An Evaluation of Treatment in the Maine Adult Drug Courts

Perception of Legal Pressure Scale Scoring Notes

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Perception of Legal Pressure Scale Scoring Notes
The PLP instrument is a work in progress that remains under development. The current version includes 35 items. Item scores are summated to yield an overall score with higher scores indicating greater perceived legal pressure. At present, all items in the instrument are utilized for scoring except for questions 6 through 9. The tool is structurally divided into 3 subsections. The first 5 items provide information about the criminal justice and treatment actors that referred and are monitoring the respondent, and the nature of promises made by the respondent regarding the treatment mandate. The second section consists of Likert-scaled items about different aspects of coerced treatment. The last section addresses specific expectations and perceptions about consequences for failing to carry out the treatment mandate.

Questions 1 thru 5 are scored as counts of the actors identified by the respondent. To make this scoring comparable with the rest of the items and to reduce skewed scores, each of these is truncated at 3 (i.e., 3 or more on an item is scored as ‘3’). Scores can thus range from 0 to 3.

The Likert-type items in questions 10-31 are scored as 0-3. Responses on the form are recorded as 1-4, so 1 must be subtracted from the entered values, leaving values ranging from 0-3. The following items must be reverse coded so higher scores reflect greater perceived coercion: 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 30.
The final 4 items, questions 32-35, utilize a severity scale that ranges in value from 1 to 7. Scores associated with responses A-J (each of which specify a legal or treatment consequence) are shown below. For these items to be standardized, each scored value is divided by 2.33. Each of the items can thus range from 0-3.
Severity Scale

2 years in prison (F)


1 year in prison (B)


1 year in jail (H)


6 months in jail (C)


sent to long-term TX (A)


few days in jail (E)


warning & more drug tests/court (D)


returned to more intense outpatient (I)


more time in TX (J)


warning & essay (G)


The 31 scored items are summed and then rounded to the nearest integer (to eliminate decimals from items 32-35) to create the total PLP score. The hypothesized subscale dimensions of the PLP, including knowledge, monitoring, enforcement, and severity, are shown on the next page.

Hypothesized PLC Dimensions/Subscales
Information or Knowledge (8)

1. Number of sources referring

3. Number of promises made to legal agents comply with mandate

4. Number of legal agents explaining consequences of dropout

10. The legal agent made sure I clearly understood what would happen if I failed to complete this tx program.

12. The staff of this tx program have a good understanding of my legal situation and what would happen if I failed.

14. If I fail the program, what I hear from other participants is different from what the legal agent tells me.

21. The agent has been very consistent in explaining what would happen if I don't complete the tx program.

24. What I hear from the tx staff about what will happen if I fail is very consistent with what the agent tells me.
Monitoring (7)

2. Number of legal agents keeping track of treatment progress

5. Number of legal agents who find out if failed in treatment

13. If I quit going to the treatment program, it would take a week or more before the drug court found out.

19. If I used drugs occasionally, the drug court would probably not find out.

25. Every few weeks, someone on the treatment staff talks or writes the legal agent about how I'm doing.

29. Other participants tell me that the judge and other people in the court stay involved and closely monitor tx.

31. If I start missing meetings and doing poorly in the treatment program the agent will hear about it right away.

Enforcement (10)

15. If I miss a lot of days in the treatment program or if I use drugs, the judge will send me to jail for just a few days.

16. As long as I don’t split, the drug court will give me several chances before sending me to prison.

17. Going after and catching people who drop out from the drug court and split is a high priority.

18. Other participants think the judge will follow through and send them to prison if they keep messing up in tx.

20. I hear from other participants that the judge does not use jail to punish unless you break a lot of rules.

22. If I don't like this tx program, I can just talk to the agent and they will send me to another program.

23. Drug court judges threaten a lot, but they don't usually send people to jail for breaking rules.

26. I don't think the judge would really sentence me to prison if I fail in drug court.

28. I have heard that you can have several dirty drug tests in drug court before they will punish you.

29. If I split the tx program and get caught, I would probably get a warning and at least one more chance in tx.
Severity (6)

