Investigating the Impact of Child Maltreatment Histories on Drug Court Outcomes


Although child maltreatment, mental illness, and substance abuse are significantly correlated, only the relationship between mental illness and substance abuse has been documented as potentially affecting the implementation of criminal justice policy. The current study considers the influence of child maltreatment histories in addition to mental health and substance abuse issues in predicting the success of participants in a large drug court in the Southwestern United States. Results indicated that child maltreatment was not predictive of overall court failure. However, child maltreatment had an indirect effect on type of failure, through its effects on mental illness and substance abuse diagnoses. Implications for these findings within drug court and for general criminal justice policy are discussed.

Publication Title

Criminal Justice and Behavior