Date of Award:

6-13-2012

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Education (MEd)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

David Stein

Abstract

Drug use has become an epidemic in our nation, filling our jails and prisons with nonviolent offenders. Studies have shown that adult drug courts are a good alternative to the prison system by being successful in reducing recidivism and long term costs. To date, however, few studies have looked specifically at the effectiveness of juvenile drug courts and their cost effectiveness. Further, the possible benefits of lower attrition rate and cost benefit are being overshadowed by the low attrition rate among juvenile drug court participants. Nearly half of all juvenile drug court participants do not complete the juvenile drug court program. Additionally, studies have shown that juvenile participants who do graduate have lower attrition rates and other benefits. Due to the benefits of juveniles who graduate from a juvenile drug court program, understanding the difference between those who graduate and those who do not can add significant understanding on how juvenile drug courts can be modified in order to help juveniles successfully graduate from the drug court program. This study will shed light on specific pre-drug court demographics and behaviors that were different among juveniles who successfully graduate and those who are unsuccessful in graduating from the juvenile drug court program. The Idaho Supreme Court, which oversees the JDC program in Idaho, collaborated in this effort by providing a statewide juvenile drug court data set, drawn from the Idaho Statewide Trial Court Automated System (ISTARS). The data set included all information that was gathered for drug court participants during the January 2004 - December 2005 period, for who had completed the program either successfully or unsuccessfully. Subsequent analysis of the data clarified the difference between groups of those who graduated and those who did not graduate, specifically that a significant difference was found between groups in the following characteristics: gender, school attendance, and in-treatment drug tests.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on July 30, 2012.

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