This paper examines the experiences of a group of female drug offenders who successfully completed a county drug court program in northeast Pennsylvania. Using the constant comparative method, we analyzed interviews with these women for thematic patterns in order to provide an evaluation of this program based on participants' subjective perceptions of its strengths and weaknesses. While other drug court evaluations identify rewards for good behavior and compassionate program staff as important contributing factors to participants' success, women in this study credited their recovery and successful completion of the program primarily to fear of punishment and program structure. Our analysis also revealed patterns of improved self-images, improved physical and mental health, improved coping mechanisms, and improved interpersonal relationships. We end the paper with a discussion of implications for future research.


Drug Court, Female Drug Offenders, Constant Comparative Method, and Appreciative Inquiry

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