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NCJ Number: 220269 Find in a Library
Title: Strange Bedfellows: The Tensions of Coerced Treatment
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review  Volume:18  Issue:3  Dated:September 2007  Pages:260-273
Author(s): Kevin W. Whiteacre
Date Published: September 2007
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on interviews with staff and participants in a juvenile drug court, this exploratory study identified tensions that stemmed from the use of sanctions to coerce participation and retention in substance-abuse treatment.
Abstract: The findings indicated the presence of ambivalence and ideological tensions among drug court staff regarding using the threat of sanctions in order to gain offenders' compliance with treatment regimens. There was conflict among staff members over the types of punishments and rewards that should be used and when they should be applied. This tension was magnified because of the persistence of noncompliant juveniles and program failures under the coercive treatment model. Had there been evidence of a uniform pattern of successful outcomes under coercive treatment, the tension it caused among staff might have been resolved. When failures occurred under the coercive treatment regimen of the drug court, staff tended to rationalize the failures by blaming the involved juveniles as being "unmotivated" to benefit from treatment, rather than blaming the system itself. This analysis is flawed, however, because the rationale for coerced treatment is that even unmotivated individuals will benefit from involuntary treatment. Future research should examine why coerced treatment creates tension and disagreement among drug court staff members and whether evaluations of such a regimen, compared with other types of regimens for drug-abusing offenders, might resolve the tension. Open-ended qualitative interviews were conducted with 25 juvenile participants in a drug court, the judge, defender, prosecutor, 3 probation officers, and 6 treatment counselors. Dozens of court compliance hearings and prehearing staff meetings were also observed for 1 year. 4 notes and 23 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile drug courts
Index Term(s): Custody vs treatment conflict; Involuntary treatment; Juvenile drug abusers; Juvenile drug treatment; Treatment/Therapeutic Community
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