Dustin Cantrell

Dr. Wm. Dustin Cantrell, Ph.D., serves as the Director of Evaluation and Quality for the WestCare Great Lakes Region. With an extensive background in corrections work, Dr. Cantrell ensures that WestCare’s clients are receiving the highest quality services. He is valued for his work designing, and implementing process and outcome evaluations; conducting staff training, and participating on local and national committees to enhance services. Dr. Cantrell is an experienced evaluator and has worked in conjunction with multiple stakeholders to conduct research and evaluation regarding programming for incarcerated and community-based populations. Dr. Cantrell has presented at a number of professional conferences and published several articles surrounding corrections issues. His most recent article entitled, “Prison Meditation Movements and Mass Incarceration.” published in International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology in 2015.

Dr. Cantrell was awarded a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from Indiana University in 2012. He also holds a MSEd. in International and Comparative Education from Indiana University and a M.A. and B.S. in Anthropology from Ball State University.


An Examination of Traumatic Experiences and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among a Sample of Illinois Prisoners
July 25, 2017 | Article | Corrections
Research has found nearly all prisoners have experienced a traumatic event in their life and a high proportion suffer from PTSD. Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and WestCare Foundation (Illinois) researchers surveyed 573 Illinois prisoners to understand the trauma they experienced and explore the relationship between trauma and substance misuse. Researchers found 89 percent of those surveyed had both experienced and witnessed more than one traumatic event during their lifetime. Almost one-fourth of the sample were identified as being symptomatic for PTSD (24 percent). In addition, researchers found a relationship found between greater PTSD symptoms and higher drug use. This article describes survey findings and provides implications for policy and practice in correctional facilities.
By Sharyn Adams, Lily Gleicher, Jessica Reichert, Kaitlyn Konefal, And Dustin Cantrell
Study of Self-Reported Prescription Drug Use Among a Sample of Illinois Prisoners
June 15, 2017 | Article | Substance use disorders, corrections, prison, prescription drug use
While more than half of individuals incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons meet the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder, little is known about their misuse of prescription drugs. In this study, Authority researchers, in collaboration with WestCare Foundation Illinois, surveyed 573 state prisoners on prescription drug use to examine prevalence, accessibility, motivation for use, and effects. Forty-six percent of the sample reported using prescription drugs to get high and 20 percent used prescription drugs daily in the year before their incarceration.
By Lily Gleicher, Jessica Reichert, And Dustin Cantrell
Study of self-reported synthetic drug use among a sample of Illinois prisoners
February 17, 2017 | Article | Synthetic Drug Use
Synthetic drug use is a growing public health concern. Synthetics are often cheaper and more readily available than cannabis and amphetamines, making them attractive alternatives to other illicit drugs. In addition, the chemical formulas for these drugs are constantly changing, making them difficult to regulate, and their detection is limited in commonly used drug screenings. Authority researchers partnered with WestCare Foundation to survey 573 state prisoners on synthetic drug use to examine prevalence, accessibility, motivation for use, and effects. Thirty-six percent of respondents reported any synthetic drug use in their lifetime prior to incarceration. Findings suggested a proportion of the criminal justice population engages in synthetic drug use and the findings were consistent with other research on synthetic drug use.
By Lily Gleicher, Jessica Reichert, And Dustin Cantrell