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Supporting the Drug Court Process: What You Need to Know for Effective Decision Making and Program Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2003
77 pages
Publication Series
This report is intended to be used as a basis for appraising the quality and completeness of drug courts' current or envisioned management information system (MIS).
The introduction discusses the importance of a MIS in the daily operations and evaluation functions of a drug court, and it discusses confidentiality statutes and regulations that influence the MIS. The introduction is followed by a section that presents structural principles for building a MIS or weighing the strengths and weaknesses of an existing MIS. Included are frequently asked questions about drug court information technology. The next section discusses the collection and use of information needed to make program eligibility determinations, including the functional activities of criminal justice screening; alcohol or other drug dependency screening; and screening for mental health disorders, medical conditions, and the candidate's motivation for enrollment in the program. The report also contains a section that describes the role of assessment, its documentation in the MIS, and its relationship to the development of a treatment plan. Also addressed are several facets of ongoing case management. The report concludes with a section on evaluation, as it describes process evaluation, impact evaluation, and cost analysis. Also discussed is the role of the evaluator in shaping the MIS to ensure that it collects information that facilitates evaluation activities. Appended sample forms, supplementary information, and a 37-item bibliography

Date Published: February 1, 2003