A two-and-a-half-year study shows that intensive, treatment-centered drug court programs are more likely than are traditional correctional measures to improve lives marred by illicit drug use, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The report compared the experiences of 535 drug court offenders with 644 offenders with similar profiles who did not opt for the drug court’s regimen of treatment, intensive supervision, incentives for good behavior and sanctions for reoffending.
Among the findings: Two and a half years after entering the program, 26 percent of the drug court cohort had been charged with a new offense, compared with 41 percent in the comparison group. Drug court participants spent fewer days incarcerated (jail plus prison) than does the comparison group, saving the state on average $3,200 per participant over two and a half years. More than half — 54 percent — of drug court participants finished the program, which typically involves about 18 months of frequent court appearances, random drug tests, and completion of treatment. Sanctions including incarceration are quickly imposed if a participant is found to be using drugs.