oversight

Drug Courts: Overview of Growth, Characteristics, and Results

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-07-31.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO              Report to the Committee on the
                 Judiciary, U.S. Senate, and the
                 Committee on the Judiciary, House of
                 Representatives

July 1997
                 DRUG COURTS
                 Overview of Growth,
                 Characteristics, and
                 Results




GAO/GGD-97-106
      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      General Government Division

      B-275268

      July 31, 1997

      The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
      Chairman
      The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
      Ranking Minority Member
      Committee on the Judiciary
      United States Senate

      The Honorable Henry J. Hyde
      Chairman
      The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
      Ranking Minority Member
      Committee on the Judiciary
      House of Representatives

      Title V of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which authorizes the
      award of federal grants for drug court programs, requires that we assess the effectiveness and
      impact of these grants and report to Congress. To assist Congress in its deliberations on
      whether to fund drug court programs, we provided a preliminary report in May 1995.1 In
      response to the legislative mandate and discussions with the Senate and House Judiciary
      Committees, this report discusses (1) the universe of and funding for drug courts; (2) their
      approaches, characteristics, and completion and retention rates; (3) the extent to which
      program and participant data are maintained and used to manage and evaluate drug courts; and
      (4) the results of our review and synthesis of existing published and unpublished evaluations or
      assessments of drug court programs regarding the impact of such programs. This report
      contains recommendations to the Attorney General, Secretary of Health and Human Services,
      and the Executive Director of the State Justice Institute to help ensure that, to the extent
      feasible, follow-up data on program participants are collected by drug court programs and
      considered in future impact evaluations.

      We are sending copies of this report to the Chairmen and Ranking Minority Members of other
      appropriate congressional committees, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and
      Human Services, the Executive Director of the State Justice Institute, the Director of the Office
      of Management and Budget, and other interested parties. Copies will also be made available to
      others upon request.




      1
       Drug Courts: Information on a New Approach to Address Drug-Related Crime (GAO/GGD-95-159BR, May 22, 1995).
B-275268

The major contributors to this report are listed in appendix X. If you or your staff have any
questions regarding this report, please call me on (202) 512-8777.




Norman J. Rabkin
Director, Administration of
  Justice Issues




                     Page 2                                    GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
B-275268




           Page 3   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Executive Summary


             Since the 1980s, the drug epidemic in the United States and the adoption
Purpose      of tougher drug policies by lawmakers and officials have contributed to an
             overload of drug cases on judicial dockets. In response to the deluge of
             drug cases and the cycle of criminal recidivism1 common among drug
             offenders, some state and local jurisdictions began in the late 1980s
             creating drug courts. These are special judicial proceedings generally used
             for nonviolent drug offenders that feature supervised treatment and
             periodic drug testing.

             Title V of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
             (P.L. 103-322) (hereafter referred to as the Violent Crime Act) specifically
             authorizes the award of federal grants for drug court programs that
             include court-supervised drug treatment.2 The act requires that GAO assess
             the effectiveness and impact of these grants and report to Congress. In
             response to this requirement and on the basis of discussions with the
             Senate and House Judiciary Committees, GAO focused its work on
             determining (1) the universe of and funding for drug court programs;
             (2) the approaches, characteristics, and completion and retention rates of
             existing programs; and (3) the extent to which program and participant
             data are maintained and used to manage and evaluate drug court
             programs.

             GAO also focused on determining what conclusions can be drawn from
             existing published and available unpublished evaluations or assessments
             of drug court programs on the impact of such programs, particularly as
             they relate to the following specific issues raised in Title V of the 1994
             Violent Crime Act and in GAO’s discussions with Senate and House
             Judiciary Committees: (1) criminal profile of program participants
             compared to similar offenders processed through the traditional
             adjudication system, (2) completion rates of participants, (3) differences
             in characteristics between program graduates and dropouts, (4) sanctions
             imposed on persons who failed to complete drug court programs or
             comply with program requirements, (5) drug use and criminal recidivism
             rates of program and nonprogram participants, and (6) costs and benefits
             of drug court programs to the criminal justice system.



             1
              GAO uses the term recidivism to refer generally to the act of committing new criminal offenses after
             having been arrested and/or convicted of a crime.
             2
              Under this act, the Attorney General in administering the federal drug court grant program is required
             to consult with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is responsible for providing grants to
             public and private entities that provide substance abuse treatment for individuals under criminal
             justice supervision.



             Page 4                                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                   Executive Summary




                   In 1995, GAO issued an initial report3 on drug court programs, which
                   provided preliminary information on programs operating at that time.


                   The main purpose of drug court programs is to use the authority of the
Background         court to reduce crime by changing defendants’ drug-using behavior. Under
                   this concept, in exchange for the possibility of dismissed charges or
                   reduced sentences, defendants are diverted to drug court programs in
                   various ways and at various stages of the judicial process depending on
                   the circumstances. Judges preside over drug court proceedings; monitor
                   the progress of defendants through frequent status hearings; and prescribe
                   sanctions and rewards as appropriate in collaboration with prosecutors,
                   defense attorneys, treatment providers, and others. Although there are
                   basic elements common to many drug court programs, the programs vary
                   in terms of approaches used, participant eligibility and program
                   requirements, type of treatment provided, sanctions and rewards, and
                   other practices.

                   With the assistance of the Drug Court Clearinghouse,4 GAO identified
                   existing drug court programs. GAO, among other things, then surveyed and
                   obtained responses from 134 of the 140 drug court programs that were
                   identified as operating as of December 31, 1996. GAO also did an evaluation
                   synthesis of 20 studies5 that included some relevant information on the
                   impact of specific drug court programs and identified a variety of other
                   documents that described program objectives and operations; provided
                   judicial commentary on these programs; and, in some cases, provided a
                   summary description of a number of programs.


                   There has been a substantial increase in the number of drug court
Results in Brief   programs started in the United States and the availability of federal
                   funding to support such programs. Between 1989 and 1994, 42 drug court

                   3
                   Drug Courts: Information on a New Approach to Address Drug-Related Crime, GAO/GGD-95-159BR,
                   May 22, 1995.
                   4
                    The Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project at the American University, which is
                   funded by the Department of Justice’s Drug Court Program Office, among other things, compiles,
                   publishes, and disseminates information and materials on drug courts and provides technical
                   assistance to jurisdictions involved with planning and implementing drug court programs.
                   5
                    GAO’s literary search and data collection efforts identified over 80 documents available as of
                   March 31, 1997, that were either published or unpublished evaluation studies; described program
                   objectives and operations; provided judicial commentary; and, in some cases, provided a summary
                   description of a number of programs. Only 20 of these documents met the criteria for inclusion in
                   GAO’s evaluation synthesis, including providing some information on the impact and/or effectiveness
                   of drug court programs.



                   Page 5                                                GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Executive Summary




programs were started.6 Since 1994, the total number of operating drug
court programs had grown to 161 as of March 31, 1997. The number of
drug court programs in various developmental stages as of the same date
indicates that the number of operating programs will likely continue to
grow.

Over $125 million has been made available for the planning,
implementation, enhancement, and/or evaluation studies of drug court
programs from a variety of funding sources since 1989. Federal funding,
which has increased substantially since 1993, has provided over
$80 million of the total. Over 95 percent of the federal funding has been
provided through federal grants administered by the Department of Justice
and the Department of Health and Human Services. State and local
governments, private donations, and fees collected from program
participants have provided about $45 million.

The drug court programs GAO surveyed were very diverse in approach,
characteristics, and completion and retention rates.7 Some programs
reported that they deferred prosecuting offenders who entered the
program, some allowed offenders to enter the program after their case had
been adjudicated, and others allowed offenders to enter their program on
a trial basis after entering a plea. Although all of the programs GAO
surveyed reported having a treatment component as a part of their overall
program, results from a Drug Court Clearinghouse survey indicated that
the type and extent of treatment provided to program participants varied
among the programs. Populations targeted by these programs also varied
among the drug court programs and included adults and juveniles,




6
 This number, which is based on GAO’s independent survey and other sources, differs from the 36 drug
court programs cited in GAO’s prior report (GGD-95-159BR) as started between 1989 and 1994, which
was based on information obtained from the Drug Court Clearinghouse at the time.
7
 “Completion rates” and “retention rates” are indicators commonly used in the drug court community
to measure the impact of drug court programs. Completion rates refer to individuals who completed or
were favorably discharged from a drug court program as a percentage of the total number admitted
and not still enrolled. This measure is an indicator of the extent to which offenders successfully
complete their drug court program requirements. Retention rates refer to individuals who are currently
active participants in or have completed or were favorably discharged from a drug court program as a
percentage of the total number admitted. This measure is an indicator of the extent to which a
program has been successful at retaining program participants in the program at the time of GAO’s
survey. Although interrelated, both measures are helpful in assessing program performance. A
program that had been operating consistently over a longer period would be expected to have similar
completion and retention rates.



Page 6                                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Executive Summary




nonviolent and some violent offenders,8 offenders with and without a
substance addiction9, and first-time and repeat offenders. However, drug
court programs most frequently reported that participants were typically
adult, nonviolent offenders with a substance addiction. The drug court
programs GAO surveyed reported that, since 1989, they had admitted over
65,000 offenders. The completion and retention rates for participants in
these programs were reported to range, respectively, from about 8 to
95 percent and 31 to 100 percent.

