This is the executive summary of the report on the process and outcome evaluations of the first four tribal "wellness courts" (drug courts) funded under the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program's Tribal Drug Court Initiative.
The four tribal drug courts are the Blackfeet Alternative Court (Montana), the Fort Peck Community Wellness Court (Montana), the Hualapai Wellness Court (Arizona), and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Drug Court (Alabama). The evaluations found that each court had many strengths and success stories. Success was documented as a "slowing down" of alcohol and drug use in adult participants; however, graduates were as likely to reoffend as nongraduates, and participants as a whole had a relatively high 3-year recidivism rate that ranged from 50-64 percent in the adult courts and over 90 percent in the juvenile courts. For the adult program, graduates took longer to reoffend than nongraduates, and participants had fewer postprogram charges compared to their preprogram criminal histories. Juvenile graduates as a whole, on the other hand, showed no differences in recidivism patterns between graduates and those who did not complete the court program. Three of the four courts ceased operation when Federal funding ended. Primary reasons for failure to institutionalize the three courts were high staff turnover (especially judges) and lack of commitment to the courts from the community and tribal council. The evaluations' goals were to obtain input from the tribes; to use a mixed methodology in which qualitative perspectives from interviews provided context to quantitative results; to describe program development and compare it with planned implementation; and to determine the courts' impact on the behavioral patterns of participants, particularly regarding recidivism. 1 table
Date Published: December 1, 2005
Popular TopicsDrug courts Drug offenders Drug treatment Drug treatment programs Evaluation
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