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Perceptions of Drug Court: How Offenders View Ease of Program Completion, Strengths and Weaknesses, and the Impact on Their Lives

NCJ Number
National Drug Court Institute Review Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Dated: Summer 1999 Pages: 61-85
Date Published
December 1986
25 pages
Interviews with 29 participants in the Maricopa County (Ariz.) drug court program 3 years after their placement gathered information on their perceptions of the difficulty of completing program requirements, the program's strengths and weaknesses, and the program's helpfulness related to their attaining their goals.
The program began in 1992 and was modeled after the FIRST drug court program in Alameda County (Calif.). It combined specialized drug treatment with court supervision and used behavioral contracts, including status hearings before the judge, a system of rewards and sanctions, a phased outpatient treatment regimen, and urinalysis. Results of the evaluation revealed that at 36 months, drug court participants were less likely than nonparticipants to receive technical violations, and fewer were arrested during the follow-up period. In addition, participants reported that it was easier to comply with treatment-related requirements than with other requirements. Participants split on their perceptions of the program's helpfulness and ranked some components as being stronger than others. Many participants regarded the drug court as more helpful in remaining crime- free than drug-free. Negative perceptions were particularly apparent in terms of obtaining and maintaining employment. However, 76 percent would recommend the program to others. Tables, figures, footnotes, and 17 references

Date Published: December 1, 1986