Isabel Pires

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Comments

Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Criminal Justice in the College of Graduate Studies at Bridgewater State University, 2015.

Degree Program

Criminal Justice

Degree Type

Master of Science


With the overwhelming drug offense and policy changes that occurred in the 1980s, the criminal justice system was forced to create other methods of dealing with offenders suffering from substance abuse problems. Therefore, drug court was created as a diversion program. Drug court was first created in 1989 in Florida to offer a therapeutic method to assist offenders with substance abuse problems and criminal cases. The purpose of drug court was to prevent addicts from constant contact with the criminal justice system. Drug court professionals developed a guideline based on the therapeutic jurisprudence theory called the “10 key component”. The purpose of this study was to analyze how closely a Massachusetts drug court adheres to drug court’s 10 key components. Drug court participants’ perceptions on the application of the 10 key components were acquired by an in-depth face-to-face interview session. This research also used court observation to study drug court as an alternative to incarceration. This study found that although this Massachusetts drug court adheres to the 10 key components there is room for improvement.


Jennifer Hartsfield (chair)

Mia Ortiz

Khadija Monk