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Developing a Culturally Proficient Intervention for Young African American Men in Drug Court: Examining Feasibility and Estimating an Effect Size for Habilitation Empowerment Accountability Therapy (HEAT)

NCJ Number
Douglas B. Marlowe; Lisa M. Shannon; Bradley Ray; Darryl P. Turpin; Guy A. Wheeler; Jennifer Newell; Spencer G. Lawson
Date Published
May 2018
12 pages
Preliminary findings and methodologies are reported for two pilot studies that examined the feasibility of implementing a culturally proficient curriculum for young African-American men participating in drug courts.
The curriculum is named Habilitation Empowerment Accountability Therapy (HEAT). It incorporates drug-court participants' African-American cultural heritage and life experiences with racism and discrimination as core elements of the intervention. HEAT is a culturally proficient, strength-based, and trauma-informed group counseling intervention designed for African-American men between 18 and 29 years old who are engaged in problematic substance use and involved in the criminal justice system. Clinical experience also indicates that HEAT may be delivered effectively to other young men of color who share comparable experiences of racial or ethnic discrimination and negative cultural stereotypes. The intensive curriculum is delivered over a period of about 9 months. Before entering the group, participants complete a 12-hour orientation process that involves two 4-hour orientation session and a 4-hour learning assignment. This orientation is geared toward resolving potential barriers to treatment success, including distrust or resentment of authority figures. The curriculum is divided into three areas that focus on the self, the family, and the community. Some sessions apply traditional cognitive behavioral therapy strategies. One pilot study examined the feasibility of implementing HEAT in a drug court program, with attention to participants' response to the intervention. The second study's objective was to determine whether HEAT shows promise for increasing drug court retention of young African-American men. Findings from these two pilot studies provide preliminary support for HEAT in improving success rates in drug courts for young African-American men. 2 tables, 1 figure, and 87 references