The State of the Drug Court: A Systematic and Critical Analysis of Drug Court Evaluations
Neal, Roderick Q.
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Drug courts have become an important part of adult and juvenile corrections. Since the establishment of the first adult drug court in 1989, the therapeutic court model has developed, and can now be considered a significant component in American criminal justice. The problem is adult drug courts have faced considerable disapproval in the area of evaluation and documentation. Through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the federal government allots millions of dollars to support drug court programs; there have been attempts to count and record the activities of these programs with little success, there is little uniform data on actual drug court success nationwide. The intent of this dissertation was to systematically and critically analyze drug court evaluations. My major goal was to demonstrate the need for uniformity in regards to assessing the impacts on outcomes. I analyzed drug court evaluations and their attempt to identify factors that contribute to graduation, in-program recidivism/ retention rates, drug treatment relapse and postprogram recidivism rates. Forty drug court evaluations were used in this examination. Further, I introduced a model that will aid in examining the impacts on outcome. My studies' unit of analysis is the evaluation report. I attempted to explain specific issues, such as how well drug courts work for different types of offenders. I was also able to generate a well founded policy recommendation for the evaluation of drug courts based on empirical data and literature. Conclusions show that Drug Courts do reduce post-program recidivism however there were certain impacts on graduation and termination rates. I also demonstrated the need for more methodologically sound and uniform evaluations in order to determine effectiveness.
- Doctoral Dissertations