11. If it turns out I really don't like this tx program, I would probably just leave and deal with the consequences.

27. Having to do time in jail or prison would not be all that hard for me right now.

32. What do you think would happen in the drug court if you missed some meetings or had 1 or 2 dirty drug tests?

33. What do you think would happen if you split the program and then turned yourself in a month later?

34. What do you think would happen if you split the program and got rearrested for felony drug possession?

35. Which of these is closest to the minimum sentence you plad to when you opted into the drug court?

TCUFORMS/WWW/COEST-SG (12/98) 1 of 4






A. Self Esteem (SE)

8. You have much to be proud of.

9. In general, you are satisfied with yourself.

23. You feel like a failure. Ò

33. You feel you are basically no good. Ò

51. You wish you had more respect for yourself. Ò

60. You feel you are unimportant to others. Ò

B. Depression (DP)

3. You feel sad or depressed.

14. You have thoughts of committing suicide.

20. You feel lonely.

28. You feel interested in life. Ò

42. You feel extra tired or run down.

52. You worry or brood a lot.

C. Anxiety (AX)

15. You have trouble sitting still for long.

24. You have trouble sleeping.

39. You feel anxious or nervous.

41. You have trouble concentrating or remembering things.

46. You feel afraid of certain things, like elevators, crowds, or going out alone.

56. You feel tense or keyed-up.

62. You feel tightness or tension in your muscles.

D. Self Efficacy (PM)

“Pearlin Mastery Scale,” taken from Pearlin, L., & Schooler, C. (1978).

[The structure of coping. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 19, 2-21.]

6. You have little control over the things that happen to you. Ò

11. There is really no way you can solve some of the problems you have. Ò

17. There is little you can do to change many of the important things in your life. Ò

25. You often feel helpless in dealing with the problems of life. Ò

32. Sometimes you feel that you are being pushed around in life. Ò

45. What happens to you in the future mostly depends on you.

53. You can do just about anything you really set your mind to do.

Note. Numbers for each item indicate its location, and response categories are 1=Strongly Disagree

to 7=Strongly Agree. Each scale is scored by averaging responses to items and

multiplying by 10 (scores therefore range from 10 to 70); Ò designates items with reflected scoring.

E. Hostility (HS)

13. You feel mistreated by other people.

16. You like others to feel afraid of you.

30. You have urges to fight or hurt others.

35. You have a hot temper.

40. Your temper gets you into fights or other trouble.

49. You get mad at other people easily.

55. You have carried weapons, like knives or guns.

61. You feel a lot of anger inside you.

F. Risk Taking (RT)

1. You like to take chances.

10. You like the "fast" life.

21. You like friends who are wild.

22. You like to do things that are strange or exciting.

31. You avoid anything dangerous. Ò

48. You only do things that feel safe. Ò

57. You are very careful and cautious. Ò

G. Social Conformity (SC)

2. You feel people are important to you.

4. You feel honesty is required in every situation.

18. You have trouble following rules and laws. Ò

27. You depend on "things" more than "people". Ò

36. You keep the same friends for a long time.

43. You work hard to keep a job.

50. Your religious beliefs are very important in your life.

59. Taking care of your family is very important.


H. Treatment Readiness (TR)

7. You have too many outside responsibilities now to be in this treatment program. Ò

19. This treatment program seems too demanding for you. Ò

29. This treatment may be your last chance to solve your drug problems.

34. This kind of treatment program will not be very helpful to you. Ò

38. You plan to stay in this treatment program for awhile.

44. You are in this treatment program because someone else made you come. Ò

54. This treatment program can really help you.

58. You want to be in a drug treatment program.

I. External Pressures (EP – not scored as scale)

5. You have serious drug related health problems.

12. You could be sent to jail or prison if you are not in treatment.

26. You feel a lot of pressure to be in treatment.

37. You have legal problems that require you to be in treatment.

47. You are concerned about legal problems.

63. You have family members who want you to be in treatment.

TCUFORMS/WWW/COEST-SG (12/98) 3 of 4



“TC Offender Progress Scales” adapted from De Leon, G. (1997).

