Assessing Two Modes of Legal Pressure in Coerced Treatment: Deferred-Prosecution vs. Deferred-Sentencing

Hung-En Sung, Columbia University
Steven Belenko, Columbia University
Li Feng, Kings County District Attorney's Office

ABSTRACT
The Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison Program (DTAP) was initiated in 1990 to divert non-violent repeat felons with drug problems into community-based residential treatment. The program has been able to achieve relatively high treatment retention and reduced post-treatment recidivism. Assumptions of DTA's design is that the certainty of impending punishment motivates defendants to remain in treatment. In January 1998, DTAP model changed from a deferred-prosecution program that holds the indictment in abeyance to a deferred-sentencing program in which all defendants, prior to being admitted into treatment, now enter a plea and are informed of the length of their sentence. A quasi-experimental design is used to compare 120 DTAP participants, admitted treatment prior to January 1, 19978 (Deferred Prosecution-DTPA), with 120 DTAP participants admitted to treatment after January 1, 1998, (Deferred Sentencing-DTAP). The goal is to determine whether greater certainty of punishment has had any effect on treatment engagement and retention.

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Updated 05/20/2006