Outcome trajectories in drug court: Do all participants have serious drug problems?

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Graduation rates in drug courts average 50% to 70%, but it is unclear what proportion of graduates responded to the drug court services and what proportion might not have had serious drug problems on entry. This study cluster analyzes urine drug screen results during the first 14 weeks of treatment on 284 participants from three misdemeanor drug courts. A four-cluster solution (R 2 >.75) produced distinct subgroups characterized by (a) consistently drug-negative urine specimens (34% of the sample), (b) consistently drug-positive specimens (21%), (c) consistently missed urine specimens (26%), and (d) urine specimens that began as drug positive but became progressively drug negative over time (19%). These data suggest that approximately one third of the participants might not have had serious drug problems on entry. Approximately one fifth appeared to respond to drug court services, and nearly one half continued to exhibit problems after 14 weeks. Implications for adaptive programming in drug courts are discussed. © 2009 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology.

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Criminal Justice and Behavior





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This article was published in Criminal Justice and Behavior, Volume 36, Issue 4, Pages 354-368.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0093854809331547.

Copyright © 2009.

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