With the exception of follow-up data on program participants after leaving
the program, most drug court programs surveyed by GAO reported that
they maintained various types of data on program participants as
suggested by the Department of Justice in its guidance to jurisdictions
applying for federal grants under (1) Title V of the Violent Crime Act;
(2) the Health and Human Services’ Center for Substance Abuse and
Treatment in its drug court treatment guidelines; and (3) the National
Association of Drug Court Professionals’ Standards Committee, which
develops standards and provides guidance to drug court programs, in its
recently issued drug court program “Key Components” guide. In addition,
collaborative efforts among drug court program stakeholders have been
undertaken to study the feasibility of and suggest ways to overcome
obstacles, including cost and legal issues, associated with a recognized
need in the drug court community to collect and maintain follow-up and
other data on drug court program participants, which some drug court
programs and stakeholders have demonstrated to be feasible to collect.

GAO,for several reasons, could not draw any firm conclusions on the
overall impact of drug court programs or on certain specific issues raised
by Congress about the programs or their participants. For example, many


8
 Survey responses were based on individual jurisdictions’ definitions of a “violent offender,” which
may or may not differ from the federal definition as defined under the Violent Crime Act to mean a
person who (1) is charged with or convicted of an offense, during the course of which offense or
conduct (a) the person carried, possessed, or used a firearm or dangerous weapon; (b) there occurred
the death of or serious bodily injury to any person; or (c) there occurred the use of force against the
person of another, without regard to whether any of the circumstances described in the
aforementioned subparagraphs is an element of the offense or conduct of which or for which the
person is charged or convicted; or (2) has one or more prior convictions for a felony crime of violence
involving the use or attempted use of force against a person with the intent to cause death or serious
bodily harm.
9
 According to the Department of Health and Human Services officials and other drug court program
stakeholders, persons admitted without substance addictions are likely to include persons with
substance abuse problems who were not identified as being addicted during their initial screening. In
addition, some drug court programs target special populations. For example, the Jackson County,
Missouri, drug court program, in addition to targeting others, targets prostitutes because of the
likelihood that their drug abuse is the reason for their criminal behavior. Another program in Las
Vegas, Nevada, targets parents or guardians of juveniles who have been identified as having a
substance addiction.


Page 7                                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                           Executive Summary




                           of the evaluations available at the time of GAO’s review (1) involved
                           programs that were relatively new at the time of the evaluations and were
                           diverse in nature; (2) had differences and limitations in their objectives,
                           scopes, and methodologies, including (in 11 of the 20 studies) no
                           assessment of program participants after they left the programs, and (in 14
                           of the 20 studies) no comparison of how participants and nonparticipant
                           arrest rates compared after program completion; and (3) showed varied
                           results regarding program impact and the specific issues raised about drug
                           court programs and their participants.

                           Justice, in conjunction with various stakeholders in the drug court
                           community, has initiated an impact evaluation, to be completed in 1999, of
                           four of the oldest drug court programs. This evaluation is designed to
                           address some of the factors associated with existing studies that
                           prevented GAO from reaching firm conclusions. However, GAO notes that
                           the outcomes of any future evaluations of drug court programs may be
                           hindered by the lack of available follow-up data, which drug court
                           programs are not currently required to collect. If issues raised by Congress
                           and others about the efficacy of drug court programs are to be addressed,
                           following up on participants and nonparticipants (i.e., eligible offenders
                           who chose not to participate) for some period after they leave the program
                           to find out whether they committed new crimes or relapsed into drug use
                           would be important.



Principal Findings

The Number of Drug Court   Based on GAO’s survey, 42 drug court programs were started between 1989
Programs and the           and 1994. Since then, 4 have closed and 123 more have started, bringing
Availability of Funding    the total number of drug court programs operating to 161 as of March 31,
                           1997. Moreover, an additional 154 drug court programs were in various
Have Increased             developmental stages as of the same date, indicating potential future
                           growth in the number of operating courts. Drug court programs were
                           operating in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and were
                           being planned or studied in 8 of the remaining 12 states and Guam. About
                           40 percent of the drug court programs operating were in California and
                           Florida.

                           Overall, information obtained directly from federal funding sources and
                           134 of the 140 drug court programs identified as operating as of December




                           Page 8                                   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Executive Summary




31, 1996, showed that over $125 million in resources was obtained from
federal, state, and local governments; private sources; and participant fees
for planning, implementing, enhancing, and/or evaluating drug court
programs.10 Federal funding, which has increased substantially since
1993,11 has provided over $80 million of the funding. From fiscal years 1990
through 1993, federal multipurpose funding sources provided about
$6 million in federal grants to support drug court programs. Since then,
about $75 million in additional federal funds have been awarded through
March 31, 1997. These funds were obtained from existing multipurpose
grants and three additional federal funding sources that made funds
specifically available for planning, implementing, enhancing, and/or
evaluating drug court programs.

Over 95 percent of the federal funding has been provided through federal
grants administered by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human
Services. Drug court programs reported that about $45 million was
provided by state and local governments, private sources, and/or fees
collected from program participants since 1989. However, in commenting
on a draft of this report, some drug court program stakeholders expressed
the opinion that this amount may understate the actual amount of funding
provided by state and local governments and other sources because some
of the respondents to GAO’s survey may have failed to include the
state/local jurisdictions’ contributions towards the administrative cost of
the program staff (judges, prosecutors, pretrial service staff, court clerks,
program coordinators, etc.) and/or cost of program facilities (courthouse
and other administrative facilities) that are often contributed by the local
jurisdiction.




10
  The total amount of funding supporting drug court programs is likely understated because (1) some
drug court programs were not able to determine the precise amount of funding they received from
federal, state, and local governments; private funding sources; and/or participant fees and (2) certain
multipurpose federal funding sources, which did not specifically target drug court programs, had not
been tracking the funding of drug court programs. In addition, information on the total amount of
various federal block grant funding awarded to jurisdictions and used to support drug court programs,
as well as Medicaid funding that may have been used by drug court participants to pay for the cost of
treatment, was not available from either the funding sources or recipients.
11
  Although GAO did not analyze the extent of increases in state and local funding, it has likely
increased during this same time period due to the requirements for matching funds associated with
most federal grants.


Page 9                                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                               Executive Summary




Approaches,                    In response to GAO’s survey, about 44 percent of the drug court programs
Characteristics, and           operating as of December 31, 1996, reported deferring prosecution of drug
Completion and Retention       offenders who agreed to enter a drug treatment program, and about
                               38 percent said that they allowed offenders to enter the program after
Rates of Existing Drug         being adjudicated. About 10 percent reported that they used both
Court Programs Are             approaches, and the remaining 8 percent said they used some other
Diverse                        approach.

                               All of the drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996, that
                               were surveyed by GAO reported having a treatment component, and
                               82 percent reported that participants generally started treatment within a
                               week of entering the program. However, the type and extent of treatment
                               provided to program participants varied among the drug court programs.
                               For example, drug court programs responding to a Drug Court
                               Clearinghouse survey reported using an array of treatment services, with
                               the use of these services varying among programs. In addition, some
                               programs reported that a weekly visit to the treatment provider was
                               required; others a minimum of three visits; and in some more extensive
                               programs, four to five visits per week were required.

                               The drug court programs responding to GAO’s survey reported targeting
                               various populations, including adults, women, juveniles, nonviolent and
                               violent offenders, offenders with and without a substance addiction,
                               first-time and repeat offenders, and probation violators. For example

                           •   About 16 percent reported that juveniles were eligible to participate in
                               their drug court program.
                           •   About 6 percent accepted offenders with a current conviction for a violent
                               offense.
                           •   About 16 percent accepted offenders with a prior conviction for a violent
                               offense.
                           •   About 17 percent accepted offenders without a substance addiction.
                           •   About 78 percent accepted repeat offenders.
                           •   About 63 percent accepted probation violators.

                               Drug court programs most frequently reported that program participants
                               were adult, nonviolent offenders with a substance addiction.

                               GAO’sanalysis of responses to its survey further showed that as of
                               December 31, 1996, 65,921 people had been admitted to drug court
                               programs in the United States since 1989. About 31 percent (20,594) had
                               completed programs, and about 24 percent (16,051) had failed to complete



                               Page 10                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                            Executive Summary




                            programs because they were terminated or they voluntarily withdrew or
                            died while in the program. About 40 percent, or 26,465 offenders, were
                            reported to be enrolled in drug court programs as of December 31, 1996.12
                            The status of the remaining 4 percent, or about 2,800 people, was
                            unknown.13

                            The completion rate for participants in 56 of the 62 drug court programs
                            surveyed that were identified as operating as of December 31, 1996, for
                            more than 18 months ranged from about 8 to 95 percent and averaged
                            about 48 percent.14 The retention rate for 131 of the 134 programs GAO
                            surveyed ranged from about 31 to 100 percent and averaged about
                            71 percent.15


Except for Follow-Up        Guidelines issued by Justice in 1996 require recipients of federal funds
Data, Most Drug Court       from the Violent Crime Act to demonstrate the capability to ensure
Programs Reported           adequate program management through ongoing monitoring, tracking, and
                            program evaluation. In this regard, the guidelines suggest that, among
Collecting and Using        other things, the following information be collected for drug court
Suggested Management        participants and, to the extent possible, similarly situated nonparticipants:
and Evaluation Data
                        •   criminal justice history,
                        •   history of substance abuse,
                        •   level of use of controlled or addictive substances at the point of entry into
                            the program,
                        •   data on substance abuse relapse while in the program,
                        •   data on rearrest and/or conviction for a crime while in the program,
                        •   completion/noncompletion of drug court program,
                        •   follow-up data on substance abuse relapse after completing the program,
                            and
                        •   follow-up data on rearrest and/or conviction for a crime after completing
                            the program.

