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Drug courts

This study documented the positive impact of drug courts in New York on re-arrest and re-conviction both. If you are looking for ways to implement an effective drug court program or are looking to improve one you already have then you will find some helpful strategies to guide your efforts. This report contains eight chapter following an executive summary: introduction; research design and methodology; profile of drug court participant characteristics; profile of drug court policy characteristics and constructs; the impact of New York State adult drug courts; differential effects based on target population; differential effects based in drug court policies and practices; and conclusions. A few of the key elements in effective drug courts are: be sure to serve a higher-risk population; maximize legal leverage; impose certain sanctions for noncompliance; and use cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based practices (EBPs).

A Statewide Evaluation of New York’s Adult Drug Courts: Identifying Which Policies Work Best Cover

This Guide has been prepared for judges newly assigned to preside over a drug court program to serve as a quick primer to assist them in (a) becoming familiar with the key elements and evidence-based practices that should be reflected in the treatment services provided to drug court participants, and (b) working with local treatment provider(s) to ensure that these services are provided. The Guide is intended to serve as an introductory reference, addressing treatment related issues and practices that are critical to effective drug court program operations but too frequently not reflected in their design or services, as evidenced by numerous site visits to local drug courts conducted by the BJA Drug Court Technical Assistance Project at American University. Many of these visits have been to rural areas where treatment resources are often limited and we have therefore devoted a special chapter (See Chapter VII) to challenges rural drug courts are encountering and solutions that have been effective. Some of the challenges rural drug courts encounter may also have relevance to large, sprawling urban areas where efficient public transportation is limited and judges must cover multiple court locations.

The Guide is designed to be used in conjunction with nationally recognized drug court treatment resources, including: NDCI’s Evidence-based Practices; NIDA’s Principles of Substance Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations, the extensive additional resources available through NIDA and SAMHSA, and the BJA/NIJ Research to Practice resources. 

“Drug Courts improve outcomes for drug-abusing offenders by combining evidence-based substance abuse treatment with strict behavioral accountability. Participants are carefully monitored for substance use and related behaviors and receive escalating incentives for accomplishments and sanctions for infractions. The nearly unanimous perception of both participants and staff members is that the positive effects of Drug Courts are largely attributable to the application of these behavioral contingencies … Scientific research over several decades reveals the most effective ways to administer behavior modification programs. Drug Courts that learn these lessons of science reap benefits several times over through better outcomes and greater cost-effectiveness” (p. 1). This publication describes the following science-based practices (also known as evidence-based practices): the carrot and the stick; trust but verify; timing is everything; staying centered; fishing for tangible resources; do due process; whether sanctions or therapeutic consequences; first things first; and phase advancement. Practice Pointers are also provided for each behavior modification strategy.

Behavior Modification 101 for Drug Courts: Making the Most of Incentives and Sanctions Cover

Objectives: highlight federal resources available to community corrections and criminal justice agencies; define service needs of justice-involved individuals; showcase a local example of collaboration and resources utilization—San Diego County Probation; and engage the criminal justice system in a live discussion about the resources available, how to access funding, receive technical assistance, and to motivate our leaders to want to do more.

CCCN LIVE National Forum Discussion Cover

The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Community Corrections Collaborative Network (CCCN)—a network representing community corrections professionals—commissioned a position paper to explore the successes and challenges facing the community corrections field. The position paper, "Community Corrections Collaborative Network: Safe and Smart Ways To Solve America’s Correctional Challenges", finds that community corrections is a critical part of the public safety system that supervises individuals under the legal authority in the community to reduce crime and victimization" (p. i). Seven chapters comprise this publication: the five core domains of community corrections—probation, parole, pretrial services, diversion programs, and community treatment; reducing reoffending, recidivism, and victimization in your community—targeting risk, need, and responsivity of the people we supervise; community corrections—changing lives, reducing harm, and helping to build your community; community corrections--a more central role in how the corrections system will manage its resources and overall approach; community corrections has strong public support; helping to solve the nation's public safety and correctional challenges; and what community corrections needs from the field and its partners to meet the public safety and corrections challenges. "Community corrections is changing lives, reducing harm, and helping build communities, and it has strong public support. To succeed in the future, community corrections and its partners need to refocus resources on approaches that are proven to work; change laws, policies, and practices that do not work; target treatment and supervision only to those who need it; and reallocate resources appropriately. Also to succeed in the future, community corrections and its partners need to expand the capacity of the field to take on new challenges and designate resources appropriately" (p. i).

