Predicting Success in the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court: The Influence of Personal Characteristics and Suspended Sentence Length

Brook W. Kearley, University of Maryland at College Park
Denise C. Gottfredson, University of Maryland at College Park

While findings regarding drug treatment court (DTC) outcomes have been positive, said findings are often based on small-scale, local process evaluations. Further, few studies have provided information on the kind of individuals who are most likely to achieve success in DTCs, and little is known about the structural and process characteristics of DTCs and how those characteristics relate to succcessful outcomes. Using data from a randomized study of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court, this paper attempts to address some of the weaknesses of prior research. The predictors of successful DTC graduation were explored through an examination of personal characteristics such as age, race, gender, marital status, employment, education, dependents, type of charge, prior arrests, prior convictions, and addiction severity. In addition, the length of the suspended sentence was examined to assess the degree to which the threat of sentence reimposition encouraged successful outcomes. Findings from the logistic regression analysis suggest that addiction severity level and court of assignment are important predictors of graduation from the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court. Future research is necessary to explore the extent of both unmeasured differences between the District and Circuit Court populations and differential handling of these offender groups.

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Updated 05/20/2006