                            12
                              Of the 26,465 enrollees, about 25 percent, or 6,564, did not regularly attend programs or were wanted
                            on bench warrants for failure to appear as of December 31, 1996. However, the median for the 128 drug
                            court programs that were able to account for the status of enrolled program participants was 5
                            inactive participants, and 1 drug court program accounted for about 1,200 of the 6,564 inactive
                            enrollees.
                            13
                              Percentages do not add to 100 percent due to rounding.
                            14
                             Completion rates were not applicable for three of the programs because they had retained
                            100 percent of the program participants admitted at the time of GAO’s survey. For the remaining three
                            programs, GAO was unable to calculate a completion rate because complete information on the status
                            of certain program participants could not be provided by the drug court programs surveyed.
                            15
                              GAO was unable to calculate retention rates for three programs, because complete information on
                            the status of certain program participants could not be provided by the drug court programs surveyed.


                            Page 11                                                GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Executive Summary




In commenting on a draft of this report, Justice pointed out that it does not
have the statutory authority to mandate that states or local jurisdictions
collect specific program data for drug court programs funded by its block
grants.

In its 1996 and 1997 guidance, the Department of Health and Human
Service’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment adopted similar
suggestions for collecting and maintaining data on program participants.
In its recently issued drug court program guide, the National Association
of Drug Court Professionals’ Drug Court Standards Committee also
adopted similar suggestions, including suggesting that data be collected
and maintained on relapse and criminal recidivism of program participants
after they leave the program and comparative data on similarly situated
nonparticipants. However, recipients of other federal funds administered
by the Department of Justice, as well as those receiving funds
administered by the State Justice Institute16 are not subject to similar
guidance.

Over 90 percent of the drug court programs operating as of December 31,
1996, reported maintaining most of the suggested data to enable them to
manage and evaluate their programs. However, about 67 percent of the
drug court programs reported not maintaining follow-up drug relapse data,
and about 47 percent reported not maintaining suggested follow-up data
on rearrest or conviction for a crime once participants leave the programs.
GAO’s survey results showed that no significant difference was associated
with the source of funding (federal, state/local, private, etc.) received and
the extent to which drug court programs collected and maintained
suggested follow-up data. GAO notes that since its survey was conducted,
additional evidence has become available to indicate that collaborative
efforts among stakeholders in the drug court community have been
undertaken to study the feasibility of and address obstacles, including cost
and legal issues, associated with a recognized need in the drug court
community to collect and maintain follow-up and other data on drug court
program participants.

A significant number of drug court programs and some drug court
community stakeholders have demonstrated that it would be feasible to
collect and maintain follow-up data on criminal recidivism of program
participants, and others have demonstrated that it would be somewhat


16
 The State Justice Institute is a nonprofit organization created by federal law and funded through
congressional appropriations. Among other things, the State Justice Institute has provided grants for
evaluation studies of drug court programs.



Page 12                                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                          Executive Summary




                          feasible to collect and maintain follow-up data on drug use relapse. For
                          example, in March 1997, the Department of Justice through a cooperative
                          agreement with the Justice Management Institute sponsored a meeting
                          involving various drug court stakeholders that focused on, among other
                          things, the need for and ways to overcome obstacles associated with
                          obtaining follow-up data on program participants to adequately monitor
                          and evaluate the impact of drug court programs.


Existing Evaluations      The 20 evaluation studies that GAO reviewed and synthesized did not
Provide Some Limited      permit GAO to reach definitive conclusions concerning the overall impact
Information but Do Not    of drug courts or the other specific issues mentioned earlier that have
                          been raised by Congress and in GAO’s discussions with the Senate and
Permit Firm Conclusions   House Judiciary Committees about drug court programs and the offenders
Regarding Drug Court      who participate in them. For example, many of the available studies
Impact                    involved program approaches and characteristics that were diverse in
                          nature, including, among other things, differences in eligible participants,
                          differences in completion requirements, and differences in the type and
                          extent of treatment provided. Also, various differences and limitations
                          were associated with the objectives, scopes, and methodologies of these
                          studies. Among other things, most of the studies evaluated drug court
                          programs that were still in their first or second year of operation, with
                          many of the program participants being evaluated still active in the
                          programs. Most of the available studies involved very short follow-up
                          periods. Eleven of the 20 studies did not include an assessment of
                          postprogram criminal recidivism among program participants, and none of
                          the studies included an assessment of postprogram drug use relapse. Also,
                          most of the available studies (in 14 of the 20 studies) involved no
                          comparison between participants and nonparticipant arrest rates after
                          program completion.

                          Although GAO cannot draw any firm conclusions on the overall impact of
                          drug court programs or on specific issues that have been raised, GAO does
                          provide some limited information in chapter 5 on these issues to the extent
                          they are addressed in the 20 available studies it reviewed and synthesized.

                          In April 1997, Justice issued a solicitation for an impact evaluation of four
                          of the oldest drug court programs, which included an assessment of
                          program participants after they leave the program. Also, during a
                          March 1997 meeting involving Justice and various drug court program
                          stakeholders, attention was given to the need for maintaining follow-up
                          information on program participants and using it in any future impact



                          Page 13                                   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                           Executive Summary




                           evaluations. Justice expects these efforts to address some of the factors
                           associated with existing studies that prevented GAO from drawing firm
                           conclusions.


                           Congress and others have raised reasonable questions about whether drug
Recommendations            court programs are effective. However, these questions have not been
                           answered definitively by the programs themselves or studies done to date,
                           in large part because critical data about program participants after they
                           leave the program or similarly situated non-participants have not been
                           available. Accordingly, to help ensure more effective management and
                           evaluation of drug court programs, GAO recommends that the Attorney
                           General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services

                       •   require drug court programs funded by discretionary grants administered
                           by Justice and Health and Human Services to collect and maintain
                           follow-up data on program participants’ criminal recidivism and, to the
                           extent feasible, follow-up data on drug use relapse.
                       •   require drug court programs funded by formula or block grants
                           administered by Justice and Health and Human Services, to the extent
                           permitted by law, to collect and maintain follow-up data on program
                           participants’ criminal recidivism and, to the extent feasible, follow-up data
                           on drug use relapse. Where no statutory authority exists to impose such
                           requirements, GAO recommends that Justice and Health and Human
                           Services include in their respective grant guidelines language to suggest
                           that drug court programs funded by these sources similarly collect and
                           maintain such data.

                           To better ensure that conclusions about the impact of drug court programs
                           on participants’ criminal recidivism and/or drug use relapse can be drawn,
                           GAO recommends that the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and
                           Human Services, and the Executive Director of the State Justice Institute
                           require that the scope of future impact evaluations of drug court programs
                           funded by their respective agencies include an assessment of program
                           participants’ postprogram criminal recidivism and drug use relapse and,
                           whenever feasible, compare drug court participants with similar
                           nonparticipants.


                           The Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, the State
Agency Comments            Justice Institute, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals,
and GAO’s Evaluation       and the Drug Court Clearinghouse provided written comments on a draft



                           Page 14                                   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Executive Summary




of this report. These comments are discussed at the end of chapters 1, 2,
and 5. These organizations generally agreed with GAO’s findings relating to
the growth, characteristics, and results of drug court programs and the
conclusions and recommendations relating to the collection and
maintenance of follow-up data on program participants and impact
evaluations of these programs. However, Justice raised a legal concern
about its ability to impose mandatory requirements on congressionally
authorized entitlement grants—formula or block grant programs. The
State Justice Institute raised concern about its ability to impose data
collection requirements on programs for which it only provides short-term
funding. Also, Justice and the National Association of Drug Court
Professionals indicated that one of the difficulties associated with GAO’s
recommendation that evaluations of drug court programs include
follow-up data and comparison groups is the lack of ongoing technical
assistance and sufficient resources available to drug court programs to
enable them to develop the capacity for data collection and program
evaluation. While Justice reiterated that it has taken a number of steps to
develop the capacity for data collection and evaluation among its drug
court grantees, Justice notes that it will work with Congress to increase its
funding for technical assistance.

GAO  revised its recommendations to recognize statutory limitations that
may be associated with formula and block grant programs administered by
Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services. GAO did not,
however, systematically review and therefore cannot comment on the
sufficiency and adequacy of technical assistance and related resources
that are currently being provided to drug court programs.

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals and the Drug Court
Clearinghouse commented that while it may be too early to reach firm
conclusions on the impact of drug court programs, the retention and
completion rates from GAO’s survey results and the differences in
recidivism rates revealed in the evaluation studies reviewed by GAO permit
a more positive conclusion about drug court programs than GAO arrives at
in its report. GAO continues to believe it is essential to emphasize that there
are shortcomings associated with many of the evaluations of drug court
programs that have been done, and thus there are good reasons for
withholding final judgment until more and better data are collected and
additional studies are completed.

The Department of Health and Human Services expressed concerns with
the lack of a thorough assessment of the adequacy of treatment being



Page 15                                   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Executive Summary




provided to drug court program participants in the scope of GAO’s study.
While GAO recognizes the Department’s view that it would be helpful to
have a detailed assessment of the quality and adequacy of the treatment
component of the drug court program, such an effort would have gone
well beyond the objectives and scope of this overview assessment of drug
court programs.




