Improving Drug Courts: Ask the Experts--The Clients!

Margaret Leigey, University of Delaware
Grant Bacon, University of Delaware

ABSTRACT
The purpose of this poster is to display the comments and suggestions of approimately four hundred adults who participated in the Delaware Superior Court Drug Court Program between 2000 and 2003. Upon graduation or termination from Drug Court, respondents were questioned about their experience in the program and asked how this experience could have been more beneficial to them. Responses were divided into two categories: comments about the treatment facility and comments about the courtroom/judicial interaction. Using a grounded theory approach, clients' feedback was further dichotomized into 1) negative comments/suggestions for improvement and 2) positive comments/no need for improvement.

In general study participants favorably evaluated the counselors and believed the educational component of the treatment program to be informative and helpful. Clients desired more individual counseling and preferred counselors and staff who were former addicts. The drug court judges received high ratings as well; they were found to be respectful, fair, and trustworthy. Respondents suggested that more convenient status hearings (morning/evening) would help alleviate conflicts with work schedules and childcare responsibilities.

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Updated 05/20/2006