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Drug Court Participants' Satisfaction with Treatment and the Court Experience

NCJ Number
Drug Court Review Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: Summer 2002 Pages: 39-82
Christine A. Saum Ph.D.; Frank R. Scarpitti Ph.D.; Clifford A. Butzin Ph.D.; Victor W. Perez M.A.; Druretta Jennings M.L.T; Alison R. Gray B.A.
Date Published
44 pages
This article discusses the opinions of clients of their treatment and courtroom experiences in a Delaware drug treatment court.
There is little research on the impact of drug court programs on the participants. It is believed that levels of participant satisfaction with drug court can influence motivation to change, program participation, and treatment retention rates. Data were presented from 312 interviews with drug court clients shortly after discharge. Questions were designed to examine general satisfaction with drug court, reasons for drug court entry, and to elicit participants’ opinions of logistical issues, treatment staff and service delivery, judicial interactions, and a variety of program components. Results show that the clients that were most satisfied with drug court were married, infrequent substance users for whom the drug court program was their first experience with treatment. The drug court was found to be least satisfying for daily substance abusers with prior treatment experience, indicating that the program did not meet the needs and/or expectations of the more serious drug user. Logistical issues, including transportation and program timing, were more likely to negatively affect non-completers than completers. Avoiding jail/prison and having charges dropped were the primary reasons for program entry. Fewer participants indicated getting treatment as an important reason to enter drug court. Program completers were more likely to feel that treatment staff were supportive, to trust the judges, and to believe that the program would reduce their likelihood of relapse and recidivism. Overall, most drug court clients were satisfied with their treatment and courtroom experiences. 4 tables, 12 references