Page 16                                GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Page 17   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Contents



Executive Summary                                                                                4


Chapter 1                                                                                       22
                       Drug Court Approaches                                                    23
Introduction           Participant Eligibility Criteria                                         24
                       Treatment Requirements                                                   24
                       Program Completion Requirements                                          25
                       Program Sanctions                                                        26
                       Termination Criteria                                                     26
                       Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                       27
                       Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                       31

Chapter 2                                                                                       32
                       Growth in Number of Drug Court Programs                                  32
Number of Drug Court   Sources of and Increase in Drug Court Program Funding                    38
Programs and           Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                       48
Availability of
Funding Have
Increased
Chapter 3                                                                                       50
                       Drug Court Programs Reported Using Various Approaches to                 50
Approaches,              Process Offenders
Characteristics, and   Drug Court Programs Generally Reported Varying Types and                 51
                         Range of Treatment Services
Completion and         Drug Court Programs Reported Targeting a Diverse Group of                53
Retention Rates of       Offenders
Existing Drug Court    Reported Completion and Retention Rates of Drug Court                    54
                         Programs Varied
Programs Were
Diverse




                       Page 18                               GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                       Contents




Chapter 4                                                                                        61
                       DOJ, HHS’ CSAT, and the NADCP Standards Committee                         61
Except for Follow-Up     Guidelines Suggest That Drug Court Programs Maintain Certain
Data, Most Drug          Data on Participants
                       Most Drug Court Programs Reported They Maintain All but                   63
Court Programs           Follow-Up Data on Participants
Reported Maintaining   Feasibility Issues Relating to the Collection and Maintenance of          65
and Using Suggested      Follow-Up Data
                       Conclusions                                                               68
Management and
Evaluation Data
Chapter 5                                                                                        69
                       Description of the Evaluation Studies                                     69
Existing Evaluations   Various Factors Prevent Drawing Firm Conclusions Regarding                70
Provide Some Limited     Drug Court Impact
                       General Outcomes Reported in Studies Relating to Specific Issues          74
Information but Do       Raised About Drug Court Programs
Not Permit Firm        DOJ and Drug Court Community Efforts May Help to Provide                  84
Conclusions              Some Definitive Answers
                       Conclusions                                                               85
Regarding Drug Court   Recommendations                                                           87
Impact                 Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                        88

Appendixes             Appendix I: Flowchart of Two Drug Court Approaches                        92
                       Appendix II: Survey of Drug Court Programs                                94
                       Appendix III: Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s Assessment of               101
                         Available Evaluations of Drug Court Programs
                       Appendix IV: Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court                    129
                         Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31, 1997
                       Appendix V: Comments From the Department of Justice                      141
                       Appendix VI: Comments From the Department of Health and                  146
                         Human Services
                       Appendix VII: Comments From the State Justice Institute                  151
                       Appendix VIII: Comments From the National Association of Drug            155
                         Court Professionals
                       Appendix IX: Comments From the Drug Court Clearinghouse and              158
                         Technical Assistance Project
                       Appendix X: Major Contributors to This Report                            165
                       Bibliography                                                             166




                       Page 19                                GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
          Contents




Tables    Table 2.1: Schedule of the Violent Crime Act Grant                       42
            Authorizations, Appropriations, and Awards
          Table 2.2: Number and Amount of the Violent Crime Act Grants             43
            Awarded to Drug Court Programs, Fiscal Years 1995-1997
          Table 2.3: Summary of Federal Funding Provided to Drug Court             45
            Programs, Fiscal Years 1990-1997
          Table 3.1: Types of Participants Reported as Eligible to                 54
            Participate in Drug Court Programs
          Table 3.2: Completion and Retention Rates of Drug Court                  56
            Programs Operating as of December 31, 1996
          Table 4.1: Percentage of Drug Court Programs that Reported               64
            Maintaining Data on Participants
          Table 5.1: Matrix of Studies Showing Which Study Provided                73
            Information on Congressional Issues
          Table 5.2: Evaluation Studies Classified According to Whether            80
            They Included Comparison Groups and When They Measured
            Recidivism

Figures   Figure 2.1: Increase in the Number of Drug Court Programs                33
            Between 1989 and March 31, 1997
          Figure 2.2: Number of Drug Court Programs Started Between                34
            1989 and March 31, 1997
          Figure 2.3: Comparison of Drug Court Program Locations as of             36
            December 31, 1994, and March 31, 1997
          Figure 2.4: Percentage of Drug Court Programs Reporting                  39
            Receiving Various Types of Funding
          Figure 2.5: Percentage of Federal Funding, by Source                     47
          Figure 3.1: Various Approaches Used by Drug Court Programs to            51
            Process Cases of Program Participants
          Figure 3.2: Status of Drug Court Program Participants Admitted           55
            Since 1989, as of December 31, 1996




          Page 20                               GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Contents




Abbreviations

AA         Alcoholics Anonymous
BJA        Bureau of Justice Assistance
CSAT       Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
DOJ        Department of Justice
DCPO       Drug Courts Program Office
HHS        Department of Health and Human Services
HUD        Department of Housing and Urban Development
JMI        Justice Management Institute
LLEBG      Local Law Enforcement Block Grants
NA         Narcotics Anonymous
NADCP      National Association of Drug Court Professionals
NCJRS      National Criminal Justice Reference Service
NIJ        National Institute of Justice
ONDCP      Office of National Drug Control Policy
OJP        Office of Justice Programs
SJI        State Justice Institute


Page 21                                GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Chapter 1

Introduction


               Since the 1980s, the drug epidemic in the United States has contributed to
               an overload of drug cases in many state and local criminal justice systems.
               The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) estimates that each
               year illegal drugs kill more than 16,000 Americans and cost taxpayers
               nearly seventy billion dollars, and that more than half of all people brought
               into the nation’s criminal justice system have substance abuse problems.
               According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), these drug abusers were
               more likely than nonabusers to be rearrested. In response to the deluge of
               drug cases in the late 1980s and the cycle of criminal recidivism common
               among drug offenders, some state and local jurisdictions began creating
               drug courts.1 Title V of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement
               Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322) (hereafter referred to as the Violent Crime Act)
               specifically authorizes DOJ to award federal grants for drug courts that
               have programs offering court-supervised drug treatment. The act does not
               authorize grants for courts designed solely to expedite the processing of
               drug cases. Under this act, the Attorney General, in administering the
               federal drug court grant program, is required to consult with the Secretary
               of Health and Human Services (HHS), who is responsible for, among other
               things, providing grants to public and nonprofit private entities that
               provide substance abuse treatment for individuals under criminal justice
               supervision.

               The main purpose of drug courts is to use the authority of the court to
               reduce crime by changing defendants’ drug-using behavior. Under this
               concept, in exchange for the possibility of dismissed charges or reduced
               sentences, defendants are diverted to drug court programs in various ways
               and at various stages of the judicial process depending on the
               circumstances. Typically, judges preside over drug court proceedings;
               monitor the progress of defendants through frequent status hearings; and
               prescribe sanctions and rewards as appropriate in collaboration with
               prosecutors, defense attorneys, related criminal justice agencies,
               treatment providers, and other social service and community
               organizations. The extent and nature of collaboration depends on local
               needs and the targeted population being served and, thus, may differ
               considerably among drug court programs.


               1
                According to DOJ, two types of drug courts have evolved: those that (1) expedite drug cases without
               court-supervised drug treatment and (2) use court-monitored drug treatment to attempt to achieve
               changes in defendants’ drug-using behavior. This report focuses on the latter, drug treatment courts.
               Throughout this report, we use the term “drug court programs” to refer to these courts. DOJ defines
               drug treatment courts as special court calendars or dockets designed to achieve a reduction in
               recidivism and substance abuse among nonviolent, substance abusing offenders by increasing their
               likelihood for successful rehabilitation through early, continuous, and intense judicially supervised
               treatment; mandatory periodic drug testing; and the use of appropriate sanctions and other
               rehabilitation services.



               Page 22                                                GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
             Chapter 1
             Introduction




             The approaches used by and basic elements common to drug court
             programs, including participant eligibility criteria, treatment requirements,
             completion requirements, and program sanctions are discussed next.


             According to a report provided by the Drug Court Clearinghouse,2 drug
Drug Court   courts have generally taken two approaches to processing cases:
Approaches   (1) deferred prosecution (diversion) and (2) postadjudication. In the
             deferred prosecution approach, shortly after being charged, defendants
             waive their right to a speedy trial and enter a treatment program.
             Defendants who fail to complete the treatment program have their charges
             adjudicated. Defendants who complete the treatment program are not
             prosecuted further or have their charges dismissed. This approach is
             intended to capitalize on the trauma of arrest and offers defendants the
             opportunity to obtain treatment and avoid the possibility of a felony
             conviction.

             In the postadjudication approach, defendants plead guilty or are tried and,
             if convicted, their sentences are deferred and/or incarceration is
             suspended pending successful completion of drug court program
             requirements. This approach provides an incentive for the defendant to
             rehabilitate because progress toward rehabilitation is factored into the
             sentencing determination. (See app. I for a flowchart of these two drug
             court approaches.)

             According to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals
             (NADCP),3 another common approach, the hybrid plea approach, generally
             allows a defendant to enter a plea; waive rights to a jury trial; and/or admit
             to evidence entered and enter the drug court program on a voluntary basis
             for a limited trial period after which time the defendant has to decide
             whether to remain in the program or serve his or her sentence.



             2
              The Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project, which is funded by the Department
             of Justice’s Drug Courts Program Office, began operating October 1, 1995, under a cooperative
             agreement with the American University, in partnership with the National Consortium of Treatment
             Alternatives to Street Crime Program. The Drug Court Clearinghouse, among other things, compiles,
             publishes, and disseminates information and materials on drug courts and provides technical
             assistance to jurisdictions involved with planning and implementing drug court programs.
             3
              This is the principal organization of professionals involved in the development of treatment-oriented
             drug courts. Organized in 1994 by the 12 original drug court programs, its members include judges,
             prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment-service providers, educators, researchers, and community
             leaders. NADCP acts primarily as an advocate for the development of effective drug court programs
             and works to provide guidance to the drug court community through its education and training
             programs. NADCP has no statutory or regulatory authority over drug court program operations.



