Differential Outcomes of Court-Supervised Substance Abuse Treatment Among California Parolees and Probationers Academic Article uri icon


  • To explore the effectiveness of court-supervised drug treatment for California parolees, offender characteristics, treatment experiences, and outcomes were examined and contrasted to those of probationers. The analysis used statewide administrative data on 4,507 parolees and 22,701 probationers referred to treatment by Proposition 36 during fiscal year 2006-2007. Compared with probationers, parolee problems were more severe at treatment entry, more were treated in residential settings, treatment retention was shorter, and fewer completed treatment. Regarding outcomes, fewer parolees were successful at treatment discharge and more recidivated over 12-months post admission. Both groups improved in many areas by treatment discharge, but improvements were generally smaller among parolees. Significant interaction effects indicated that parolees benefited from residential care and more treatment days, even after controlling for covariates. Court-supervised drug treatment for parolees can “work;” however, parolees have more frequent and diverse needs, and their outcomes are enhanced by more intensive treatment. Findings suggest methods for optimizing the effectiveness of criminal-justice–supervised programs for treating drug-dependent offenders.

publication date

  • 2012