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Diverting Drug Offenders to Treatment: A First Year Report on DTAP (Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison) Expansion

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1993
85 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of an evaluation of the first year's operation of New York State's Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison (DTAP) Program after its expansion from Kings County to three other jurisdictions in 1993.
Most of the core elements of the Kings County model were adopted by the three new sites. All DTAP participants are defendants charged with felonies who, if convicted on the charge, would be mandated to prison terms as second felony offenders. Participants are assessed and identified as in need of drug treatment and have shown motivation to attend treatment. All agree to attend, in lieu of prison, a residential drug treatment program that typically lasts 16 to 20 months. Nearly all programs are run by private, community-based agencies that use the therapeutic community treatment model. If participants complete the program, charges against them are dismissed. Those who fail to complete the program are given the prison sentence they would have received had they not participated in the program. This report also notes program differences among the four sites. Two chapters of the report profile the participants in the new programs. Early results obtained from two motivational measures used with participants in the new programs are also described, and they are analyzed for their association with program attrition. Preliminary and tentative results show that the aggregate retention rate for the three new programs was 72 percent through mid-July. Attrition within 45 days was associated with the participant being less informed and less knowledgeable about the rules of participation in DTAP and about the consequences of treatment failure. The report's final chapter discusses a future agenda for DTAP research. The authors advise that implementing a controlled, or at least quasi-experimental research design, that involves a matched comparison group of offenders who did not attend DTAP should be the central goal of any long-term DTAP research agenda. Extensive data on each program and a 49-item bibliography

Date Published: January 1, 1993