             Page 23                                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                          Chapter 1
                          Introduction




                          According to the Drug Court Clearinghouse, drug court programs
Participant Eligibility   generally accept defendants with substance abuse problems who were
Criteria                  being charged with drug possession and/or other nonviolent offenses such
                          as property crimes. Some drug court programs allow defendants who have
                          prior convictions, and others do not. In addition, as discussed in chapter 3,
                          our survey results show that some programs allow defendants without a
                          substance addiction and defendants currently or previously charged with a
                          violent offense. Federal grants administered under the Violent Crime Act
                          are not supposed to be awarded to any drug court program that allows
                          either current or past violent offenders to participate in its program.4


                          According to the Drug Court Clearinghouse, in most drug court programs,
Treatment                 treatment is designed to usually last at least 1 year and is generally
Requirements              administered on an outpatient basis with limited inpatient treatment as
                          needed to address special detoxification or relapse situations.5 Many of
                          the programs operate with the philosophy that because drug addiction is a
                          disease, relapses can occur and that the court must respond with
                          progressive sanctions and/or enhance treatment rather than immediately
                          terminate a participant.

                          The central element of all drug court programs is attendance at the
                          regularly scheduled status hearings at which the drug court judge
                          monitors the progress of participants. Monitoring is based on treatment
                          provider reports on such matters as drug testing and attendance at
                          counseling sessions. The judge is to reinforce progress and address
                          noncompliance with program requirements. The primary objectives of the
                          status hearing are to keep the defendant in treatment and to provide
                          continuing court supervision.

                          Treatment services are generally divided into three phases and
                          detoxification, stabilization, counseling, drug education, and therapy are
                          commonly provided during phases I and II and, in some instances,
                          throughout the program. Other services relating to personal and
                          educational development, job skills, and employment services are

                          4
                           The 1994 Violent Crime Act defines “violent offender” to mean a person who “(1) is charged with or
                          convicted of an offense, during the course of which offense or conduct (a) the person carried,
                          possessed, or used a firearm or dangerous weapon; (b) there occurred the death of or serious bodily
                          injury to any person; or (c) there occurred the use of force against the person of another, without
                          regard to whether any of the circumstances described in the aforementioned subparagraphs is an
                          element of the offense or conduct of which or for which the person is charged or convicted; or (2) has
                          one or more prior convictions for a felony crime of violence involving the use or attempted use of
                          force against a person with the intent to cause death or serious bodily harm.”
                          5
                           These programs recognize that some individuals will require a longer period to complete the program.



                          Page 24                                                GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                         Chapter 1
                         Introduction




                         provided during phases II and III, after participants have responded to
                         initial detoxification and stabilization. Housing, family, and medical
                         services are frequently available throughout the program. In some
                         instances, a fourth phase consisting primarily of aftercare-related services
                         is provided. The objectives of drug court program treatment are generally
                         to (1) eliminate the program participants’ physical dependence on drugs
                         through detoxification; (2) treat the defendant’s craving for drugs through
                         stabilization, also referred to as the rehabilitation stage in which frequent
                         group and/or individual counseling sessions are generally employed; and
                         (3) focus on helping the defendant obtain education or job training, find a
                         job, and remain drug free.

                         HHS’ Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), which has provided
                         technical support, guidelines, and assistance to the drug court community,
                         in its 1997 planning guide and checklist for treatment-based drug courts6
                         identified the following as critical elements of comprehensive substance
                         abuse treatment:

                     •   Screening to determine the likelihood of substance abuse;
                     •   Assessment to determine the individual’s biopsychosocial needs, and to
                         develop an individualized treatment plan;
                     •   Comprehensive, client-oriented treatment to include a range of
                         appropriate modalities, drug testing, cultural/gender specific needs,
                         mental and primary health care, anger management, and other adjunct
                         services (e.g., acupuncture, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics
                         Anonymous (NA), family assistance, housing, and employment);
                     •   Therapeutic relapse prevention techniques to identify relapsing
                         triggers, and develop alternative responses; and
                     •   Case management of the client’s performance, progress, rewards, and
                         sanctions consistent with the individualized treatment plan.


                         Drug court programs typically require defendants to complete a treatment
Program Completion       program in order to graduate. Some impose other conditions defendants
Requirements             must meet after treatment. These conditions could include remaining drug
                         free and not being arrested for a specified period, paying restitution, being
                         employed full-time, or performing community service.

                         In many jurisdictions, completion of the drug court program leads to a
                         dismissal of charges or termination of prosecution proceedings. In other

                         6
                         Substance Abuse Treatment Planning Guide and Checklist for Treatment-Based Drug Courts, U.S.
                         Department of Health and Human Services, 1997.



                         Page 25                                             GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                       Chapter 1
                       Introduction




                       jurisdictions, the guilty plea can be stricken, the defendant can be
                       sentenced to probation in lieu of incarceration, or the defendant’s
                       probation can be shortened. DOJ pointed out that some drug court case
                       records, including arrests, are sealed when defendants complete the
                       program.


                       Sanctions for failing to abide by drug court program rules can include
Program Sanctions      (1) verbal warning from the judge; (2) transfer to an earlier stage of the
                       program; (3) incarceration for several days or weeks, generally increasing
                       with the number and severity of the violations; and (4) more frequent
                       status hearings, treatment sessions, or drug tests. Many programs also use
                       graduated sanctions, increasing the severity of the sanction with
                       subsequent violations of program rules.

                       DOJ  also pointed out that most drug court programs use sanctions not to
                       simply punish inappropriate behavior but to augment the treatment
                       process. For example, many drug court programs will place a defendant in
                       residential treatment if he or she is unable to achieve satisfactory progress
                       in an outpatient setting. In addition, many drug court judges incarcerate
                       defendants for the purpose of detoxification rather than for inappropriate
                       behavior. According to NADCP, most drug court programs require some
                       initial period of incarceration.


                       Drug court programs typically use various criteria for ending a defendant’s
Termination Criteria   participation in the program before completion. These criteria may include
                       a new felony offense, multiple failures to comply with program
                       requirements such as not attending status hearings or treatment sessions,
                       and a pattern of positive drug tests. According to DOJ, many drug court
                       programs do not terminate defendants for a new drug possession offense.

                       Before terminating a defendant for continuing to use drugs, drug court
                       programs generally will use an array of treatment services and available
                       sanctions. There are no uniform standards among all programs on the
                       number of failed drug tests and failures to attend treatment sessions that
                       lead to a participant being terminated. Drug court program judges
                       generally make decisions to terminate a program participant on a
                       case-by-case basis taking into account the recommendations of others,
                       including the treatment provider, prosecutor, and/or defense counsel.
                       Relapses are expected, and the extent to which noncompliance results in




                       Page 26                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                         Chapter 1
                         Introduction




                         terminations varies from program to program. Once a defendant is
                         terminated, he or she is usually referred for adjudication or sentencing.


                         Title V of the 1994 Violent Crime Act requires us to assess the
Objectives, Scope,       effectiveness and impact of federal grants awarded under Title V of the act
and Methodology          for drug court programs. In response to this requirement and based on
                         discussions with the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, our
                         objectives for this review were to answer the following key questions:

                         (1) What is the universe of and availability of funding for drug court
                         programs?

                         (2) What are the approaches used, characteristics of program participants,
                         type and extent of treatment provided, and retention and completion rates
                         of existing drug court programs?

                         (3) To what extent are program and participant data maintained and used
                         to manage and evaluate drug court programs?

                         (4) What conclusions can be drawn from existing published and
                         unpublished evaluations or assessments of drug court programs on the
                         impact of such programs, particularly as it relates to the

                     •   criminal profile of drug court participants compared to similar offenders
                         processed through the traditional judiciary system,
                     •   completion rates of participants,
                     •   differences in characteristics between drug court program graduates and
                         dropouts,
                     •   sanctions imposed on persons who failed to complete drug court
                         programs or comply with program requirements,
                     •   drug use and criminal recidivism rates of program participants and
                         nonparticipants, and
                     •   costs and benefits of drug court programs to the criminal justice system?

                         To determine the universe of drug court programs, we collected and
                         reviewed information from various units within DOJ, including the Drug
                         Courts Program Office (DCPO), which is responsible for administering the
                         federal drug court program under the Violent Crime Act; NADCP; and the
                         Drug Court Clearinghouse, which provided us with general information
                         that it had compiled on drug courts. To obtain more current and specific
                         information on the drug court universe, we (1) did computerized searches



                         Page 27                                   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Chapter 1
Introduction




of several on-line databases, including the National Criminal Justice
Reference Service (NCJRS); (2) did key-word searches concerning drug
court programs on the Internet; (3) sent a questionnaire to 134 of the 140
drug court programs identified as operating as of December 31, 1996;7 and
(4) held structured telephone interviews with state and drug court
program officials throughout the United States to identify additional
jurisdictions that, as of March 31, 1997, had an operating drug court
program, were about to start a drug court program in 1997, were planning
a program, or were doing a feasibility study of establishing a drug court
program.

We received responses from all 134 drug court programs we surveyed.
However, with the exception of some limited verification of information
provided on the number of program participants admitted, terminated,
graduated, and currently enrolled, we did not verify the accuracy of the
data provided to us by the Drug Court Clearinghouse or by drug court
programs. Appendix II contains a copy of our survey questionnaire, with
summary responses to each question, as appropriate. In addition, we
visited two drug court programs in Baltimore and attended several focus
group meetings and drug court program conferences in 1996 and 1997 that
were sponsored by DOJ; NADCP; State Justice Institute (SJI), a nonprofit
organization created by federal law and funded through congressional
appropriations, which among other things, has provided grants for
evaluation studies of drug court programs; and the Justice Management
Institute (JMI), a nonprofit organization that provides training, technical
assistance, and other support for justice system agencies and courts in the
United States and abroad.

