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CJB53

Author Karen Freeman
Published February 2001
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 53
Subject Evaluation reports; Mental health; Socioeconomic factors and crime
Keywords New South Wales Drug Court, evaluation, health, well-being, legislative evaluation

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Summary

Aim

This bulletin reports on the health and well-being of offenders participating in the NSW Drug Court Trial using the SF-36 health questionnaire and the OTI social functioning scale.

Abstract

Despite the current popularity of drug courts, there have been few comprehensive evaluations of their effectiveness in reducing recidivism or in improving the health and well-being of participants. This bulletin reports on the health and well-being of offenders participating in the NSW Drug Court Trial using the SF-36 health questionnaire and the OTI social functioning scale. Two hundred and two NSW Drug Court participants were interviewed at program entry and 112 of these participants were re-interviewed after four months of participation on the program. The results showed that while NSW Drug Court participants were in significantly poorer health than the general Australian population prior to commencing the program, they were significantly healthier than a group seeking methadone maintenance treatment voluntarily. There were significant improvements for NSW Drug Court participants after four months on the program across all measures of health and well-being examined. At the four-month interview, participants were scoring within the normal range or higher on the measures relating more closely to physical health, but remained significantly impaired on several measures relating more closely to emotional well-being. The findings also indicated a high level of satisfaction with the program, with participant satisfaction being related to health and well-being at the four-month mark.