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Drug Abuse, Treatment, and Probationer Recidivism

NCJ Number
Date Published
32 pages
Based on data obtained from the 2000 Illinois Probation Outcome Study (n=3,017), this study examined the link between drug use and recidivism among this sample of probationers and considered how participation in and completion of drug treatment influenced this link.

Findings show that probationers with substance abuse histories (64 percent of the sample) were more likely to recidivate and to do it more quickly after discharge from probation compared with nondrug-using probationers. Probationers with a history of drug abuse were 1.2 times more likely to be arrested in the 4 years following discharge and 1.3 times more likely to be arrested on a drug-related charge. In addition, probationers who had a history of drug arrests were also more likely to have been arrested following discharge from probation. Individuals who served time on probation for a drug-related offense were 1.7 times more likely to be arrested for a subsequent drug crime. Participation in substance abuse treatment reduced the chances of recidivism, but only for those who completed the full course of treatment. Probationers who participated in but failed to complete treatment were the most likely to recidivate. Probationers who did not complete treatment had a recidivism rate of 33 percent 1 year after discharge and 67 percent after the fourth year. In contrast, the cumulative survival curves for the nondrug-abusing probationers was 20 percent after the first year and 44 percent at the end of the fourth year. Probationers who completed the full course of treatment had recidivism rates of 12 percent after the first year and 37 percent after the fourth year. The findings show the importance of drug-using probationers receiving and completing treatment. Future research should identify the factors that best predict treatment completion. The sample was discharged from probation between October 30 through November 30, 2000. 3 tables, 1 figure, 51 references, and appended description of variables and descriptive statistics by treatment provision and completion

Date Published: January 1, 2006