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Drug Courts. Drug Courts – The National Perspective. Presentation by the Virginia Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee: Planning and Development Sub-committee June 2008. Drug Courts – The National Perspective. Do Drug Courts reduce recidivism? Are Drug Courts cost effective?

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drug courts the national perspective

Drug Courts – The National Perspective

Presentation by the Virginia Drug Treatment Court Advisory Committee:

Planning and Development


June 2008

drug courts the national perspective1
Drug Courts – The National Perspective
  • Do Drug Courts reduce recidivism?
  • Are Drug Courts cost effective?
  • Do Drug Courts reduce substance abuse and save lives?
  • Where are Drug Courts in the United States?
  • Who support Drug Courts nationally?
drug courts reduce recidivism

Drug Courts Reduce Recidivism

Drug Courts reduce crime by an average of 8% to 26%, with most estimates from 9% to 14%. Well-functioning drug courts reduce crime rates by 35% and the effects last at least 3 years.

drug courts reduce recidivism1
Statistics based on 5 meta-analyses of drug courts.

Meta-analysis – scientists statistically average the effects of a program over numerous research studies.

The meta-analyses of drug courts involve at least 5 experimental studies, dozens of quasi-experimental studies, and dismantling studies.

Drug Courts Reduce Recidivism
drug courts reduce recidivism2
Drug Courts Reduce Recidivism
  • In addition to dismantling studies, there have been matching effects studies.
  • Few, if any, other criminal justice programs come close to this level of scrutiny. [Painting the Current Picture: A National Report Card on Drug Courts and Other Problem-Solving Court Programs in the United States, BJA, May 2008, Vol. II, No. 1]
drug courts reduce recidivism other studies
Drug Courts reduce recidivism – other studies
  • 2001 Columbia University’s Nat’l Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse: Study based on a review of 37 evaluations (updated 2000 study, 48 other evaluations)– average recidivism rate for those who complete Drug Court is between 4% and 29%, compared to 48% for those who do not participate in a Drug Court program.
drug courts reduce recidivism other studies1
Drug Courts reduce recidivism – other studies
  • 9 Adult Drug Courts in California – re-arrest rates over a 4 year period were 29% for drug court participants and 17% for drug court graduates, compared to 41% for similar drug offenders who did not participate in drug court. [Carey, Finigan, Crumpton & Waller, 2006]
drug courts reduce recidivism other studies2
Drug Courts reduce recidivism – other studies
  • 4 Adult Drug Courts in Massachusetts – drug court participants were 13% less likely to be re-arrested, 34% less likely to be re-convicted, and 24% less likely to be re-incarcerated than probationers who had been carefully matched to the drug court participants using sophisticated “propensity score” analyses [Rhodes, Kling, & Shively, 2006].
drug courts reduce recidivism3
Drug Courts Reduce Recidivism
  • The most rigorous and conservative estimate of the effect of any program is derived from meta-analyses.
  • The figures are averages, and include programs that were poorly implemented, targeted to the wrong people, or had only recently opened their doors.
drug courts reduce recidivism other studies3
Drug Courts reduce recidivism – other studies
  • Recent long-term evaluation of a Portland, Oregon Drug Court found that crime was reduced by 30% over 5 years, and effects on crime were still detectable 14 years from the time of arrest [Finigan, Carey & Cox, 2007]
drug courts reduce recidivism other studies4
Drug Courts reduce recidivism – other studies
  • ABA Summer 2004 study of 6 NY drug courts (Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Suffolk County, Syracuse and Rochester)
  • The 6 drug courts reduced the reconviction rate by an average of 29% over 3 years after the initial arrest.
  • Over one year post-program, the reconviction rate was 71% less for graduates compared with nonparticipants across the 6 courts.
drug courts are cost effective
Drug Courts are cost effective
  • Incarceration of drug using offenders costs between $20,000 and $50,000 per person, per year. The capital costs of building a prison cell can be as high as $80,000. A comprehensive drug court system typically costs between $2,500 and $4,000 annually for each offender. NADCP, The Facts on Drug Courts [available at www.nadcp.org].
drug courts are cost effective1
Drug Courts are cost effective
  • Results of several large-scale, rigorous cost analyses of adult drug court programs: For every $1,000 invested in adult drug courts, communities reaped approximately $2 to $4 in benefits, totaling roughly $3,000 to $12,000 per participant.

