There has been a trend toward changing criminal justice policy to provide treatment as an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders. Two main models have emerged that are aimed at effecting this change. One model is drug court; the other is statewide policy reformation, mandating treatment for all non-violent drug offenders. The drug court model includes a higher level of supervision, particularly by the Court and (generally) a standardized treatment program for all the participants within a particular court (including phases that each participant must pass through by meeting certain goals). There is also regular and frequent drug testing. In contrast, most of the state mandated program models for drug offenders have less criminal justice supervision (particularly less court involvement) and a less standardized, sometimes more individualized, treatment regimen. In addition, the non-drug court treatment model uses drug testing less frequently. For example, in California, the drug policy legislation provided funds for treatment and some for probation, but no funds for drug testing. It is of interest to practitioners and policymakers to determine the relative effectiveness of these two models in assisting drug offenders to complete drug treatment and in reducing the incidence of drug offenders returning to the criminal justice system (recidivism).
NPC received a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to conduct research in California designed to answer five key policy questions:
- What is the relative success rate (measured by program completion rate and recidivism) of the drug court program model compared to court mandated non-drug court treatment models?
- How have drug courts adjusted (how have drug court process and policies changed) with the implementation of state mandated non-drug court treatment programs?
- What is the success rate (measured by program completion and recidivism) of drug court programs before the implementation of state mandated non-drug court treatment programs compared to the success rate of drug court programs after implementation?
- What are the relative investment and outcome costs of drug courts compared to state mandated non-drug court treatment programs?
- What are the investment and outcome costs of drug courts before the implementation of the state mandated non-drug court treatment programs compared to after implementation?
Reports and Publications:
Carey, S. M., Pukstas, K., Waller, M. S., Mackin, R. M., & Finigan, M. W. (March 2008)
Courts and State-Mandated Drug Treatment Programs: Outcomes, Costs, and Consequences: Final Report
NPC Research: Portland, OR.
Report / Executive Summary /