Integration of the Therapeutic Workplace in Drug Court

Grants and Contracts Details


Incarceration rates of drug-involved offenders have reached staggering proportions, and have resulted in the high cost of building and operating prisons. Drug Courts were developed as a therapeutic alternative to incarceration of drug-involved offenders by providing 'judicially supervised' drug abuse treatment and probation for nonviolent offenders in lieu of criminal prosecution and incarceration. Outcome studies have shown that drug courts have modest effects on participation in drug abuse treatment, drug use, and employment. The Therapeutic Workplace intervention is an effective employment-based treatment that integrates abstinence reinforcement contingencies in a work setting, intended to treat individuals with histories of drug addiction and chronic unemployment. Under this intervention, drug abuse patients are hired and paid to work. To promote abstinence, patients are required to provide drug-free urine samples to gain and maintain daily access in the workplace. In this way, patients can work and earn salary, but only as long as they remain drug abstinent. Patients using drugs and lacking job skills participate in an initial training phase to initiate abstinence and establish computer data entry skills. Once abstinent and skilled, patients are hired into an income-producing Therapeutic Workplace data entry business. Given that many drug court participants suffer from long histories of drug addiction and unemployment, the Therapeutic Workplace could be ideal for this population. This grant application proposes research to integrate the Therapeutic Workplace intervention into a drug treatment court program. We are proposing to develop procedures to integrate the Therapeutic Workplace into the Drug Court program, and to conduct a pilot study (N=70) in which Drug Court participants will be randomly assigned to either a 'Usual Care' group or 'Therapeutic Workplace' group. All participants will receive standard drug court services. Therapeutic Workplace group participants will be invited to attend the Therapeutic Workplace for 12 weeks. Overall, the proposed project will allow for the development and evaluation of procedures to integrate the Therapeutic Workplace intervention in the drug court. Outcome data will provide the empirical basis for the design and implementation of future studies evaluating the effectiveness of the Therapeutic Workplace in drug courts.
Effective start/end date8/1/047/31/07


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: $182,875.00


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