Online Program

Impact of mental health treatment history on drug court completion

Monday, November 4, 2013

Michael Fendrich, PhD, Center for Applied Behavioral Health Research, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Thomas P. LeBel, Ph.D., Department of Criminal Justice, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Background: Currently, thousands of drug involved offenders are serving in programs nationwide where teams of drug court professionals (judges, prosecutors, and public defenders) typically assign them to a year long regimen of residential and outpatient treatment options, periodic drug testing, appearances before the judge and case management in lieu of jail and prison sentences. Despite this massive reallocation of treatment resources to drug courts, at best, overall completion rates in many programs seldom exceed fifty percent. Methods: Noting that many participants enter such programs with comorbid mental health diagnoses, we investigated the impact of this variable on completion in one urban, Midwestern drug treatment court. We conducted logistic regression analyses employing background screening data and data on drug court completion provided over the course of a three-year period by 138 drug treatment court participants. Models controlled for race/ethnicity, gender, age and the drug relatedness of the participants' criminal charges. Results: The overall rate of successful completion was 37% and 49% of the participants had a history of mental health treatment in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Those with a history of mental health treatment had .43 times the odds of program completion compared to others (95% confidence interval: .20, .91). Conclusions: Even though drug treatment court programs focus on substance abuse treatment, our findings suggest that increased attention to client mental health needs is warranted. As many clients have mental health treatment needs, future success of drug treatment court programs may hinge on their adoption of integrated service models.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the impact of history of mental health treatment on the probability of drug court completion in an Midwestern, urban setting.

Keyword(s): Criminal Justice, Substance Abuse Treatment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principal investigator of the evaluation for the project which provided the data that we are presenting. I have a twenty five year history of successfully conducting research on the substance abuse epidemiology the impact of criminal justice interventions. I have received grants from SAMHSA and NIDA and serve on the editorial board of major research journals focused on substance abuse.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.