To determine DOJ’s responsibilities and plans for implementing the federal
grant program and to obtain information on drug court program funding,
we met with representatives of DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP),
including representatives from DCPO, who were responsible for
administering grants under the Violent Crime Act and providing technical
assistance and training to Violent Crime Act funded drug court programs;
Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), who were responsible for
administering other DOJ grants, including discretionary and formula block
grants that have been used in support of drug court programs or
evaluations; and National Institute of Justice (NIJ), who have been
primarily responsible for DOJ’s evaluation of drug court programs and who
have also provided support for evaluation efforts in the drug court field.

7
 We did not survey six drug court programs because they were not identified by information obtained
from various sources as operating as of December 31, 1996, until after May 15, 1997. This was well
after the completion of our survey of drug court programs.



Page 28                                               GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Chapter 1
Introduction




We also reviewed documents regarding these organizations’
responsibilities and plans for implementing and monitoring the federally
supported drug court program. We also sought and obtained funding
information from HHS’ CSAT, Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD)
Community Development and Block Grant Program, and SJI. In addition,
we included a question on the survey sent to 134 of the 140 drug court
programs identified as operating as of December 31, 1996, on the amount
of funding received from federal, state/local, and private funding sources
and fees collected from program participants. With the exception of some
limited clarification of the reported sources and amounts of funding
received by drug court programs, we did not verify the accuracy of the
amount of funding from the various sources identified by the drug court
programs.

To determine the approaches used, key characteristics, and completion
and retention rates of existing drug court programs, we included in our
survey questions on program approaches and characteristics such as when
the program became operational; the types of participants eligible to
participate;8 and the numbers of persons who had been admitted, had
completed, had failed to complete, and were actively participating in the
program as of December 31, 1996. In addition, we interviewed officials
from the Drug Court Clearinghouse and NADCP and reviewed documents
regarding these issues.

To determine the extent to which program and participant data are
maintained by and used to evaluate drug court programs, we included
questions about whether the drug court programs had program
monitoring, tracking, and evaluation capabilities, and about the types of
data on program participants that were maintained and whether the data
were computerized. We also spoke to representatives of DOJ’s DCPO and BJA
within OJP; CSAT, HHS; HUD; NADCP; and the Drug Court Clearinghouse about
the guidance for these areas and reviewed the guidelines and standards
they have provided.

To determine what conclusions could be drawn from existing published
and unpublished evaluations or assessments of drug court programs, we
first had to identify these studies. To do this, we used the same multistep
process that we used to identify drug court programs. Additionally, in our
survey, we asked respondents whether there had been any published or

8
 The categories used in our survey instrument to gather information on the type of violent offenders
eligible to participate in drug court programs asked the survey respondents to use their jurisdiction’s
definition of a violent offense, which may or may not be the same as the federal definition of a violent
offense as defined in the Violent Crime Act authorizing grants to drug court programs.



Page 29                                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Chapter 1
Introduction




unpublished evaluations of their drug court programs, and if so, to send a
copy of the report.

We collected and reviewed information from 20 published and
unpublished evaluation studies that were written between 1991 and 1997
and covered 16 drug court programs that began operations between 1989
and 1996. (One program, in Broward County, FL, was covered by three
independent evaluations; and two programs, in Dade County, FL, and Los
Angeles County, CA, were covered by two evaluations.) A summary of the
outcomes reported in the 20 studies and our assessment of them are
contained in appendix III. The studies we reviewed represent all of the
primary studies we could obtain in time for this report that included, in
addition to a description of program operations, an evaluation component
(i.e., some information on the outcome or efficacy of the drug court
program in preventing relapse into drug use or criminal recidivism). In our
search for these evaluation studies, we identified a variety of other
published and unpublished documents that described program objectives
and operations, provided judicial commentary on these programs, and, in
some cases, provided a summary description of a number of programs.
This fuller set of materials pertaining to drug court programs is provided
in the bibliography.

We used a data collection instrument to systematically analyze and
evaluate these studies in terms of the information they provided on
program coverage (e.g., admissions criteria and participation rates),
program operations (e.g., program length, treatment components, and
completions rates), and program outcomes (e.g., drug use relapse and
criminal recidivism). We did not attempt to independently verify the
information provided in these studies. Each study was read and coded by a
social scientist with training in research methods. A second social scientist
and other members of our evaluation team then read the studies to verify
the accuracy of the items included on the data collection instrument.

Our review was done from October 1996 to May 1997 in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards. In June 1997, we
provided a draft of this report to the Attorney General; the Administrator,
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, HHS; the Executive Director
of SJI; the President of NADCP; and the Project Director of the Drug Court
Clearinghouse for their comments. Their written comments are
characterized and evaluated in chapters 1, 2, and 5 and are reprinted in
appendixes V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX of this report. In addition, all of the




Page 30                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                     Chapter 1
                     Introduction




                     agencies and organizations provided some minor technical changes, which
                     have been appropriately incorporated throughout this report.


                     In its written comments, HHS expressed concerns with the scope of our
Agency Comments      mandated study of drug court programs. HHS specifically noted that our
and Our Evaluation   study did not include an examination of the clinical aspects of drug court
                     programs and opined that the rate at which drug court programs succeed
                     in their purpose—reducing drug-related crime—is dependent on the
                     quality and effectiveness of the substance abuse treatment provided as a
                     part of the program. In addition, HHS urged that all future studies
                     conducted under this mandate recognize the inter-dependency among the
                     several participating disciplines.

                     While we recognize HHS’s concerns, a review of the adequacy of the drug
                     treatment component would have been well beyond the objectives and
                     scope of this overview assessment of drug court programs.




                     Page 31                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Chapter 2

Number of Drug Court Programs and
Availability of Funding Have Increased

                      There has been a substantial increase in the number of operating drug
                      court programs in the United States and the availability of funding to
                      support and/or evaluate such programs. Between 1989 and 1994, 42
                      programs were started.1 Since then, the total number of operating
                      programs has grown to 161 as of March 31, 1997. Moreover, the number of
                      new drug court programs is expected to continue to grow, with an
                      additional 154 programs identified as either about to start, being planned,
                      or in the feasibility study stage as of March 31, 1997. On the basis of our
                      analysis of data obtained from federal funding sources and drug court
                      program officials, over $125 million has been made available to plan,
                      implement, enhance, and/or evaluate drug court programs. Federal
                      funding, which has increased substantially since 1993,2 has provided over
                      $80 million of the funding. Over 95 percent of the federal funding has been
                      provided through federal grants administered by DOJ and HHS. In addition,
                      drug court programs reported that about $45 million was provided by state
                      and local governments, private sources, and/or fees collected from
                      program participants since 1989.


                      As figure 2.1 shows, the number of operating drug court programs has
Growth in Number of   increased substantially since 1994. Between 1989 and 1994, 42 drug court
Drug Court Programs   programs had started. Since then, 4 have closed and 123 more have
                      started, bringing the total number of operating programs to 161 as of
                      March 31, 1997. An additional 32 drug court programs are expected to
                      begin operating in 1997, which would bring the total to 193 operational
                      programs by the end of 1997. Figure 2.2 shows the number of drug court
                      programs started each year since 1989.




                      1
                       This number, which is based on our independent survey and other sources, differs from the 36 drug
                      court programs cited in our prior report (GAO/GGD-95-159BR) as started between 1989 and 1994,
                      which was based on information obtained from the Drug Court Clearinghouse at the time.
                      2
                       Although we did not analyze the extent of increases in state and local funding, it has also likely to
                      have increased due to the requirements for matching funds associated with most federal grants.



                      Page 32                                                   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
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Figure 2.1: Increase in the Number of
Drug Court Programs Between 1989
and March 31, 1997                      Number of operating drug court programs

                                        200



                                                                                                                             161

                                        150
                                                                                                                 140




                                        100
                                                                                                        84




                                         50                                                    41

                                                                                     21
                                                                           10
                                               2        2         6
                                          0
                                              1989     1990     1991      1992      1993      1994      1995      1996      1997

                                              Calendar year




                                        Note: One drug court, which opened in 1989, closed in 1994; two drug courts, which opened in
                                        1995, and one, which opened in 1996, closed during 1996. These drug courts closed due to lack
                                        of funding and/or because of state/local government decisions not to continue the programs.

                                        Sources: GAO survey of drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996, and
                                        information obtained from the Drug Court Clearinghouse.




                                        Page 33                                             GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
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Figure 2.2: Number of Drug Court
Programs Started Between 1989 and
                                    Number of drug court programs
March 31, 1997
                                    70



                                    60                                                                   59

                                                                                                                 53

                                    50                                                                           32

                                                                                               43
                                    40



                                    30


                                                                                       21
                                    20
                                                                                                                 21

                                                                              11
                                    10
                                                               4      4
                                              2
                                                       0
                                     0
                                          1989       1990     1991   1992    1993     1994    1995     1996     1997
                                         Calendar year

                                                  Operating
                                                  Planned



                                    Sources: GAO survey of drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996, and
                                    information obtained from the Drug Court Clearinghouse.




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As of December 31, 1994, drug court programs were operating in 17 states
and the District of Columbia. As figure 2.3 shows, as of March 31, 1997,
drug court programs were operating in 38 states, the District of Columbia,
and Puerto Rico. About 40 percent of these programs were located in
California and Florida.




