Sentencing the cure: Treatment facilitation and crime control management in a drug court workgroup

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Robert Bogdan


Sentencing, Treatment, Crime control, Drug court, Workgroup

Subject Categories

Criminology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Drug treatment courts combine the therapeutic sensibilities of substance abuse treatment and the criminal justice system's coercive power. Agents from these systems form a drug court workgroup to facilitate substance abuse treatment and regulate behavior in the population of drug using offenders. This dissertation uses qualitative methods to study a drug court workgroup in the northeastern United States. It explores the boundaries that traditionally separate therapeutic interventions from coercive punishment, and illustrates how these boundaries change. In order to facilitate treatment members of this workgroup bridge institutional gaps that separate institutional service providers. They also use disciplinary methods to regulate criminal behavior and maximize participant compliance with treatment plans. The drug court workgroup relies on an extended surveillance network to monitor participants. They reinforce desired behavior through rituals of control performed during drug court hearings. The drug court workgroup is simultaneously responsible for treating addicts and regulating criminals. This dual mandate breeds tensions that mediate workgroup dynamics. The dissertation analyzes these tensions and describes how the drug court workgroup fulfills its mandate.


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