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Drug Courts

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After a brief overview of the features and effectiveness of drug courts, this paper presents summaries of drug court program development, research, and information dissemination performed by various agencies and organizations.
Drug courts are specialized court-docket programs that target defendants and offenders (adults and juveniles), as well as parents with pending child welfare cases who have alcohol and other drug dependency problems. Although the features of drug courts vary according to the population served, as well as the resources allocated, programs are generally managed by a multidisciplinary team that includes judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, community corrections, social workers, and treatment service professionals. Support from stakeholders who represent law enforcement, the family, and the community is encouraged. Adult drug court programs are designed to reduce drug-use relapse and criminal recidivism among defendants and offenders through risk and needs assessment, judicial interaction, monitoring, and supervision. Graduated sanctions and incentives, treatment, and various rehabilitation services are used by the court. Juvenile drug courts apply a similar program model that is tailored to the needs of juvenile offenders. There are more than 3,400 drug courts across the United States, half of which serve adults. The National Institute of Justice’s Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation found that participants reported less criminal activity, and had fewer re-arrests than comparable offenders processed under traditional court procedures. Drug court participants also reported less drug use (56 percent vs. 76 percent) and were less likely to test positive for drug use than comparable offenders processed in traditional courts. Treatment investment costs were higher for participants, but with less recidivism, so drug courts saved an average of $5,680 to $6,208 per offender overall. Drug court resource organizations/agencies and websites are described and listed.
Date Created: May 21, 2018