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Retrospective Evaluation of Two Pioneering Drug Courts: Phase I Findings From Clark County, Nevada, and Multnomah County, Oregon

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2000
274 pages
This report discusses first phase findings from the evaluation of two pioneering drug courts in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Portland, Oregon.
An evaluation of the evolution and operation of two pioneering drug courts in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Portland, Oregon, comprises this interim report of the National Evaluation of Drug Courts. The two sites were evaluated through researchers’ observations, interviews, group meetings with key participants, focus groups of drug court participants, retrospective sampling, and archival data collection. Following a brief description of Clark County, Nevada, and Multnomah County, Oregon, the sites of the drug courts examined in this retrospective evaluation, the authors discuss the importance of a drug court’s ability to reach its target population delivering treatment options in a timely manner. After discussing the growth in drug treatment courts since 1989, this report details literature judging the evaluation of treatment drug courts. Through analyzing the Nevada and Oregon drug treatment court models, policies, early interventions, enrollment, funding, health care reforms, special features, and impact of key events, this report finds that the impact, dynamics, and operations of drug treatment courts change over time. In Clark County, substantial changes occurred when the drug courts began accepting mostly persons who pled guilty, affecting enrollment numbers, the types of persons admitted to treatment programs, and the use of sanctions. In Multnomah County, the move away from a dedicated judge to a referee and the move towards more restrictive policies affected both enrollment numbers and outcomes. The authors conclude that understanding the relationship between important changes in the larger environment and the day-to-day operations and outcomes of the nation’s drug treatment courts is the key finding generated by this research report. Figures, references

Date Published: April 1, 2000