Adapting judicial supervision to the risk level of drug offenders: Discharge and 6-month outcomes from a prospective matching study

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This article reports recent findings from a program of experimental research examining the effects of adapting judicial supervision to the risk level of drug-abusing offenders. Prior studies revealed that high-risk participants with (1) antisocial personality disorder or (2) a history of drug abuse treatment performed significantly better in drug court when they were scheduled to attend frequent, bi-weekly judicial status hearings in court. Low-risk participants performed equivalently regardless of the schedule of court hearings. The current study prospectively matched misdemeanor drug court clients to the optimal schedule of court hearings based upon an assessment of their risk status, and compared outcomes to those of clients randomly assigned to the standard schedule of court hearings. Results confirmed that high-risk participants graduated at a higher rate, provided more drug-negative urine specimens at 6 months post-admission, and reported significantly less drug use and alcohol intoxication at 6 months post-admission when they were matched to bi-weekly hearings as compared to the usual schedule of hearings. These findings yield practical information for enhancing the efficacy and cost-efficiency of drug court services. Directions for future research on adaptive programming for drug offenders are discussed. © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Drug and alcohol dependence



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S4; S13

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S4; S13


This article was published in Drug and alcohol dependence, Volume 88, Suppl. 1.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2006.12.010 .

Copyright © 2007 Elsevier.

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