The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the "Decide Your Time" (DYT) program could reduce drug use and recidivism rates among chronic drug-using offenders on probation by utilizing the principles of deterrence, graduated sanctions, and coerced abstinence.
The project had the following objectives:
- Assess implementation and program processes in order to discover impediments and facilitators of proper program functioning.
- Analyze the impact of the program on individual outcomes, including the use of official records and in-person interviews.
- Should the model prove effective and feasible, assemble materials and information relating to the project into a usable set of program training materials to facilitate program diffusion and implementation in the broader field. Should the model prove ineffective, attempt to demonstrate at the individual and systemic level those factors that hindered success and attempt to inform future researchers and practitioners of potential pitfalls found in the model.
Urinalysis data served as a key outcome measure. All urine screens were recorded by the research team, including the date of
the test and the result. This enabled the computation of 1) the number of tests conducted on an
individual, 2) the time between tests, and 3) the result. Results could be negative or positive, and
if positive, the type of drug was identified. Second, information was gathered from probation
records on the number of missed appointments and whether the offender absconded. The
evaluation team also had access to criminal justice outcomes, including new crimes, probation
violations and reincarceration. These data were obtained from the Delaware Statistical Analysis
Center (SAC), the State agency that tracks all criminal justice data.
The Delaware Department of Probation and Parole (P and P) agreed to conduct program selection through random assignment to either "Standard Probation" or the "Decide Your Time" (DYT) program during the intake process. The Onsite Evaluator from the research team oversaw the randomization utilizing an Urn Random Assignment program developed by the Clinical Trials Network at The National Institutes of Health. The Urn balanced on race, gender and whether subjects were direct judicial commitments or flowed down from a correctional institution.
Inclusion Criteria for program enrollment were: (1) offenders who reported for level 2 or 3 Probation; (2) had a recommendation or mandate for substance abuse screening in their sentencing order, or had a substance abuse screen ordered by the probation officer at the intake; (3) had a probation duration of 6 months or longer; (4) were age 18 years or older; (5) spoke English; (6) failed their initial urine screen.
Exclusion criteria were: (1) diagnosed current and known DSM-IVR psychotic disorder; (2) current conviction for sex offense (these are mandated by law to a specialized caseload); (3) evidence of neuropsychological dysfunction; (4) life expectancy of less than 6 months; (5) probation or parole requirements that prevented protocol participation.
The final sample consisted of 400 probationers assigned to either Standard Probation (n=200) or DYT (n=200).
Probationers in Delaware from 2010-2012
Delaware Statistical Analysis Center
Delaware Department of Probation and Parole
administrative records data
The data file includes variables related to any transgressions after randomization such as arrests, violations of parole, incarceration, or absconding. There are also variables related to missed appointments and to urinalysis including dates and results.