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Drug courts

“This article will focus on the latest juvenile drug court research findings, and will remind courts about the importance of following “Juvenile Drug Courts: Strategies in Practice (16 Strategies in Practice)” and maintaining and maintaining a focus on strong and effective collaboration. New research shows that not only can juvenile drug courts be effective in reducing recidivism and substance use among adolescents, but also that following the model and strategies is critical to program success” (p. 2). Sections discuss: understanding the juvenile drug court model; the 16 Strategies of Juvenile Courts; what the evidence shows—using incentives and sanctions, team members matter, using evidence-based practices increases positive outcomes, and active parent participation is key; what is known; ensuring continued results—ensure team members receive adequate training, and team members committed for the long term are the most effective; and a success story from Cole County (MO) Juvenile Drug Court.

› Exploring the Evidence: The Value of Juvenile Drug Courts Cover

This publication “provides guidance for implementing an FDC [Family Drug Court], including the development of FDC partnerships and a common vocabulary for describing FDC components, with a focus on improving services to families who are involved with the child welfare system and are affected by substance use disorders. The authors hope that this document will help jurisdictions select and improve practices and, ultimately, outcomes for children and families” (p. 2). The recommendations made are: create a shared mission and vision; develop interagency partnerships; create effective communication protocols for sharing information; ensure cross-system knowledge; develop an early identification and assessment process; address the needs of parents; address the needs of children; garner community support; implement funding and sustainability strategies; and evaluate shared outcomes to ensure accountability. Appendixes provide: description of an arrangement for a multi-disciplinary or collaborative structure; a facilitator’s guide with sample tools and exercises that will help organizations in the collaborative process; and the evidence for the effective strategies for each recommendation.

Guidance to States: Recommendations for Developing Family Drug Court Guidelines Cover

"As an alternative to traditional juvenile courts, juvenile drug courts attempt to provide substance abuse treatment, sanctions, and incentives to rehabilitate nonviolent drug-involved youth, empower families to support them in this process, and prevent recidivism. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) sponsored a multisite study of juvenile drug courts to examine the ability of these courts to reduce recidivism and improve youth’s social functioning, and to determine whether these programs use evidence-based practices in their treatment services. This bulletin provides an overview of the findings" (p. 1). The results from this multi-site study does not support the efficacy of juvenile drug courts. In fact, juveniles who were drug court participants had higher recidivism rates than youth on probation. Based on the process evaluation, recommendations are provided for improving juvenile drug courts.

Juvenile Drug Courts: A Process, Outcome, and Impact Evaluation cover

This website provides access to materials related to the National Institute of Justice’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE). You should look at the information provided here If you are thinking of implementing or improving drug courts in your jurisdiction. Sections cover: description of the evaluation; research questions; data collection; and links to results from the evaluation (publications, dataset, and presentations).

NIJ’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation Cover

“NPC Research provides quality social services evaluation, policy analysis, research, and training.” This website provides information, reports, and evaluations pertaining to a wide range of project areas. Specialty Areas include child abuse and its prevention, community health, criminal justice, drug treatment courts and other problem-solving courts, early childhood and family well-being, juvenile justice, literacy, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and youth development and strengths. Publications and resources include publications, report, presentations, related links, and materials. Materials are organized according to: Drug Court Typology Interview Guide; Healthy Start; Juvenile Crime Prevention Risk and Protective Assessment; NARA; Oregon Relief Nursery; Reading for Healthy Families; Regional Action Initiative; and Youth Competency Assessment.

Reports and Publications Cover

"The purpose of this document is to provide Drug Court staff with a concise and current overview of important issues relating to offender risk assessment and to provide a list of recommended contemporary risk instruments. Numerous risk scales are currently used in the United States … to assess static risk factors and criminogenic needs (dynamic risk factors that are related to the client’s propensity for criminal behavior), of which substance abuse is but one. Almost all of these are applied to predict risk post-adjudication" (p. 1). This publication focuses on those recommended and promising risk and needs instruments best for drug courts. Sections of this document include: risk assessment-an overview for drug courts; advantages, limits, and usage or risk assessment approaches in contemporary practice; issues for drub courts to consider in selecting risk instruments; selection criteria and overview of risk assessment instruments; best practice guidelines for integrating risk and clinical measures; summary of recommended and promising risk and need assessment instruments; summary of recommended purpose-specific risk assessment instruments; ten principles for using risk assessment; description of recommended risk instruments—Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS), Level of Service-Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI), Post Conviction Risk Assessment (PCRA), the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA), and the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide-Revised (VRAG-R); promising risk instruments—Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS)—Pretrial Assessment Tool (PAT) and Community Supervision TOOL (CST), and the Risk and Needs Triage (RANT).

Selecting and Using Risk and Need Assessment Cover

“One of the biggest challenges for drug courts is effectively working with participants with co-occurring disorders. By definition, persons with the dual diagnosis of both substance use disorders and mental illnesses have co-occurring disorders … every adult drug court can achieve positive outcomes for persons with co-occurring disorders—if the court is committed to doing so. With some creativity and thoughtful planning, most persons with co-occurring disorders can successfully participate in drug courts” (p. 1). This publication explains very clearly how to ensure this by utilizing six critical steps. Topics covered include: three treatment court models; the need for flexibility; overlapping populations; step 1—know who your participants are and what they need by using the quadrant model, screening, and assessment; step 2—adapt your court structure; step 3--expand your treatment options; step 4--target your case management and community supervision; step 5—expand mechanisms for collaboration; and step 6—educate your team.

“In April 2009, New York State passed Rockefeller Drug Law Reform. The law eliminated mandatory prison sentences for most felony drug offenders. In addition, through a procedure defined as judicial diversion, the law provided judges with discretion to link an expanded array of felony-level drug and property offenders to treatment, primarily through specialized drug courts” (p. 1). This study determined the impact of judicial diversion on drug treatment participation and related cost savings. Four chapters follow an executive summary: introduction—a brief history of the Rockefeller Drug Law Reform, and drug courts and other court-ordered treatment options in New York; impact on treatment enrollment; impact on sentencing outcomes; and impact on costs and savings. Court-ordered treatment enrollment increased by 77% with a cost savings of $5,564 per diverted offender.

Testing the Cost Savings of Judicial Diversion: Final Report Cover


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