A Detailed Cost Analysis in a Mature Drug Court Setting

Status: complete

Few comprehensive studies of the long-term costs and benefits of drug courts had been conducted. Part of the reason pertained to the serious difficulties in assessing both the costs and cost offsets in a drug court setting. Most studies had relied on some sort of proxy estimates of these costs. Additionally, the court and criminal justice systems in which drug courts operate are complex, and only an intensive study that tracks individuals through these systems could accurately capture the system costs as well as avoided costs. This approach had been lacking. To help remedy this situation, NPC Research conducted an intensive cost analysis at a single mature drug court. We tracked court and criminal justice resource utilization and unit costs for a small intensive study group composed of a sample of those in the drug court program and a sample of those eligible but receiving standard court processing. We then applied the resulting cost data to a large cohort of both drug court participants and those eligible but receiving standard court processing to obtain a more accurate assessment of the long-term costs and avoided costs of drug court.

Project Team

Principal Investigator

Michael Finigan, Ph.D.

Lead Evaluator

Shannon Carey, Ph.D.


Reports and Publications:

Finigan, M. W., Carey, S. M., & Cox, A. A. (April 2007) The Impact of a Mature Drug Court Over 10 Years of Operation: Recidivism and Costs: Final Report. NPC Research: Portland, OR.
Report / Executive Summary / /