Exploring Social Networks of Drug Offenders on Probation




Jensenius, Karen

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Social networks represent one dominant mode that drug use thrives in society by providing users with access to drugs and by offering social support for use. This study extends prior social network research by measuring the influence of family relations and the impact of treatment participation on social networks for a sample of drug offenders on probation with a treatment condition in Baltimore County, MD. After randomization into a group either receiving treatment within the probation office or referral to a community treatment program, offenders are surveyed pre-treatment and three months later using the Addiction Severity Index, the Client Assessment Inventory, and the Orientation of Social Support measure with responses forming key variables for analysis. Findings show that positive family relations and attending treatment lead to larger social support networks but have little effect on the negative networks of the offenders. Policy implications may include probation officers trying to incorporate offenders’ family members into meetings or discussions and more social network oriented treatment programs for offenders.



Probation, Drug offenders, Social networks