Source: (2008) Dissertation submited to the faculty of the Univeristy of Utak for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
This phenomenological study explores the lived experiences of 26 female substance-related felony offenders in Salt Lake County Felony Drug Court, Salt Lake City, Utah. Each of the women participated in an individual, 2 hour, in-depth semi-structured, audio-taped interview; a follow-up interview; and a 2-hour focus group. The interviews revealed loss, neglect, abandonment, and grief issues that began early in the women’s lives. Consequently, they approached early adulthood relying on substances not only for their numbing properties but also for connections to significant others, setting up long patterns of dysfunction in their lives. Even though 15 (58%) of the women felt they had been coerced into drug court, 25 (96%) spoke of drug court as “saving them.” Acceptance, caring and genuine positive regard trumped everything else drug court was doing. The women spoke of camaraderie and of being valued. They spoke positively of the shared understanding and collaborative effort, guidance and structure. (author’s abstract)
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