Status hearings in drug court: When more is less and less is more

David S. Festinger, Douglas B. Marlowe, Patricia A. Lee, Kimberly C. Kirby, Gregory Bovasso, A. Thomas McLellan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


We examined the effects of increasing the number of times misdemeanor drug court clients appeared before a judge for judicial status hearings. Our previous findings showed no main effect of increased hearings during the first 14 weeks of the program. The present study examined participants' discharge status in the program, and also explored potential interactions between client characteristics and the frequency of judicial status hearings on outcomes. Results revealed no main effects for hearing frequency on graduation status. Drug offenders who satisfied DSM-IV criteria for antisocial personality disorder (APD) achieved more weeks of urinalysis-confirmed drug abstinence when assigned to more frequent judicial status hearings, whereas subjects without APD achieved more abstinence and were more likely to graduate successfully from the program when assigned to less frequent hearings. Additionally, clients with a history of substance abuse treatment achieved more weeks of abstinence when assigned to more frequent hearings. These findings lend useful guidance to drug courts. Status hearings are expensive and time consuming and should be targeted to clients who would benefit most from them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-157
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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