Drug Courts

Drug Courts & Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration

Recidivism and Program Completion

(Recidivism and Program Completion) In a 2003 report, New York's Center for Court Innovation compared recidivism rates between drug court graduates and attendees from six different drug courts, and control groups of similar defendants not entering drug court. They found that "Graduation is itself a powerful predictor of avoiding postprogram recidivism; those who failed drug court were far more likely to recidivate in the post-program period.

Recidivism

(Recidivism) In a 2003 report, New York's Center for Court Innovation compared recidivism rates between drug court graduates and attendees from six different drug courts, and control groups of similar defendants not entering drug court. They found that "When in-program participation time was included in the calculation, processing time for participants was far longer than for comparison defendants (due to the length of the drug court program).

Research Limitations

(Research Limitations) "With regard to drug courts’ effectiveness, however, drug courts have been difficult to evaluate because they are so varied, and the resources required to conduct a study that would allow conclusions about the effectiveness of drug courts can be substantial. In particular, while drug courts generally adhere to certain key program components, drug courts can differ in factors including admission criteria, type and duration of drug treatment, degree of judicial monitoring and intervention, and application of sanctions for noncompliance.

Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison (DTAP)

(Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison (DTAP)) "Importantly, Belenko et al. (2005) have shown just the opposite result for DTAP [Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison]: 57% of DTAP participants were rearrested for any offense at least once in the follow-up period compared with 75% of the comparison group. Similarly, only 42% of DTAP participants were reconvicted of any offense compared with 65% of the prison comparison group.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

(Cost/Benefit Analysis) "Carey and Finigan (2004) estimated the benefits and costs of the Multnomah County Drug Court in Portland, Oregon. They evaluated a sample of 1,173 individuals to determine the cost and criminal justice outcome differences between the drug court and the business-as-usual process over a 30-month period following the initial court appearance. Based on their cost and benefit estimates, the benefit-cost ratio associated with Multnomah County Drug Court was 2.5.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

(Cost/Benefit Analysis) "A limited number of evaluations in our review discussed the costs and benefits of adult drug court programs. Four evaluations of seven drug court programs provided sufficient cost and benefit data to estimate their net benefits (that is, the benefits minus costs). The cost per drug court program participant was greater than the cost per comparison group member in six of these drug court programs.

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