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Predictors of Engagement in Court-Mandated Treatment: Findings at the Brooklyn Treatment Court, 1996-2000

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 33 Issue: 4 Dated: 2001 Pages: 87-124
Michael Rempel; Christine Depies Destefano
Date Published
38 pages
This article examined the factors that predicted engagement in drug court treatment programs, and thus successful completion of such programs, in Brooklyn, New York.
The authors point out that previous research has indicated that legal coercion is an important motivating factor in entering and remaining in drug treatment programs. However, some subgroups face a high risk of dropping out of such treatment programs; thus it is important to identify those factors that predict engagement in treatment. This study analyzed predictors of treatment engagement at the Brooklyn Treatment Court (BTC). The authors examined retention in the BTC program for at least 90 days of treatment and also analyzed engagement in treatment, which they defined as the completion of four consecutive months of drug-free and sanction-less participation. Results of multivariate analysis indicated that the level of legal coercion, usually enforced by the threat of incarceration in the event of program failure, strongly predicted both retention and engagement in the treatment program. Another indicator of engagement was the legal/emotional coercion faced by participants who had pending Family Court cases, the outcome of which depended upon successful participation in the drug court program. The authors also found that participation in the drug court program during the 30 day period following program entry was also an important prediction of engagement in treatment. Failure to begin treatment within 30 days of program entry strongly predicted participation failure. The authors noted that several other characteristics were also predictive of program failure, including age of the participant, primary drug of heroin, prior misdemeanor convictions, and residence in a neighborhood characterized by greater social isolation. In conclusion, the authors suggest that future research should concentrate on comparing urban, suburban, and rural drug court treatment programs, as well as examining jurisdictions of differing socioeconomic and racial compositions. Figures, tables, and references


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