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Figure 2.3: Comparison of Drug Court Program Locations as of December 31, 1994, and March 31, 1997


              Drug Court Program Locations
              (as of December 31, 1994)




                      WA
                      (2)


               OR
               (2)


                                                                                            MI
        CA                                                                                  (3)
        (6)
                     NV
                     (2)
                                                                                    IL                                          DE (1)
                                             CO
                                                                                   (1)                                          MD (2)
                                             (1)                           MO
                                                                                                  KY                            DC (1)
                                                                           (1)
                                                                                                  (1)
                             AZ
                             (1)
                                                                            AR
                                                                            (1)
                                                                                            AL          GA
                                                             TX                             (1)         (1)
                                                             (2)


                                                                                                                                FL (12)




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       Drug Court Program Locations
       (as of March 31, 1997)




             WA
             (3)
                                     MT
       OR                            (1)
                                                                          MN
       (5)
                                                                          (1)           WI                                     NY
                                                                                        (1)                                    (7)    MA (3)
                                                                                                  MI                                  CT (1)
CA                                                                                                (4)
(41)                                                                                                                    PA
              NV                                                            IA                                                        NJ (1)
                                                                            (1)                         OH              (1)
              (5)              UT                                                               IN
                                                                                           IL           (5)                           DE (4)
                               (2)          CO                                                  (5)
                                                                                          (6)                                         MD (2)
                                            (1)                                 MO                                      VA
                                                              KS                (2)                   KY                (1)           DC (1)
                                                              (1)                                     (1)
                             AZ                                                                                          NC
                             (1)           NM                       OK                                                   (5)
                                           (4)                      (3)           AR                              SC
                                                                                  (1)                             (2)                 TN (1)
                                                                                                AL      GA
                                                            TX                                  (4)     (2)
                                                            (3)                   LA
                                                                                  (3)

                                                                                                                                      FL (22)
                    HI (1)




                                                                                                                                      PR (3)



                                                  Sources: GAO survey of drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996, and
                                                  information obtained from Drug Court Clearinghouse.




                                                  The growth in the number of drug court programs is likely to continue
                                                  over the next few years. In this regard, our review revealed that an
                                                  additional 154 drug court programs were identified as either about to start,
                                                  being planned, or in the feasibility study stage as of March 31, 1997. Also, 8
                                                  of the 12 states without drug court programs and 1 additional U.S. territory
                                                  (Guam) were either about to start, planning, or studying the feasibility of




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                   starting a drug court program. Appendix IV provides summary information
                   on the status of drug court programs by jurisdiction as of March 31, 1997.


                   Overall, our analysis of funding data and information obtained from
Sources of and     various federal and nonfederal funding sources and funding data reported
Increase in Drug   by drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996, shows that
Court Program      since 1989, over $125 million in resources derived from federal, state, and
                   local governments; private sources; and participant fees have been
Funding            provided to plan, implement, enhance, and/or evaluate drug court
                   programs.3

                   According to our analysis of data obtained from federal funding sources
                   and drug court program officials, federal funding sources, which have
                   increased substantially since 1993, have provided over $80 million in
                   funding.

                   Drug court programs we surveyed reported that about $45 million was
                   provided by state and local governments, private sources, and/or fees
                   collected from program participants since 1989. However, in commenting
                   on a draft of this report, DOJ, NADCP, and the Drug Court Clearinghouse
                   expressed the opinion that this amount may understate the actual amount
                   of funding provided by state and local governments and other sources
                   because some of the respondents to our survey may have failed to include
                   the state/local jurisdictions’ contributions towards the administrative cost
                   of the program staff (judges, prosecutors, pretrial service staff, court
                   clerks, program coordinators, etc.) and/or cost of program facilities
                   (courthouse and other administrative facilities) that are often contributed
                   by the local jurisdiction.

                   While several of the 134 drug court programs we surveyed were unable to
                   provide precise funding data, as figure 2.4 shows, about 80 percent of the
                   134 drug court programs we surveyed, reported that they had received
                   federal funding, over 80 percent reported receiving state/local government



                   3
                    The total amount of funding supporting drug court programs is likely understated because (1) some
                   drug court programs we surveyed were not able to determine the amount of funding they received
                   from federal, state, and local governments; private funding sources; and/or participant fees and
                   (2) certain multipurpose federal funding sources, which did not specifically target drug court
                   programs, had not been tracking the funding of drug court programs. In addition, information on the
                   total amount of HHS CSAT’ Block Grants for Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse and HUD’s
                   Community Development Block Grant funding that were awarded to jurisdictions and used to support
                   drug court programs, as well as Medicaid funding that may have been used by drug court participants
                   to pay for the cost of treatment, was not available from the federal funding source.



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                                       funding, and about two-thirds reported that they had collected funds from
                                       fees assessed on drug court program participants.


Figure 2.4: Percentage of Drug Court
Programs Reporting Receiving Various
Types of Funding                       Percentage of drug court programs

                                       100



                                                                       83
                                        80        78                                             79


                                                                                                             65
                                        60




                                        40
                                                                                                                      35


                                                           22                            21
                                        20                                     17




                                         0
                                                 Federal              State/local      Private             Fees

                                                       Funds received
                                                       No funds received



                                       Source: GAO survey of drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996.




Federal Funding Has                    The amount and sources of federal funding supporting drug court
Increased                              programs have increased substantially since fiscal year 1993. Before the
                                       establishment of a new grant program by DOJ and the passage of the
                                       Violent Crime Act, there were no specific federal grants for drug court
                                       programs. During this time, drug court programs were funded primarily by
                                       multipurpose federal grants from the Edward Byrne Memorial State and




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Local Law Enforcement Assistance4 (Byrne block grant program) and
Correctional Options Grants programs (a discretionary Byrne grant
program) administered by BJA,5 Block Grants for Substance Abuse
Prevention and Treatment and other grants awarded by HHS’ CSAT,6 and SJI.7
The amount of these federal grants supporting drug court programs
totaled about $6 million.8 Other funding was received from state and local
governments, private sources, and fees assessed on program participants.

Beginning in fiscal year 1994, additional federal funding sources became
available through the Comprehensive Communities Program (a
discretionary Byrne grant program), the passage of the Violent Crime Act,
and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants program as authorized by
the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996
(P.L. 104-134). Additional funding was also made available from the
previously mentioned federal grant programs and other funding sources.
Excluding use of funds derived from HUD’s Community Development Block




4
 The Byrne program was first authorized in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-570). Federal
funding under this program consists of two discretionary programs and a formula block grant program
that must be used to improve criminal justice systems in order to reduce violent crime, the demand for
illegal drugs, or the availability of such drugs. Discretionary funds administered under this program
can be used to, among other things, establish demonstration projects and fund correctional options
programs. Under the Violent Crime Act, the Byrne program was authorized an additional $1 billion
over fiscal years 1995 through 2000.
5
 BJA, a component of OJP, DOJ, is authorized by Congress to award discretionary grants to public and
private organizations for national scope, demonstration, training, and technical assistance programs
that strengthen the nation’s criminal justice system and assist state and local governments in reducing
and preventing violent crime and drug abuse.
6
 Under Title 42 (Sec. 290bb-4(a)) of the U.S. Code, the Director of CSAT is to provide grants to public
and nonprofit private entities that provide treatment for substance abuse to individuals under criminal
justice supervision.
7
 SJI reported that, in addition to funding other programs and initiatives, it provides grants to support
drug court programs’ operations and evaluations, which require a 50-percent match.
8
 Recipients of federal funds provided under some of these grant programs are required to provide
anywhere from 10 to 25 percent in matching funds.



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                            Grant program and Medicaid, administered by HHS,9 the amount of
                            additional funds made available from new and existing funding sources
                            totaled about $75 million from fiscal year 1994 through March 31, 1997.

Federal Funding Sources     Federal funding intended specifically for drug court programs became
                            available for the first time through DOJ’s establishment of the
                            Comprehensive Communities Program in fiscal year 1994.10 In fiscal year
                            1995, DOJ’s DCPO began administering the Violent Crime Act grants to state
                            and local jurisdictions for drug court programs. One year later, the Local
                            Law Enforcement Block Grants program as authorized by the Omnibus
                            Consolidated Recissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 also made federal
                            funds available for several purposes, including drug court programs.

Comprehensive Communities   In 1994, BJA, under its authority to make grants to states for, among other
Program Funding             things, improving the functioning of the criminal justice system, began
                            implementation of a comprehensive community program based on the
                            crime control program in 16 U.S. jurisdictions. The objectives of the
                            Comprehensive Communities Program are to, among other things, develop
                            a comprehensive, multiagency strategy to control and prevent violent
                            crime and drug-related crime and to coordinate existing federal, state,
                            local, and private agency resources to maximize their impact on reducing
                            violent crime and drug-related crime. Funding under this program was
                            directed to be applied to seven local crime control and prevention
                            initiatives, including the planning, implementation, or enhancement of
                            drug court programs; alternatives to incarceration; and prosecution and
                            diversion initiatives. In fiscal year 1994, a total of $1.2 million was awarded
                            to six jurisdictions for drug court programs using discretionary Byrne
                            funds, and in fiscal year 1995, a total of $1.2 million was awarded to six
                            additional jurisdictions using Violent Crime Act funding.

Violent Crime Act Funding   As table 2.1 shows, Title V of the 1994 Violent Crime Act authorized $1
                            billion over 6 years (fiscal years 1995 to 2000) for drug court programs.
                            Actual appropriations for the first 3 fiscal years have been less than the
                            authorized amount. About $57 million of the $400 million authorized by
                            Congress for the first 3 fiscal years was actually appropriated as of
                            March 31, 1997.

                            9
                             We were unable to include information on the growth or decline in the use of these funds to support
                            drug court programs because information was not available from federal funding sources responsible
                            for administering these programs.
                            10
                             Funding provided to support drug court programs under the Comprehensive Communities Program
                            was derived from $1.2 million in funds transferred in late fiscal year 1994 from the Byrne program
                            administered by DOJ’s BJA, and $1.2 million in fiscal year 1995 funding that was transferred from
                            DOJ’s DCPO Violent Crime Act funding.