[Dr. Douglas B. Marlow, J.D., Ph.D. Chief of Research, Law and Policy, NADCP]

cost analyses other studies
Cost Analyses – other studies
  • Washington, DC – 1 year of Drug Court costs $1,800 to $4,400 per participant. This compares to at least $20,000 per year to jail an offender.

[Notre Dame Law Review, “Therapeutic Jurisprudence and the Drug Treatment Court Movement” Vol. 72, Issue 2, Jan. 1999].

drug courts reduce substance abuse and save lives
Drug Courts reduce substance abuse and save lives
  • The additional medical costs associated with the delivery of a drug-addicted baby are estimated to range from approximately $1,500 to $25,000 per day [Cooper, 2004]
drug courts save lives
Drug Courts save lives
  • Neonatal intensive care expenses can range from $25,000 to $35,000 for the care of low-birth weight newborns and may reach $250,000 over the course of the first year of life [Office of Justice Programs, 1997].
drug courts save lives1
Drug Courts save lives
  • Continuous care expenses through the age of 18 years for developmentally delayed children can be as high as $750,000 [Janovsky & Kalotra, 2003].
drug courts save lives2
Drug Courts save lives
  • 34 states and territories provided usable data on confirmed births of drug free babies to their drug court participants.
  • During 2005, 844 drug free babies were born to active female drug court participants.

[2005 National Survey on Drug Courts and Other Problem-solving Courts, National Drug Court Institute].

drug courts reduce substance abuse and save lives1
Drug Courts reduce substance abuse and save lives
  • Drug courts provide closer, more comprehensive supervision and much more frequent drug testing and monitoring during the program, than other forms of community supervision. Drug use and criminal behavior are substantially reduced while offenders are participating in drug court.

[Columbia University, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Research on Drug Courts: A Critical Review, 2001].

drug courts reduce substance abuse and save lives2
Drug Courts reduce substance abuse and save lives
  • The longer an addicted person stays in treatment, the better the outcome.
  • Extensive research confirms that treatment is the most cost effective way to combat drug abuse and non-violent drug-related crime.
  • Over 70% of all drug-using offenders who entered drug court programs either successfully completed or are current participants.
  • [General Accounting Office, 1997]
where are drug courts located how many are there
Where are Drug Courts located? How many are there?
  • Drug Courts are in all 50 states, plus DC, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands
  • There are 1,872 Drug Courts
    • An additional 255 Drug Courts are in the planning process

[BJA Drug Court Clearinghouse, May 23, 2008]

