Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Behavioral & Community Sciences

Major Professor

Shayne Jones, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Leon Anderson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Leon Anderson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lyndsay Boggess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael J. Leiber, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ojmarrh Mitchell, Ph.D.

Keywords

mandated treatment, offender rehabilitation, problem-solving courts, recidivism, specialty courts

Abstract

The decision to establish a mental health court in Utah's First District was largely a political one prompted by the growing popularity of problem-solving courts throughout the country. Because this motivation was policy-driven and not needs-driven, the court was established without an ongoing data collection schedule. As a result, barring anecdotal evidence from program participants, the current impact of the court on two key goals-- reducing recidivism and increasing community-based treatment contact--is entirely unknown. The current study aims to provide a summative program evaluation of the first sixty-eight months of specialty court operation by (1) estimating basic demographic and clinical information about program referrals, participants, and graduates; and (2) measuring program effectiveness by examining between-group differences in key outcome measures (e.g., new charges, use of therapeutic services, time to rearrest, etc.) for those referrals who are accepted into the program as participants versus those referrals who are rejected from the program and sentenced to treatment-as-usual. Ideally, the current study will not only provide an evidence-based assessment of local practices at the current study site but will also empirically inform the greater community of mental health practitioners, researchers, and policymakers who are operating in smaller, more rural districts.

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