Methods: Using an exploratory, non-experimental research design participant anxiety and depression were measured using the GAD-7 and PHQ-9 within four to six weeks of entering TC. Network factors including support and control offered by friends, family, and court and service providers was also examined using several standardized measures. Background factors including homelessness, history of drug use, and history of suicide were also collected. Thirty participants were recruited from four TCs – mental health, drug treatment, veterans, and driving while intoxicated (DWI). Participants in this county are in TCs, on average, 12 to 14 months and the majority of participants enter due to felony charges. Participants in this study ranged in age from 27 to 63. Approximately 70% identified as White and one third as women. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses in R software.
Results: Approximately 75% of the sample had some form of employment; however, annual income for all participants, regardless of work status, were under the federal poverty level. Three fourth of the sample reported at least one period of homelessness with their first episode occurring as young as five years old. Mental health and self-efficacy were significantly related to perceived social support and control from network members. Although networks were, on average, fairly small (between three and four people), network members had high rates of drug use, stress, and perceived support.
Conclusion and Implications: This preliminary work on networks of participant in TCs helps identify the myriad services this population may need as they take part in court programs. Additional work is needed to determine if services offered to address social networks and housing instability impact health, mental health, criminal justice, and quality of life outcomes following court participation.