Community Corrections Collaborative Network: Safe and Smart Ways to Solve America's Correctional Challenges Cover

“This Issue Review provides a summary of national and Iowa research on the effectiveness of Adult Drug Courts, an overview of these programs currently operating in Iowa, including a description of offenders served and funding mechanisms, an analysis of the costs and benefits of the Adult Drug Courts operated by Community-Based Corrections, and the estimated need for funding” (p. 1). Sections of this report cover: the current situation in Iowa—funding history, offenders and risk, admissions, closures, and recidivism; cost-benefit analysis—Iowa Results First program, and program fidelity; and budget impact. Every $1.00 spent on the program results in $9.61 in benefits over ten years.

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Adult Drug Courts Cover

This article examines the major considerations to be taken when performing a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This process is illustrated by showing how the costs and benefits are determined for the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation. Sections discuss: the market for crime; cost-benefit analysis in criminology--alternative explanations, or counterfactuals, whose benefits count, and variable estimates; the MADCE; what the MADCE impact evaluation found; measuring the costs and benefits of drug courts; adding up the costs and benefits; what the MADCE CBA found; and improving CBAs in criminology. “The CBA performed in the MADCE study demonstrates that criminal justice reforms can have tangible, positive benefits, including fewer crimes and more savings in victimization costs” (p. 6).

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Criminal Justice Reforms Cover

"As resource constraints have tightened, the role of researchers in informing evidence-based and cost-effective decisions about the use of funds, labor, materials and equipment — and even the skills of workers — has increased. We [the authors] believe research that can inform decisions about resource allocation will be a central focus of criminal justice research in the years to come, with cost-benefit analysis (CBA) among the key tools" (p. 3). This is required reading for those individuals tasked with determining what the social impact of a criminal justice program will be (whether a benefit or not). It must be stressed that a CBA estimates social benefits not fiscal savings. This report is comprised of three sections: the basics of cost-benefit analysis—what and why, considerations in valuing time, what CBA can and can't do, and the four steps of a CBA; cost-benefit analysis in action—NIJ's Multi-site Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE); and results from the MADCE cost-benefit analysis.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: A Guide for Drug Courts and Other Criminal Justice Programs Cover

“The objective of this review is to systematically review quasi-experimental and experimental (RCT) evaluations of the effectiveness of drug courts in reducing recidivism, including drug courts for juvenile and DWI offenders. This systematic review critically assesses drug courts’ effects on recidivism in the short- and long-term, the methodological soundness of the existing evidence, and the relationship between drug court features and effectiveness” (p. 6). Results are provided for: a description of eligible studies; overall mean effects by type of drug court; robustness of findings to methodological weaknesses; drug courts’ long-term effects; features of the drug court; and additional sensitivity analysis. Overall, research shows that adult drug courts are effective in reducing recidivism, DWI drug courts moderately successful, and juvenile drug courts having small impact.

Drug Courts' Effects on Criminal Offending for Juveniles and Adults Cover

The reduction of recidivism by state judiciaries utilizing six principles of evidence-based practice (EBP) is explained. Seven sections follow an executive summary: introduction; current state sentencing policies and their consequences; drug courts -- the state judiciary's successful experiment with EBP; the principles of EBP; local sentencing and corrections policy reforms; state sentencing and corrections policy reforms; and conclusion. "[C]arefully targeted rehabilitation and treatment programs can reduce offender recidivism by conservative estimates of 10-20%" (p. 72).

Evidence-Based Practice to Reduce Recidivism Cover

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