What Do Clients Achieve in Drug/DUI Court? Examining Intended and Unintended Outcomes

Bin Liang, Michael Long, David Knottnerus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Compared to a growing number of quantitative studies that focus on evaluating drug/DUI court process (e.g., retention) and outcomes (e.g., reducing recidivism), very few studies qualitatively and systematically examine clients' perceptions and experiences in these programs. Based on content analysis of 229 letters written by clients to Tulsa County DUI and drug programs in Oklahoma, this study examines the potential (mis)match between the stated official goals of the program and major achievements and progress self-reported by clients. Our analysis shows that in addition to abstinence, compliance, and techniques for success, a significant portion of clients' achievements went beyond the administrative expectations. Rather, the program transformed clients' lives in a holistic way and affected diverse aspects of their lives. These findings should encourage the legislature and practitioners to look beyond drug/DUI court supervision/discipline in evaluating clients' progress and to incorporate elements reported by clients in building a more successful program.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-289
JournalJustice System Journal
Issue number3
Early online date15 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016


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