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Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations - A Research-Based Guide

Is legally mandated treatment effective?

Legal pressure can increase treatment attendance and improve retention.

Often, the criminal justice system can apply legal pressure to encourage offenders to participate in drug abuse treatment; or treatment can be mandated through a drug court or as a condition of pretrial release, probation, or parole. A large percentage of those admitted to drug abuse treatment cite legal pressure as an important reason for seeking treatment. Most studies suggest that outcomes for those who are legally pressured to enter treatment are as good as or better than outcomes for those who entered treatment without legal pressure. Individuals under legal pressure also tend to have higher attendance rates and remain in treatment for longer periods, which can also have a positive impact on treatment outcomes.

This page was last updated January 2012

Is legally mandated treatment effective?

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