In 1989, the Dade County Circuit Court developed an intensive, community-based,
treatment, rehabilitation, and supervision program for felony drug defendants
to address rapidly increasing recidivism rates. Less than twenty years later,
there are more than 2,140 drug courts in operation with another 284 being planned
Drug court diverts non-violent, substance abusing offenders from prison and
jail into treatment. By increasing direct supervision of offenders, coordinating
public resources, and expediting case processing, drug court can help break
the cycle of criminal behavior, alcohol and drug use, and incarceration. A
decade of research indicates that drug court reduces crime by lowering rearrest
and conviction rates, improving substance abuse treatment outcomes, and
reuniting families, and also produces measurable cost benefits.
Courts are operating or being planned in 50 States, the District of Columbia,
Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, two Federal Districts, and more
than 70 tribal locations.
the Current Picture: A National Report Card on Drug Courts and Other Problem
Solving Court Programs in the United States (PDF)
This report from the National Drug Court Institute presents data, results,
and outcomes compiled from numerous sources providing the current state of
drug court research as well as results from the National Survey on Problem
Adult Drug Courts: Evidence
Indicates Recidivism Reductions and Mixed Results for Other Outcomes (PDF)
This analysis of 23 drug court programs by from the United States Government
Accountability Office showed that lower percentages of drug court program participants
than comparison group members were rearrested or reconvicted, and that participants
had fewer recidivism events than comparison group members.
Local Drug Court
Research: Navigating Performance Measures and Process Evaluations (PDF)
The purpose of this document from the National Drug Court Institute is to promote
quality research for drug courts by providing a uniform and manageable data
collection and evaluation strategy for local programs. These measures can be
used across the spectrum of drug court programs to allow local jurisdictions
to answer questions from stakeholders and funding agencies, as well as promoting
sound management practices at the local court level.
Drug Court Review:
Special Research Edition (PDF)
This special edition of the National Drug Court Institute's practitioner journal
closely examines performance measurement, process evaluation, and recidivism
under the broad structure of a national research agenda for drug courts.
Drug Courts: The
This report presents findings from several recent studies that speak to the
concerns of policymakers and practitioners about "what works" in drug courts.
Topics addressed include how target populations and participant attributes
affect program outcomes, the judge's role in the success of drug court participants,
treatment issues, drug court interventions for juveniles, and cost-benefit
analyses of drug courts.
Juvenile Drug Courts:
Strategies in Practice (PDF)
This publication describes the framework for planning, implementing, and operating
a juvenile drug court.
Recidivism Rates for Drug
Court Graduates (PDF)
This NIJ sponsored report presents a general estimate of recidivism among a
nationally representative sample of drug court graduates.
Summary of Drug Court Activity
by State and County
Provides data on the number of drug courts that have been operating for over
2 years, recently been implemented, and those that are being planned.
Drug Court Links
In the Spotlight:
This online resource includes the most up-to-date, comprehensive information
regarding drug courts including statistics, legislation, programs, and events.
National Association of Drug Court
This organization seeks to reduce substance abuse, crime and recidivism by
promoting and advocating for the establishment and funding of drug courts.
National Drug Court Institute
The mission of this organization is to promote education, research, and scholarship
for drug courts and other court-based intervention programs.
Office of Justice
Programs Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project
This program maintains a comprehensive clearinghouse of operational and evaluative
materials on adult, juvenile, family, and tribal drug courts, and provides
on-site technical assistance to drug court programs.
Drug Court Discretionary
Grant Program (DCDG)
DCDG provides financial and technical assistance to states, state courts, local
courts, units of local government, and American Indian tribal governments to
develop and implement treatment drug courts.
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