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Crim Justice Behav. 2012 Apr 1;39(4):514-532.

Adaptive Programming Improves Outcomes in Drug Court: An Experimental Trial.

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1
Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.

Abstract

Prior studies in Drug Courts reported improved outcomes when participants were matched to schedules of judicial status hearings based on their criminological risk level. The current experiment determined whether incremental efficacy could be gained by periodically adjusting the schedule of status hearings and clinical case-management sessions in response to participants' ensuing performance in the program. The adjustments were made pursuant to a priori criteria specified in an adaptive algorithm. Results confirmed that participants in the full adaptive condition (n = 62) were more than twice as likely as those assigned to baseline-matching only (n = 63) to be drug-abstinent during the first 18 weeks of the program; however, graduation rates and the average time to case resolution were not significantly different. The positive effects of the adaptive program appear to have stemmed from holding noncompliant participants more accountable for meeting their attendance obligations in the program. Directions for future research and practice implications are discussed.

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