Perceived Coercion in Drug Courts: Are There Gender Differences?

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Cayl Boman
Alison Farringer


By Cayl Boman, Criminal Justice and Psychology

Advisor: Alison Farringer

Presentation ID: 17

Abstract: Drug courts are specialized court docket programs that aim to provide treatment and non-adversarial case processing for people in the legal system with alcohol or other drug dependency problems. Although drug courts are voluntary programs designed to help people address the root cause of addiction in favor of traditional criminal punishment, there is some concern that participants may feel pressured to participate for legal or other reasons. Prior research on substance abuse treatment programs and mental health courts have found that perceived coercion is a problem among justice-involved participants. To date, few studies of drug courts have examined the presence of perceived coercion or whether this phenomenon varies according to participant gender. Using secondary interview data from 146 drug court participants in one Midwestern drug court, this sought to examine (1) the average level of perceived coercion and (2) gender differences in average perceived coercion among drug court participants. Results indicated that perceived coercion among this sample was modest, with men experiencing higher levels of perceived coercion than women, on average, though this difference was non-significant. Implications for research, policy, and practice are discussed.

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Category: Social (In)Justice