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Beyond Crime and Drug Use: Do Adult Drug Courts Produce Other Psychosocial Benefits?

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2012
22 pages
This study examined the impact drug courts on understudied outcomes.
An extensive body of research indicates that adult drug courts reduce reoffending, whereas a more limited number of studies point to reductions in drug use as well. However, barely any research examines whether these programs produce benefits in other areas, including socioeconomic well-being, family relationships, mental health, and homelessness. To fill this important gap, findings are presented from a quasi-experimental study of 1,156 drug court participants from 23 sites and 625 comparison offenders from 6 sites where drug courts are unavailable. Six-month follow-up interviews were conducted with 1,533 offenders (86 percent) and 18-month interviews with 1,474 (83 percent) offenders. Findings indicate that drug courts produced modest positive effects (though many were not statistically significant) across a range of socioeconomic outcomes. Findings also indicate that drug courts reduced family conflict. However, significant effects were not evident with respect to emotional or instrumental support from family members, mental health, or homelessness. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.

Date Published: January 1, 2012