who supports drug courts
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • The Executive Branch of Government
  • The Legislative Branch of Government
  • The Judicial Branch of Government
who supports drug courts1
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • “Drug courts are an effective and cost efficient way to help non-violent drug offenders commit to a rigorous drug treatment program in lieu of prison.”
  • President George W. Bush
who supports drug courts2
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • “By leveraging the coercive power of the criminal justice system, drug courts can alter the behavior of non-violent, low-level drug offenders through a combination of judicial supervision, case management, mandatory drug testing, and treatment to ensure abstinence from drugs, and escalating sanctions.”
  • President Bush, Blueprint for New Beginnings, February 28, 2001.
who supports drug courts3
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • “Three quarters of the growth in the number of federal prison inmates is due to drug crimes. Building new prisons will go only so far. Drug courts and mandatory testing and treatment are effective. I have seen drug courts work. I know they . . . make a difference.”
  • Former President William J. Clinton
who supports drug courts4
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • “The long-term viability of the existing drug courts is critical, and can best be accomplished by ensuring that the courts are able to support the full range of services–especially treatment and training--that are needed by drug court clients if they are to break the cycle of drug abuse and criminal activity.”
  • Former Attorney General John Ashcroft
who supports drug courts5
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • “Drug usage of offenders participating in drug court programs is substantially reduced when they are in the programs, and [for] most participants who complete the program, drug use is eliminated altogether – let us get that message out to Congress, to state legislatures, to cities, county commissioners – treatment does work.”
  • Former Attorney General Janet Reno
who supports drug courts6
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • “The establishment of drug courts, coupled with [their] judicial leadership, constitutes one of the most monumental changes in social justice in this country since WWII. Maintaining the integrity of the drug court movement will take constant monitoring and reassessment of their progress.”
  • General Barry McCaffrey (ret.), Former Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy
who supports drug courts7
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • “Through drug courts, we have an opportunity to build an era of responsibility. On behalf of the DEA, I want to thank all of you who are so committed to this important work. There is no doubt that you make a lasting and significant impact on our society. Everyday you are giving people a second chance at a new future. That is what America is about. We are a nation of second chances.”
  • Asa Hutchinson, Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration
who supports drug courts legislative support
Who supports Drug Courts? - Legislative Support
  • A record 120 Members of Congress – up from 78 members in 2007 – formally requested $40 million in funding for the DOJ drug court grant program.
  • 77 U.S. Representatives and 43 U.S. Senators co-signed letters requesting $40 million in fiscal year 2009.
  • See attachment for press release and list of 120 Members of Congress
legislative support
Legislative Support
  • 5/1/08 – Senator J. Biden, on S.Resolution No. 534, urging local, state, and federal officials to help expand and robustly fund drug courts, and designating May 2008 as National Drug Court Month
  • “There’s no question that drug courts save lives.”
senator biden con t
Senator Biden, con’t
  • “These programs are some of the most cost-effective and proven approaches to breaking the cycle of drug addiction and crime that infect our communities. I hope that during National Drug Court Month we can all celebrate drug courts’ important role in saving lives and communities.”
senator charles grassley r ia
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)
  • “Drug courts present an opportunity for communities to come together and divert offenders to a system that will allow better rehabilitation of drug users. With National Drug Court Month in May, we can highlight programs that help to reduce drug use in our communities by keeping people from repeating their offenses.”


who supports drug courts8

Who supports Drug Courts?

Judicial Support -

chief justices of highest state courts
Chief Justices of Highest State Courts
  • The national Conference of Chief Justices passed a resolution supporting Drug Courts…
  • Proposal from Task Force on Therapeutic Justice of the Conference of Chief Justices adopted as proposed at the 52nd Annual Meeting, 8/5/00.
who supports drug courts9
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • In 1999 the Conference of State Court Administrators passed a resolution in support of drug courts.
  • In 2000 the Conference of State Court Administrators passed a resolution in support of problem solving courts.
drug court judges
Drug Court Judges
  • There are approximately 2,775 judges serving as Drug Court judges for programs operating or being planned.
  • There are approximately 2,500 judges who have previously served as Drug Court judges.
  • American Univ., BJA Drug Court Clearinghouse, May 23, 2008.
drug courts1
Drug Courts
  • 56% of drug court judges are former prosecutors
  • 23% of drug court judges are former public defenders

[NADCP Talking Points/Statistics on Drug Courts]

who supports drug courts10
Who supports Drug Courts?
  • The American Bar Association
  • Approved Standard 2.77, recognizing support for drug courts at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Ill, 8/7/01
drug courts2
Drug Courts
  • In February 2005, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report confirming that drug courts are an effective tool in reducing substance abuse and related crime.
drug courts3
Drug Courts
  • “We know that drug courts outperform virtually all other strategies that have been attempted for drug-involved offenders.”

[Marlow, Dematteo, & Festinger, 2003. From National Drug Court Institute, Office of National Drug Control Policy, BJA. www.ndci.org/courtfacts.htm]

drug courts4
Drug Courts
  • “For a decade, the research on Drug Courts, spanning more than 100 program evaluations and at least five scientifically rigorous meta-analyses, has yielded definitive proof that Drug Courts significantly reduce crime and substance abuse, and produce greater cost-benefits than any other justice strategy.”

[Urban Institute Report, from NADCP CEO West Huddleston, May 21, 2008].