Retaining Offenders in Mandatory Drug Treatment Programs The Role of Perceived Legal Pressure


Identifying specific mandatory treatment programs and practices that maximize the benefits of legal pressure is important to the long-term viability of justice-driven drug treatment programs. This paper presents results from a research study that tested whether participants of a specialized treatment diversion program that features uniquely coercive elements showed greater retention in treatment than similar offenders mandated to treatment from more conventional sources, such as courts and probation agencies. The study also examines differences among mandated clients in their perceptions of legal pressure, and the effects of these perceptions on retention. This paper discusses prior research on legal pressure and treatment retention, the study’s methods and samples, results, and the implications for use of mandatory treatment programs.