[Offender Self-Rated Progress Checklist. New York: Center for Therapeutic Community Research.]

For application and measurement properties, see Hiller, M. L. (1996).

[Correlates of recidivism and relapse for parolees who received in-prison substance abuse

treatment in Texas. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University.] and Melnick, G., De Leon, G.,

Thomas, G., Kressel, D., & Wexler, H. K. (1999). [Inmate motivation and participation in prison

treatment programs (Manuscript submitted for publication).]

J. Therapeutic Engagement (TE)

1. You feel and show concern for others during group counseling.

18. You accept being confronted by others during group counseling.

20. You confront others about their real feelings during group counseling.

22. You are willing to talk about your feelings during group counseling.

24. You say things to give support and understanding to others during group counseling.

26. You give honest feedback to others during group counseling.

K. Personal Progress (PP)

8. You have made progress with your drug/alcohol problems.

11. You have made progress with your emotional or psychological issues.

14. You have made progress toward your treatment program goals.

28. You have made progress in understanding your feelings and how they can influence behavior.

L. Trust Group (TG)

3. You trust the treatment staff.

5. You have developed positive trusting friendships while at this program.

30. You trust other offenders in this program.

34. You trust the security staff.

M. Program Staff (PSF)

7. The treatment staff cares about you and your problems.

10. The treatment staff is helpful to you.

13. The security staff cares about you and your problems.

16. The security staff is helpful to you.


N. Counselor Rapport (CR)

2. Your counselors are easy to talk to.

19. Your counselors speak in a way that you understand.

21. Your counselors respect you and your opinions.

23. Your counselors understand your situation and problems.

25. You trust your counselors.

27. Your counselors help you view problems/situations realistically.

29. Your counselors focus your thinking and planning.

31. Your counselors make you feel foolish or ashamed. Ò

TCUFORMS/WWW/COEST-SG (12/98) 4 of 4

O. Counselor Competence (CC)

4. Your counselors help you develop confidence in yourself.

6. Your counselors are well organized and prepared for each counseling session.

9. Your counselors develop treatment plans with reasonable objectives for you.

12. Your counselors keep you focused on solving specific problems.

15. Your counselors remember important details from your earlier sessions.

17. Your counselors help you make changes in your life.

32. Your counselors teach you useful ways to solve your problems.

33. You are motivated and encouraged by your counselors.


P. Treatment Services (TS)

1. This program location is convenient for you.

2. You need more educational or vocational training services.

4. Program staff here are efficient at doing their jobs.

6. Time schedules for counseling sessions at this program are convenient for you.

9. You get too much personal counseling at this program. Ò

11. You need more individual counseling sessions.

13. You need more group counseling sessions.

16. This program is organized and run well.

18. You need more lecture classes.

20. You are satisfied with this program.

22. You need more medical care and services.

24. You need more help with your emotional troubles.

28. This program is requiring you to learn responsibility and self-discipline.

Q. Peer Support (SUP)

3. Other offenders at this program care about you and your problems.

8. Other offenders at this program are helpful to you.

15. You are similar to (or like) other offenders of this program.

26. There is a sense of family (or community) in this program.

R. Social Support (SS)

5. Several people close to you have serious drug problems. Ò

7. You have people close to you who respect you and your efforts in this program.

10. You have people close to you who understand your situation and problems.

12. You have people close to you who can always be trusted.

14. You have people close to you who motivate and encourage your recovery.

17. You have people close to you who expect you to make positive changes in your life.

19. You have improved your relations with other people because of this treatment.

21. Other offenders in this program are helpful in your recovery.

23. You have people close to you who help you develop confidence in yourself.

25. You have close family members who help you stay away from drugs.

27. You work in situations where drug use is common. Ò

29. You have good friends who do not use drugs.
Appendix D.
Table 1.

Pearson Correlations

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