .0001). Further research on factors that affect CST status in juveniles who participate in mental health courts may be particularly salient to improve understanding of specific treatment and rehabilitative needs of youthful offenders, and to inform approaches to competency attainment and recidivism prevention services, both within these specialty courts and in juvenile proceedings in general.


Bath, E., & Liu, H. (2015). Correlates of Competency to Stand Trial Among Youths Admitted to a Juvenile Mental Health Court. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law43(3), 329–339.



Exploring Patterns of Court-Ordered Mental Health Services for Juvenile Offenders: Is There Evidence of Systemic Bias?

Authors: Anne Dannerbeck Janku, Jiahui Yan
Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior

Objective assessments of the risks and needs of court-involved youth may lead to judicial processing that is less vulnerable to actual or perceived racial discrimination. Using data from a statewide assessment system on African American and Caucasian status offenders and delinquents formally processed in one Missouri circuit over a 1-year period, the authors examined the association of race and other factors on court orders for mental health—related services. Relative to their population distribution, African Americans were overrepresented in the juvenile system and underrepresented in orders for mental health services. In the logit analysis, negative attitudes and behavior problems carried strong associations with orders for mental health services. Risk and need, not bias, were mostly strongly associated with orders for mental health treatment.


Janku, A. D., & Yan, J. (2009). Exploring Patterns of Court-Ordered Mental Health Services for Juvenile Offenders: Is There Evidence of Systemic Bias? Criminal Justice and Behavior36(4), 402–419.

Keywords: African Americans, court-ordered treatment, juvenile court, legal factors, logistic analysis, mental health needs, risk factors


Mental Illness and Juvenile Offenders

Authors: Lee A. Underwood, Aryssa Washington
Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Within the past decade, reliance on the juvenile justice system to meet the needs of juvenile offenders with mental health concerns has increased. Due to this tendency, research has been conducted on the effectiveness of various intervention and treatment programs/approaches with varied success. Recent literature suggests that because of interrelated problems involved for youth in the juvenile justice system with mental health issues, a dynamic system of care that extends beyond mere treatment within the juvenile justice system is the most promising. The authors provide a brief overview of the extent to which delinquency and mental illness co-occur; why treatment for these individuals requires a system of care; intervention models; and the juvenile justice systems role in providing mental health services to delinquent youth. Current and future advancements and implications for practitioners are provided.


Underwood, L. A., & Washington, A. (2016). Mental Illness and Juvenile Offenders. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health13(2), 228.

Keywords: adolescent, juvenile justice, mental illness, treatment programs


Race and Gender Recidivism Differences Among Juvenile Mental Health Court Graduates

Authors: Monic P. Behnken, Alison Bort, Megan Borbon
Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Grounded in the theory of therapeutic jurisprudence, this research explores whether recidivism differs by race, ethnicity, or gender among juvenile mental health court graduates (N = 63). Mean number of pre-program offenses were compared to the mean number of offenses committed by program completion. Results showed statistically significant reductions in recidivism by both males (p < .001) and females (p < .003). Racial and ethnic minorities demonstrated larger reductions when compared to Whites (p < .001 for Hispanics and p < .01 for combined ethnicities). These results contribute to the literature on effective intervention models for diverse juvenile offender populations.


Behnken, M. P., Bort, A., & Borbon, M. (2017). Race and Gender Recidivism Differences Among Juvenile Mental Health Court Graduates. Juvenile and Family Court Journal68(2), 19–31.

Keywords: gender, juvenile, mental health court, race, recidivism


Recidivism and Psychiatric Symptom Outcomes in a Juvenile Mental Health Court

Authors: Aaron M. Ramirez, James R. Andretta, Michael E. Barnes, Malcolm H. Woodland
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

Few researchers have examined outcomes in Juvenile Mental Health Courts. Recidivism rates were assessed among 108 predominantly African American (95.3%) youth. Ages ranged from 12 to 18 (M = 15.85, SD = 1.45). Substantially fewer re-convictions, along with re-arrests, were exhibited among the treatment group (n = 54) compared to the control group (n = 54) after one year of participation or probation supervision. Psychiatric symptomatology among 21 youth was assessed pre- and post- intervention using the Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scales-Self Report. Cohen’s d effect sizes indicated substantial reductions in mental health symptoms (.33 ≥ d ≤ .88). Results are consistent with the previous studies of problem-solving court efficacy.


Ramirez, A. M., Andretta, J. R., Barnes, M. E., & Woodland, M. H. (2015). Recidivism and Psychiatric Symptom Outcomes in a Juvenile Mental Health Court. Juvenile and Family Court Journal66(1), 31–46.



Reduction in Recidivism in a Juvenile Mental Health Court: A Pre- and Post-Treatment Outcome Study

Authors: Monic P Behnken, David E. Arredondo, Wendy Packman
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal

A review of an evaluation of the Court for the Individualized Treatment of Adolescents (a prototype Juvenile Mental Health Court in Santa Clara, California) is presented along with admission criteria. Participant demographics are described. McNemar Test and Paired T Test results show that study participants committed violent, aggressive, and property crimes in significantly lower numbers in the 23 months following court admission than in the 18 months preceding court admission, despite escalating patterns of antisocial behavior prior to court involvement. The importance of developing multidisciplinary models to address moderately severe offenders with serious mental illness is discussed.


Behnken, M. P., Arredondo, D. E., & Packman, W. L. (2009). Reduction in Recidivism in a Juvenile Mental Health Court: A Pre- and Post-Treatment Outcome Study. Juvenile and Family Court Journal60(3), 23–44.



The Impact of Juvenile Mental Health Court on Recidivism among Youth

Authors: Donna M. L Heretick, Joseph A. Russell
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Justice

As many as 70% of youth who enter the juvenile justice system are diagnosed with mental disorders. In 2009 alone, 1.54 million juveniles were arrested. Recidivism rates for these youth can be as high as 52%. Juvenile Mental Health Courts (JMHCs) in conjunction with Intensive Supervised Probation (ISP) is one initiative that addresses the special needs of these juveniles; however, there is limited outcome research with meaningful data comparing juveniles with and without access to JMHCs. This study employed a retrospective observational design to compare the recidivism outcomes of 81 youths (ages 10 to 17) who entered a JMHC in Colorado between 2005 and 2011 with recidivism outcomes for juveniles who entered a JMHC in California during the same time period. This study also compared the outcomes of juveniles in Colorado who were adjudicated and assigned to other forms of probation and diversion, and juveniles in the same state who were diagnosed with a mental disorder and assigned to intensive supervised probation, but who do not have access to a JMHC. Youth in the experimental group (i.e., those with access to the JMHC) showed significantly decreased recidivism rates during and following their probationary period than those in the comparison groups. Average time to reoffending for youth who completed JMHC successfully exceeded 1 year, with a significant reduction in violent/aggressive and property offenses. This article examines outcomes and includes recommendations for the future evaluation of JMHCs.


Heretick, D., & Russell, J. (2013). The Impact of Juvenile Mental Health Court on Recidivism among Youth. Journal of Juvenile Justice3(1), 7–17.

Keywords: juvenile justice, mental health court, program evaluation, recidivism