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Promising practices for delivery of court-supervised substance abuse treatment: Perspectives from six high-performing California counties operating Proposition 36


  • Evans, Elizabeth
  • Anglin, M. Douglas
  • Urada, Darren
  • Yang, Joy


Operative for nearly a decade, California's voter-initiated Proposition 36 program offers many offenders community-based substance abuse treatment in lieu of likely incarceration. Research has documented program successes and plans for replication have proliferated, yet very little is known about how the Proposition 36 program works or practices for achieving optimal program outcomes. In this article, we identify policies and practices that key stakeholders perceive to be most responsible for the successful delivery of court-supervised substance abuse treatment to offenders under Proposition 36. Data was collected via focus groups conducted with 59 county stakeholders in six high-performing counties during 2009. Discussion was informed by seven empirical indicators of program performance and outcomes and was focused on identifying and describing elements contributing to success. Program success was primarily attributed to four strategies, those that: (1) fostered program engagement, monitored participant progress, and sustained cooperation among participants; (2) cultivated buy-in among key stakeholders; (3) capitalized on the role of the court and the judge; and (4) created a setting which promoted a high-quality treatment system, utilization of existing resources, and broad financial and political support for the program. Goals and practices for implementing each strategy are discussed. Findings provide a "promising practices" resource for Proposition 36 program evaluation and improvement and inform the design and study of other similar types of collaborative justice treatment efforts.

Suggested Citation

  • Evans, Elizabeth & Anglin, M. Douglas & Urada, Darren & Yang, Joy, 2011. "Promising practices for delivery of court-supervised substance abuse treatment: Perspectives from six high-performing California counties operating Proposition 36," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 124-134, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:34:y:2011:i:2:p:124-134

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hardy, Mary & Teruya, Cheryl & Longshore, Douglas & Hser, Yih-Ing, 2005. "Initial implementation of California's Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act: Findings from focus groups in ten counties," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 221-232, May.
    2. Hser, Yih-Ing & Evans, Elizabeth & Teruya, Cheryl & Huang, David & Anglin, M. Douglas, 2007. "Predictors of short-term treatment outcomes among California's Proposition 36 participants," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 187-196, May.
    3. Wenzel, Suzanne L. & Turner, Susan F. & Ridgely, M. Susan, 2004. "Collaborations between drug courts and service providers: Characteristics and challenges," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 253-263.
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