Drug Court performance evaluation has proven helpful to drug courts and the criminal justice system in general because it focuses on compliance with established goals, objectives, policies and procedures. As drug courts mature, the other components of the assessment of performance have become more meaningful in assisting the team to measure their delivery of drug court services. The stakes and expectations for drug courts are high: reduce recidivism, incarceration, reduce substance use and assure public safety – all are expected of drug courts who are expending scarce resources with public dollars.
Drug Courts cannot presume to know whether they are achieving these national goals if they are not fully implementing all of the necessary components of an evaluation system that measures the overall performance effectiveness and access to services.
Evaluation of Drug Court Services consists of four major variables:
Program evaluation is at the core of a quality monitoring process in drug courts and consists of identifying key quality indicators through team consensus for which data will be collected and systematically monitored. These measures should include at a minimum, those aimed at the efficiency, and effectiveness of the overall operations of the Drug Court system.
Drug Court Performance Indicators
In selecting the indicators with the assistance of ACG Group, the Drug Court team members should ask themselves “what do we believe are the most important variables leading to quality, effective, drug court services.
Drug Court key Indicators:
“When drug courts routinely review this kind of data and base program changes or corrective actions on the data, they frequently have experienced on average a 105% decrease in their recidivism rates.”2
2 Carey Shannon, Ph.D. “Drug Court Top Ten Best Practices for Reducing Recidivism and Increasing Cost Savings.” NPC Research, Atlanta Georgia www.NPC Research.