Exploring the Process of Desistance in Two High-Risk Probation Populations
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Problem-solving courts were developed in the 1980s and 1990s to reduce recidivism and probation revocations. The first problem-solving courts focused primarily on treating drug abuse, but the missions have expanded to include issues such as domestic violence and the problems faced by returning war veterans. Research has found these courts to be generally effective, but there is wide variation in their outcomes, and there are questions about the process offenders undergo as their identity shifts from offender to non-offender. This dissertation presents qualitative and quantitative analysis of interview data for a group of problem-solving court probationers (n = 19) and a similar group of regular probationers (n = 19) that explores the differences and similarities in how these groups describe the probation experience. In general, the groups’ descriptions are more similar than they are different, but those small differences suggest that the problem-solving court may be a qualitatively better experience for probationers than regular probation.