Published May 11, 2022
Title: Remote Technology and Drug Courts
Insight article by Alexis Cohen, BA ‘22, Staff, The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy
Keywords: COVID-19, medico-legal anthropology, drug treatment courts, health and society.
Linda S. Kahn,PhD, Research Professor in the UB Department of Family Medicine, examines the intersection of social, cultural, economic and political factors and their influence on health and risk behavior amongst vulnerable and complex populations. Her work integrates public health and criminal justice.
Kahn’s research is supported in part by The Baldy Center Research Grant, 2021-2022, “Impacts of COVID-19 on drug treatment courts: adaptations to remote technology.” Kahn is investigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug treatment through the lens of court personnel and treatment providers.
The COVID19 pandemic altered drug court operations throughout the US, forcing adoption of remote technology for client supervision and monitoring, delivery of telehealth treatment and services, as well as interaction with clients.
Kahn’s qualitative research is based in interviews with drug court team members to learn about their personal experiences using remote technology for monitoring, delivery of telehealth services, and interactions with clients. In the interviews, she also elicits their perspectives on the advantages and disadvantages of using remote technology with drug court clients, and which innovations or modifications implemented during the pandemic they would like to see retained.
The transcripts from these interviews are analyzed using an inductive thematic content analysis approach, in which qualitatively identified patterns in the interviews determine common themes. This exploratory, content-driven approach allows the data to stand alone without preconceived theoretical model expectations.
Kahn’s study builds on a larger CDC-funded grant that includes the Opioid Intervention Court and a traditional drug treatment court and follows participants over a period of 12 months. The Baldy Center research grant supplements this larger study by providing funding for qualitative components. Outcomes from qualitative, interview-based components will provide insight into the perceived efficacy of remote technology in drug treatment courts. These results would help inform necessary changes in law or policy in order to tailor to clients during challenging times.
Biography: Linda S. Kahn is a medical anthropologist and health services researcher. She takes a multidisciplinary and community-based approach in examining the social, cultural, economic and political factors that influence health and risk behavior among vulnerable and complex populations. Kahn runs a research laboratory that consists of the community setting, medical practices, and drug treatment courts. She is currently working on research focusing on harm reduction and recovery support among people living with substance use disorders.
Faculty profile: Linda S. Kahn - Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences - University at Buffalo