This report presents the methodology, findings, and recommendations of an evaluation of the Hualapi Wellness Court (HWC) of the Hualapai Tribe in Northwestern Arizona, which provided access to holistic, structural, and phased substance-abuse treatment and rehabilitation services for both adults and juveniles that incorporated tribal culture and tradition.
The HWC operated from March 1999 through October 2003, serving 64 adults and 36 juveniles with substance abuse problems related to their offending. The evaluation found no statistically significant relationship between graduation from the program and subsequent recidivism; graduates were as likely to be arrested for a postprogram alcohol or drug offense as participants terminated from the program; however, terminated adult participants (either due to noncompliance or arrest) reoffended earlier (average of 101 days) than adult graduates (285 days). The recidivism rate for all adults who participated in the program was 54 percent. The majority of arrests were for public intoxication. The outcomes for the juvenile Wellness Court were less clear; 75 percent of the juvenile participants had a postprogram arrest; unlike the adults, there was no difference in time to recidivism between those who graduated and those who did not. There were success stories, however. Several HWC participants commented that they had "slowed down" their alcohol and drug use, and they were not arrested as often after participating in the program. Also, some were able to stay on a job and provide for themselves and their families. The strengths of the program were home and school liaison involvement, making substance abuse treatment part of the participants' lives, the incorporation of traditional healing practices, therapeutic sanctions for juveniles, and team building at planning meetings. Some weaknesses were the failure to integrate the judicial feature of the court with the treatment phase and the irregular use of traditional healing activities. 42 tables and 2 references
Date Published: December 1, 2005