Drug Courts

Real Accountability?

Substance abusing offenders are often required to undergo a comprehensive assessment of their substance abuse problems, after which they are referred or mandated to treatment based on the assessment. Once in treatment, and based largely on the assessment, a treatment plan is developed.

Offenders who are not successful in treatment e.g., relapse, are non compliant, or fail to complete, often experience significant repercussions, including jail time.

What if the assessment was not done correctly, leading to an incorrect treatment plan?

  • Who should be held responsible?
  • Who should go to jail?
  • How do you (program director, judge, district attorney, defense attorney, probation or parole officer) know the assessment was done correctly?
  • How do you know your interviewers know how to, and are administering the ASI correctly?
  • Do you want to know?

The Defense Raises a Very Important Question?

To Hear The Question & Answer, Click on the Image Above

Afterwards, Think About The Court or Treatment Agency You Work In, and How You Would Answer the Very Important Question Asked?

How Do You Know, They Know?  

How do you know if you, or your staff are administering the ASI correctly? Should you know? Do you want to know? The truth is, you probably don’t know, how would you know?  After all, “Learning is Never Required or Mandated, Training Is.” 

Training, more often than not is mandated in order for organizations and/or their staff to become eligible to participate in grant funded initiatives e.g., ATR, HIV, Drug Courts etc.., or to become an approved provider to receive Medicaid, and/or other private insurance reimbursement. However, learning, and the transfer of learning back to the workplace are rarely mandated or required. Therefore, the common practice in our field is to send people to training, and make sure to document the training was received. Rarely, does anyone including federal and state governments mandate or require any evidence or documentation of learning, or put another way, that the training was effective i.e., learning, transfer of learning back to the workplace, maintenance of learning that was transferred back to the workplace.

As a result staff attending training workshops, through no fault of their own, assume they learned what they were trained on, return to the workplace and use what they learned, often never knowing if they really learned what it was they were trained on in the first place.

“I have never met a counselor, social worker, or drug court co-ordinator,  who did not want to improve their performance in order to be better equipped to help their clients, HOWEVER, I have met many who did not know their performance needed improvement.”  

This lack of focus on “Training Effectiveness” is one of reasons that Technology Doesn’t Transfer from Research to Practice, and Why Evidence Based Treatment and Prevention Practices Are Not Implemented, and Why so many assessments being conducted using the ASI, and other standardized instruments are being done so, Incorrectly.

If you or your staff are conducting assessments using the ASI and would like to be evaluated, contact us, and we will do it for nothing, that’s right FREE. If you, or your staff do not need training, then you shouldn’t have to waste limited valuable resources attending training, especially training that has no evidence of its effectiveness.  On the other hand, if you or your staff do need training on the ASI, the ASI E-Course is evidence based, and has been proven effective.

The ASI E-Course Can Help You Know. The functionality of the course enables individuals and supervisors to track performance scores on all learning measures. The ASI E-Course can, and should be used for the ongoing evaluation of ASI interviewer knowledge and skills, especially for interviewers administering the ASI to clients involved in criminal justice system.

All the Best, and Keep Up the Great Work!


Thomas H. Coyne, Ed.D., LCSW