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Assessing the Efficacy of Treatment Modalities in the Context of Adult Drug Courts, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2003
231 pages
This study examined the effectiveness of treatment modalities in adult drug court settings.
Drug court models have emerged across the country as the one of the major justice system reforms of the 20th century. Generally, they are thought to reduce recidivism by changing the drug habits of offenders. This research examines treatment services and organizations involved in the drug court model in four jurisdictions across the United States. A total of 2,357 drug court participants were included in the evaluation that used a combination of survey data, interviews, and observations of treatment sessions. Chapter 1 presents an introduction to the study and to the drug court model. Chapter 2 presents the research design and methodology. Site selection is explained and the analysis method of regression analysis is discussed. Chapter 3 offers a comparison of the four drug court programs that were examined. Analysis is provided for their processing of offenders, their sanctions and rewards, and their drug testing protocols. Chapter 4 explores the organization of treatment services within the drug court model. Commonalities and differences in the types of treatment services provided drug court participants are reviewed and an evaluation of their structure, funding, and component services are offered. Chapter 5 provides information about the treatment counselors’ perspectives on the drug treatment services. The analysis reveals a lack of a coherent, consistent approach to responding to clients’ drug abuse problems. Chapter 6 offers an analysis of the direct observations of drug court treatment activities; main findings indicate that a broad range of therapeutic approaches are used, sometimes to the detriment of a specific treatment goal. Chapter 7 discusses the integration of court operations and treatment services, while chapter 8 presents the results of a retrospective study concerning participant characteristics and program fidelity. Chapter 9 offers a cross-site comparison of post-program recidivism rates, while chapter 10 presents the study conclusions. Overall results reveal no theoretical flaws in the drug court model. However, implementation of the drug court model, including both program integrity and actual drug court operations, may be failing to meet client needs. The future success of drug courts rests on their ability to address these issues. Tables, references, appendix

Date Published: April 1, 2003