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NIJ's Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation

Date Published
November 4, 2012

NIJ funded an unprecedented drug court evaluation called the Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE).

On this page find:

Description of the Evaluation

This five-year longitudinal process, impact and cost evaluation of adult treatment drug court programs employed a hierarchical model and sampled nearly 1,800 drug court and non-drug-court persons on probation from 29 rural, suburban and urban jurisdictions across the United States.

The sample includes 23 drug courts and six comparison groups in eight states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington.

A conceptual framework for this study, similar in layout to a program logic model, conveys how resources are invested or input to generate activities designed to produce program outputs.

The framework proposes that program activities collectively will result in immediate or short-term outcomes for the participants, typically measured while they are in the program. The expectation then is that program participation will result in long-term outcomes, which include changes in drug use, criminal behavior and other functions.

Research Questions

The MADCE study addresses several research questions:

  • What is the impact of adult drug courts on alcohol and other drug use, criminal recidivism, employment and other functional outcomes?
  • What community, program and individual characteristics predict these short- and long-term outcomes?
  • How do changes in short-term outcomes — such as perceptions about the person who committed the offense and attitudes — mediate the impact of programs on long-term outcomes?
  • Are there cost savings attributable to drug court programs?

Data Collection

Data from MADCE include:

  • Three waves of interviews using Computer Assisted Personal Interview technology.
  • Administrative records on treatment and recidivism and drug detection tests for persons convicted of a crime.
  • Court observation and interviews with site staff and other stakeholders.
  • Detailed budget and other information for cost studies.

View a presentation to learn more about data collection for this evaluation.

Results From the Evaluation

The findings from NIJ's Multi-site Adult Drug Court Evaluation are available in the following executive summary and reports as well as in presentations at professional conferences.



Date Modified: June 1, 2023

This content has been reviewed and remains accurate and up to date.

Date Published: November 4, 2012