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J Natl Med Assoc. 2019 Apr;111(2):134-147. doi: 10.1016/j.jnma.2018.10.007. Epub 2018 Nov 6.

Order in The Court? The Association Between Substance Use, Exposure to Violence, Risky Sexual Behaviors & Observed Court Behaviors Among Women Involved in the Criminal Justice System.

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Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:
Assistant Member, Moffitt Cancer Center, USA.
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Department of Epidemiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Department of Human Services, St. Louis, USA.
Circuit Judge, MO, USA.


Drug courts, therapeutic justice programs for individuals charged with drug offenses, have sub-optimal completion rates. The Courtroom Behavior Checklist (CRBCL), an assessment that quantifies readiness for drug court and drug court behaviors, was developed to predict female offenders who may be at-risk for non-compliance and termination. Data derived from 264 mainly urban women recruited from a Municipal Drug Court System in St. Louis, MO, were used to evaluate the association between substance use, victimization, HIV/AIDS risk behaviors, and observed drug court behaviors. Results showed that women who reported recent substance use or were categorized as at risk for HIV/AIDS were significantly more likely to have scores indicative of unfavorable drug court behaviors, while women who experienced victimization had scores indicative of favorable drug court behaviors. Other factors significantly associated with unfavorable drug court behaviors included greater lifetime arrests, lower education, and being less religious or spiritual. Our findings suggest that the CRBCL may have added utility in identifying women in drug court with recent substance use and risky sexual behaviors. However, further studies on other samples of offenders are needed to support these findings.


CRBCL; Courtroom behavior; Criminal justice; SAVA; Women


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