Exploring the Effectiveness of Drug Courts: Is There a Need for Gender-Specific Treatment?

Shelley Johnson Listwan, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Jennifer L. Hartman, Univ. of North Carolina at Charlotte

Although an estimated 700 drug courts are in operation throughout the nation, serving over 220,000 men and women offenders, little is known about the effectiveness of drug courts for women. While previous research has suggested that women are less likely to participate in drug treatment than their male counterparts due to (1) harsher social stigma and (2) being the primary caretaker of children (DOJ, 1998), it remains equivocal if drug courts are successful with women and whether gender-specific treatment is necessary. The current project presents data (n= 373) from one Midwestern drug court to explore demographics, drug use patterns and preferences, and treatment needs among women and men. In addition, multiple outcome measures will be examined to assess whether the drug court is having a differential effect by gender. The results of this study will be used to determine whether women present different needs and whether the courts should be implementing gender specific treatment strategies.

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Updated 05/20/2006