An Evaluation of Treatment in the Maine Adult Drug Courts


Impact of Drug Court on Psychosocial Functioning of the Offender



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Impact of Drug Court on Psychosocial Functioning of the Offender

From the instruments that were used in the study, several scales were created to reflect psychological and social functioning of the offenders, treatment experiences and criminal justice system experiences. These scales and their descriptive statistics are listed in Appendix C. The survey items used to construct the addiction severity index were not used to construct this index (The ASI was not used in these models because offenders preferred not to answer the ASI questions as part of the follow-up surveys.)



Measuring Progress in Treatment. To identify indicators of progress over time in the psychological, social, treatment, and legal scales, we conducted several T-tests (see Table 19). First we compared scale measures for offenders who were in the drug court for less than 3 months to those that were in the drug court for more than 3 months regardless of treatment phase. These results are presented in the first three columns. They show that those who had been in the drug court program more than 3 months had significantly lower anxiety and hostility measures as well as less risk taking behavior than at baseline. They also scored significantly higher scores on social conformity scale and therapeutic engagement. They had made more personal progress, felt more positive about program staff and scored higher on counselor rapport.

Although these findings offer important insight about the characteristics that differentiate those who progress longer in the drug court, it is equally important to explore whether or not individuals in the program experience change on any of these scales as a result of program involvement. To examine this possibility, we conducted a paired-samples t-test comparing offender scores at the baseline survey with their scores at the 3 month follow-up (see last column table 18). Those factors that changed over the course of the program are depression where the score was significantly lower at the 3 month follow-up. There was also a decrease in hostility and risk-taking behavior. There was more social conformity and higher therapeutic involvement. All of these are indicators of progress in treatment, particularly as lower hostility scores indicate that the offender is becoming more receptive to change and addressing issues in their behaviors. Increased therapeutic involvement also indicates that the offender is becoming vested in the treatment process.



What these findings suggest is that there are some static factors that are related to an offender’s progress through the drug court program. These factors include the offender’s ability to identify personal progress and their attitudes toward the program staff, counselor rapport and counselor competence. Additionally, there are other factors that are not only related to progress, but also show change in the expected direction while in the program.


Table 19. T-Test Comparisons of Drug Court Progress




Independent samples T-test

(baseline only comparison)




Paired-Samples T-Test

(baseline – 3 mon)




mean < = 3months (n=32)

mean >3 months (n=53)

diff.




diff. (n=56)

Self Esteem scale

49

52

3.7




3




Depression Psych scale

30

30

0.5




-3

*

Anxiety self-scale

39

32

-7.3

*

-4




Self-Efficacy

51

53

2.5




-5

*

Hostility-social function scale

33

26

-7.6

**

-3

*

Risk Taking-social function

44

35

-8.1

**

-3

*

Social Conformity

48

52

4.4

*

3

*

Treatment Readiness

57

57

0




0




External Pressures

48

46

-1.37




-2




Therapeutic Engagement

51

56

5.3

*

3

*

Personal Progress

56

62

6.4

**

1




Trust Group

50

53

2.8




1




Program Staff

51

58

6.9

*

2




Peer support

49

52

2.9




2




Social Support

52

56

4.2




2




Treatment Services

42

45

3.5




1




Counselor rapport

53

59

6.1

*

2




Counselor Competence

53

59

6

*

3




Perception of Legal Pressure

77

75

-2.5




0.5




* p < 05



















** p <.01





















Bivariate Predictors of Drug Court Outcomes. The next issue is to determine which of the administrative, psychological, social, and treatment factors distinguish among those in the active, graduated, and expelled outcomes. We conducted a multinomial logistic regression to compare effects for a dependent variable with three outcomes (graduated, active, and expelled). First we examine the offenders circumstances upon entering the program and for analytic purposes we refer to these as the administrative or background variables such as whether or not the offender was employed upon entering the program, if they had a partner at the time of admission, if they were dual diagnosed, drug of choice (alcohol vs. narcotics), if they were a polyuser, drug use frequency, gender, race, age at first criminal activity, age at first drug use, age at admission, number of prior arrests, number of prior drug arrests, number of prior convictions, last grade completed and if they were on probation.

In Table 19 the results of multinomial logistic regression are presented. Each variable was entered separately into the model and the bivariate coefficients for each variable are shown. Highlighted in bold are the variables that show significance for at least one comparison group. No factors were significant for all three comparisons. According to Table 19, there are some significant factors that distinguish the graduated from the active group. Those in the active group had more drug arrests, prior arrests and convictions than those in the graduated group. Those in the active group were also more likely than those in the graduated group to have had a partner at the time of admission.



Several factors also distinguished the graduated from the expelled groups. Those in the graduated group were more likely than those in the expelled group to have had a partner at the beginning of the program. Offenders that graduated were also more likely than those who were expelled to have been employed at admission. Finally, offenders that graduated were less likely to have experienced control-oriented sanctions. Offenders that graduated were more likely than active offenders to have completed more years of education. The only factor that distinguished the expelled from the active group was the use of control-oriented sanctions. Expelled offenders were more likely than active and graduated offenders to have experienced control oriented sanctions.





Table 20. Bivariate Multinomial Logistic Regression Results Predicting Status at End of Study - Administrative Variables


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