Faculty / Steven Belenko

Steven Belenko, Ph.D. was appointed Professor in the Temple University Department of Criminal Justice in August 2006. Prior to joining the Temple faculty, Dr. Belenko was from 2002 to 2006 a Senior Scientist at the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania (TRI), and adjunct Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. From 1997-2002 he was a CASA Fellow at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University . Dr. Belenko received his B.S. in applied mathematics and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Columbia University.

Dr. Belenko is a nationally recognized scholar on the impact of substance abuse on the adult and juvenile justice systems, HIV risk behaviors and related service needs for offenders, and the integration of treatment and other services in criminal justice settings (including drug courts, diversion programs, and prisons). His current and recent research has involved improving implementation of evidence-based drug treatment in criminal justice settings; developing and testing organizational change and process improvement strategies to improve the implementation of treatment and other health services for inmates; prevalence, risk factors, and service needs for sexually transmitted infections among juvenile delinquents; development and testing of brief interventions for delinquents at risk for substance abuse; modeling economic costs and benefits of prison treatment, screening and admission processes in drug courts and mental health courts; computerized therapeutic interventions for drug-involved inmates; and improving use of evidence-based practices in juvenile drug courts.  He is principal investigator for the Pennsylvania Research Center at Temple University, recently funded as part of NIDA’s Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies collaborative.

Dr. Belenko has published numerous articles and book chapters, and is the author of three books: Crack and the Evolution of Antidrug Policy (winner of the American Library Association's Choice Magazine academic book of the year award), Drugs and Drug Policy in America: A Documentary History, and his most recent book Implementing Evidence-Based Practices in Community Corrections and Addiction Treatment (with Dr. Faye Taxman).

Selected Recent Publications:

In Press:

Belenko, S., Hiller, M., Visher, C., Copenhaver, M., O’Connell, D., Burdon, W., Pankow, J., Clarke, J., & Oser, C. (in press). Polices and practices in the delivery of HIV services in correctional agencies and facilities: Results from a multisite survey. Journal of Correctional Health Care.


Stahler, G., Mennis, J., Belenko, S., Welsh, W., Hiller, M., & Zajac, G. (in press). Predicting recidivism for released state prison offenders:  Examining the influence of individual and neighborhood characteristics and spatial contagion on the likelihood of reincarceration.  Criminal Justice and Behavior.


Spohn, C. & Belenko, S.  (in press). Do the drugs, do the time? The effect of drug abuse on sentences imposed on drug offenders in three U.S. District Courts.  Criminal Justice and Behavior.


Belenko, S., Houser, K., & Welsh, W.  (2012).  Understanding the impact of drug treatment in correctional settings. In: J. Petersilia and K. Reitz (eds.). Oxford Handbook on Sentencing and Corrections. (PP. 463-491).  New York: Oxford University Press.


Taxman, F.  & Belenko, S. (2012).  Implementing Evidence-Based Practices in Community Corrections and Addiction Treatment.  New York: Springer.


Houser, K., Belenko, S., & Brennan, P. (2012) The effects of mental health and substance abuse disorders on institutional misconduct among female inmates. Justice Quarterly, 29, 799-828.


Zarkin, G., Cowell, A., Hicks, K., Mills, M., Belenko, S., Dunlap, L., Houser, K., & Keyes, V. (2012).  Benefits and costs of substance abuse treatment programs for state prison inmates: Results from a lifetime simulation model. Health Economics, 21, 633-652.

Dembo, R., Briones, R., Gulledge, L., Karas, L., Winters, K., Belenko, S., & Greenbaum, P.E. (2012)  Stress, mental health and substance abuse problems in a sample of diversion program youth: An exploratory latent class analysis.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 21, 130-155.

Hiller, M., Belenko, S., Welsh, W., Zajac, G., & Peters, R. (2012).  Screening and assessment: An evidence-based process for the management and care of adult drug-involved offenders.  In: C. Leukefeld, J. Gregrich, and T. Gulotta (eds.). Handbook on Evidence Based Substance Abuse Treatment Practice in Criminal Justice Settings. New York: Springer.


Childs, K., Dembo, R., Belenko, S., Sullivan, C., & Cochran, J.  (2011).  A group-based modeling approach to examining sociodemographic variation in the association among risky sexual behavior, drug use, and criminal involvement in a sample of newly arrested juvenile offenders. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 9, 313-332.

Belenko, S. & Houser, K.  (2011).  Gender differences in engagement in prison-based drug treatment.  International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. DOI: 10.1177/0306624X11414544

Belenko, S., Fabrikant, N., & Wolff, N.  (2011). The long road to treatment: Models of screening and admission into drug courts.  Criminal Justice and Behavior, 38, 1222-1243.

Mericle, A., Belenko, S., & Festinger, D.  Detection, Advice, and Referral to Services (DARTS) procedures among clients with public defenders. (2011). Substance Use and Misuse. Online publication: doi:10.3109/10826084.2011.618997.

Childs, K., Dembo, R., Belenko, S., Wareham, J., & Schmeidler, J.  (2011). A comparison of individual and community level predictors of marijuana and cocaine use among a sample of newly arrested juvenile offenders. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 20, 114-134.

Wolff, N., Belenko, S., Fabrikant, N., & Huening, J. (2011).  Research Brief: Mental Health Courts and their selection processes: Modeling variation for consistency.  New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Behavioral Health Services and Criminal Justice Research, Rutgers University.