The proposed study builds upon our NIDA-funded line of health-services research aimed at systematically isolating the effects of the various """"""""Key Components"""""""" of a drug court as defined by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP, 1997). In a series of randomized, controlled analyses, we have been studying the effects of different approaches to scheduling judicial status hearings in five adult drug courts throughout Delaware. Baseline recruitment and during-treatment assessments will be ending in one of those courts by August of 2001, and all of the stakeholders of that court have requested that we conduct a subsequent controlled evaluation of another core element of their program. In close collaboration with all of the court stakeholders, we are now proposing to randomly assign consenting misdemeanor drug offenders to receive either (1) negative sanctions for program infractions, (2) positive rewards for program accomplishments, or (3) both sanctions for infractions and rewards for accomplishments. Apart from the experimental manipulation of sanctions and rewards, the conditions will be identical. All subjects will receive the same treatment and case management services, the same schedule of judicial status hearings, and the same schedule of urinalysis monitoring. We will evaluate subjects' illicit drug use, criminal recidivism, alcohol use, and psychosocial functioning monthly during treatment and at 6 and 12 months post-admission to drug court, and we will monitor state criminal justice databases for 24 months post-admission. We have designed sanction and reward conditions that (1) are based upon empirically validated behavioral principles, (2) are representative of the types of sanction and incentive arrangements that are commonly used in drug courts, and (3) will be capable of continued implementation in the current drug court after the conclusion of the study. This study will further advance our efforts to subject """"""""real world"""""""" drug courts to controlled, parametric analyses of the effects of their core services. By isolating the specific effects of various components of drug courts, we will determine the optimum manner in which to structure and deliver services for this promising intervention.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Liberman, Akiva M
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Treatment Research Institute, Inc. (TRI)
United States
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