Influence of a residential drug and alcohol program on young people's criminal conviction trajectories

Tyson Whitten, Jesse Cale, Sally Nathan, Megan williams, Eileen Baldry, Mark Ferry, Andrew Hayen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study examined the effect of a residential drug and alcohol therapeutic community program on criminal convictions among young people who had different trajectories of conviction prior to referral.
Method: Data was derived from linked administrative records of all young people referred to a modified therapeutic community for serious alcohol and drug related difficulties located in New South Wales, Australia (n = 3059). Group-based trajectory modelling and propensity score matching estimated the potential treatment effect at age 17 on subsequent convictions up to 22 years of age, by three pre-referral trajectories of convictions from ages 10 to 16 years, designated “no or low convictions”, “moderate incline convictions”, and “high incline convictions”.
Results: Treatment was associated with a significant decrease in convictions for only the high incline convictions trajectory after double adjustment of propensity scores and post-discharge incarceration. The reduction in the number of convictions for the high incline group was substantial (Cohen's d = 0.96), corresponding to 4.36 fewer convictions over five years post referral. Conclusions: Residential therapeutic communities may be an effective intervention to reduce future convictions among young people with drug and alcohol problems who have a high number of convictions prior to referral.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102026
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2023


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