Drug courts and recidivism: The results of an evaluation using two comparison groups and multiple indicators of recidivism

Cassia Spohn, Piper K. Piper, Tom Martin, Erika davis Frenzel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increases in the number of drug offenders appearing in state and federal courts, coupled with mounting evidence of both the linkages between drug use and crime and the efficacy of drug treatment programs, led many jurisdictions to implement drug treatment courts. Although these courts vary on a number of dimensions, most are designed to reduce drug use and criminal behavior among drug-involved offenders. This study evaluates the effectiveness of one drug court-the Douglas County (Omaha), Nebraska Drug Court-in reducing offender recidivism. We use a variety of analytical techniques to compare drug court participants and offenders in two matched comparison groups on a number of measures of recidivism. Our results reveal that drug court participants have substantially lower rates of recidivism than traditionally adjudicated felony drug offenders, and that the differences in recidivism rates between drug court participants and drug offenders who participated in a diversion program prior to the implementation of the drug court disappeared once we controlled for the offender's assessed level of risk, as indicated by his/her LSI score.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-176
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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