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Drug Courts and Evaluation

April 30, 2017

For at least the last twenty years, the large increases in the number of criminal offenders nation-wide can be directly attributed to drug addiction1.

Conventional criminal justice interventions of probation and incarceration, while at times necessary, have not shown to be the most effective means in addressing the unique issues addicted offenders face.

The revolving door of addicted offenders in and out of prison, costing them their lives and placing a heavy burden on taxpayers. This has resulted in an expensive, ever-growing incarcerated population, in fact the largest numbers of any country world-wide.

For most cases, there is a better way. Drug Courts across the country have proven to be successful models for intervention and diversion of the drug addicted offender.

The considerable body of research on the drug court model clearly shows this approach to be both cost-effective to the taxpayer and successful for a large majority of addicted criminal offenders. Yet, states have been slow to adopt the drug court model and those that have, badly needed local data that demonstrates their effectiveness.

The ACG group has developed a comprehensive evaluation approach that drug courts can use and provide to their stakeholders as evidence that their drug court is worthy of increased funding and expansion. In today’s climate of scarce resources for human service endeavors, only those programs that can credibly demonstrate their cost-effectiveness and outcome reliability will garner the funds with which to sustain and expand their efforts.

Most importantly, it takes real-time data for drug court teams to be able to monitor the quality of their services and continuously improve their services. ACG works with drug court teams to establish a comprehensive quality monitoring system by delivering critical data elements that are associated with effective services.

Program Evaluation

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, effectiveness and access to services.

1 Incarceration Rates Bv Crime. Blumstein and Beck, 1999