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Table 2.1: Schedule of the Violent Crime Act Grant Authorizations, Appropriations, and Awardsa
Dollars in millions
                                                                                      Fiscal year
                                                 1995          1996           1997            1998           1999           2000            Total
Congressional
authorization                                   $100.0      $150.0          $150.0         $200.0          $200.0         $200.0        $1,000.0
Congressional
appropriation                                     11.9         15.0            30.0             n/a            n/a             n/a           56.9
DOJ/DCPO
awards                                            $8.2         $8.4          $16.7              n/a            n/a             n/a         $33.3
                                           n/a = No funds were appropriated as of March 31, 1997.
                                           a
                                            As of March 31, 1997.

                                           Sources: Public Law 103-322 and DOJ’s DCPO.



                                           Of the $57 million appropriated by Congress, in addition to the transfer of
                                           $1.2 million to the Comprehensive Communities Program in fiscal year
                                           1995, DCPO, as of March 31, 1997, had awarded about $33 million in grants
                                           to over 150 jurisdictions to fund drug court programs.11 DCPO can award
                                           three types of grants:12

                                       •   Planning grants are for those jurisdictions that are interested in
                                           establishing drug court programs and are in the early planning stage for
                                           that effort. In fiscal year 1995, a jurisdiction could receive up to $35,000 for
                                           a planning grant. For fiscal years 1996 and 1997, the maximum award was
                                           $20,000 per jurisdiction.
                                       •   Implementation grants are for those jurisdictions that have already made a
                                           commitment to develop a drug court program and have already identified
                                           the target population to be served and the case processing procedures that
                                           will be used. The maximum award for implementation grants was
                                           $1 million for fiscal year 1995 and $400,000 for fiscal years 1996 and 1997.
                                       •   Enhancement grants are for those jurisdictions with established drug
                                           court programs to improve or enhance existing services. The maximum



                                           11
                                            According to DOJ officials, the remaining funds were allocated for management and administrative
                                           purposes (at approximately 1 percent of the annual amount appropriated) and to fund technical
                                           assistance, training, and evaluations being sponsored by NIJ (at approximately 5 to 6 percent of the
                                           annual DCPO appropriation). In addition, DCPO plans to issue additional fiscal year 1997 drug court
                                           program awards of approximately $12 million during July-August 1997.
                                           12
                                             Recipients of federal funds provided by DOJ’s DCPO under the Violent Crime Act are required to
                                           provide at least 25 percent in matching funds from local sources. In-kind contributions may constitute
                                           a portion of the nonfederal share.



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                                         award for enhancement grants was $1 million in fiscal year 1995 and
                                         $300,000 for fiscal years 1996 and 1997.

                                         Table 2.2 summarizes grants awarded for this source of funding.


Table 2.2: Number and Amount of the Violent Crime Act Grants Awarded to Drug Court Programs, Fiscal Years 1995-1997
Dollars in millions
                                                                                 Fiscal year
                                              1995                     1996                       1997a                      Total
                                       Number       Amount      Number        Amount       Number       Amount        Grants       Amount
Type of grant                         of grants    awarded     of grants     awarded      of grants    awarded       awarded      awarded
Planning                                      52        $1.6            0           $0           79          $1.4          131            $3.0
Implementation                                 5         3.9            9           3.5          38          12.0           52            19.4
Enhancement                                    7         2.7            7           4.9          12           3.2           26            10.8
Total                                         64        $8.2           16         $8.4          129        $16.6           209        $33.2
                                         a
                                          As of March 31, 1997.

                                         Source: DOJ’s DCPO.



Local Law Enforcement Block              The Omnibus Consolidated Recissions and Appropriations Act of 1996
Grants Program                           authorized the Director of BJA to make funds available to units of local
                                         government under the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants program for
                                         the purposes of reducing crime and improving public safety. Grants
                                         awarded under this program could be for any of seven purpose areas, one
                                         of which was for establishing or supporting drug court programs. For
                                         fiscal year 1996, $503 million was appropriated for the Local Law
                                         Enforcement Block Grants program, but after deductions for legislatively
                                         mandated earmarks and program administration costs, $424 million
                                         remained available for distribution to eligible jurisdictions. Of this amount,
                                         about $14.5 million was awarded to 93 units of local government in 32
                                         states for use by drug court programs.13 In fiscal year 1997, $523 million
                                         was appropriated, of which about $467 million is available for distribution
                                         to eligible jurisdictions. DOJ plans to make grants to eligible jurisdictions in
                                         mid-1997, including grants to fund drug court programs.

Other Federal Funding Sources            In addition to funding specifically designated for drug court programs,
                                         other multipurpose federal grants continued to be available and used to
                                         support drug court programs. These sources included additional funding
                                         totaling about $14 million made available in fiscal years 1994 through 1996

                                         13
                                          Recipients of federal funds provided under a grant for the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants
                                         program are required to provide at least 10 percent in matching funds.



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by DOJ under the Byrne block grant and Correctional Options Grants
programs and about $8 million from a variety of HHS’ CSAT grants for drug
court programs that were made available between fiscal years 1994
through 1997, including one new grant initiative, the Criminal Justice
Treatment Networks,14 which provided initial funding in fiscal year 1995,
and CSAT’s Target Cities initiative, which provided initial funding in fiscal
year 1993.15

SJI, a nonprofit organization created by federal law and funded through
congressional appropriations, has provided about $1.6 million in support
of drug court program initiatives (primarily funding evaluation studies)
since 1990. In addition, some drug court programs also reported receiving
funds during our survey period that were derived from other federal
funding sources (totaling about $2.1 million) that included, among others,
about $104,500 in funds derived from HUD’s Community Development
Block Grant program and about $49,000 in Medicaid funds. As previously
noted, the total amount of HUD grants and Medicaid resources used to
support drug court operations was not directly available from either the
funding sources or all of the recipients.

Excluding funding that may have been derived from HUD’s Community
Development Block Grant program and Medicaid, table 2.3 shows federal
funding awarded to drug court programs from fiscal year 1990 to
March 31, 1997. Fiscal years 1990 to 1993 funding totaled about $6 million,
and fiscal year 1994 to March 31, 1997, funding totaled about $75 million.




14
  CSAT’s Criminal Justice Treatment Networks focuses on the involvement of three clusters of the U.S.
population: adult females, adult males, and juveniles. Funding has generally been provided to
jurisdictions with the ability to participate in CSAT knowledge generation activities through cross-site
evaluation efforts and contribution of data derived from these clusters.
15
 CSAT’s Target Cities grants are intended to, among other things, further knowledge about treatment
and facilitate early access to treatment.


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Table 2.3: Summary of Federal Funding Provided to Drug Court Programs, Fiscal Years 1990-1997
Dollars in thousands
                                                                          Fiscal year
Federal funding sources         1990       1991       1992        1993         1994       1995      1996          1997a          Total
Department of
Justiceb
Byrne block
grants                          $188       $740       $263      $1,658       $2,041      $5,265    $4,532              0c     $14,687
Comprehensive
Communities
Program                          n/a         n/a        n/a         n/a       1,200       1,200         0d             0d       2,400
Correctional
Options Grants                   n/a         n/a       500         999        1,100        690        370            n/ae       3,659
Violent Crime
Act Fundingf                     n/a         n/a        n/a         n/a         n/a       8,216     8,366        16,671        33,253
Local Law
Enforcement
Block Grants                     n/a         n/a        n/a         n/a         n/a         n/a    14,455g             0h      14,455
Department of
Health and
Human
Servicesi
CSAT Grants for Substance Abuse Treatment in State and Local Criminal Justice System
D.C. Superior
Court Drug
Intervention
Project                          n/a         n/a        n/a        799              0     2,307         0           430         3,536
Criminal
Justice
Treatment
Networks                         n/a         n/a        n/a         n/a         n/a       1,800     2,568              0        4,368
CSAT Grants for Treatment Improvement
Target Cities
Grants                           n/a         n/a        n/a          20         310        578        275              0        1,183
State Justice
Institute
SJI Grantsj                      123          0        228         313          245        410          0           319         1,638
Total                           $311       $740       $991      $3,789       $4,896     $20,466   $30,566      $17,420        $79,179

                                                                                                             (Table notes on next page)




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n/a = Funds for this program were not applicable during this fiscal year.

Note: The total noted above excludes about $2.1 million in federal funds that were derived from
other federal sources not noted in the table. Also, funds provided by DOJ and other federal
agencies that may have been used for evaluation, technical assistance, and/or training for drug
court programs or officials may not be reflected in the totals. As a result, the total amount
provided likely understates the total amount of federal financial support for drug court programs.
a
    As of March 31, 1997.
b
 Federal funds awarded by DOJ under its various grant programs must be used to supplement
existing funds for program activities and not replace funds that have been appropriated for the
same purpose.
c
 DOJ did not provide information for fiscal year 1997 funding noting, that it is very unlikely that
states have begun funding subgrantees, and that it would therefore give a very false impression
of the level of funding for the fiscal year.
d
 DOJ was unable to provide specific information on the amount of funding for this fiscal year.
According to DOJ officials, BJA’s Comprehensive Communities Program saw a significant
reduction in funding in fiscal year 1996, with no significant increases anticipated in the future.
e
 The Correctional Options Grants program was zeroed out in fiscal year 1996, and no additional
funding was made available for fiscal year 1997. DOJ officials noted that no further federal
support of this initiative is anticipated.
f
 The Violent Crime Act also authorized funding for, among other things, program administration
and management, technical assistance and training, and a federally funded impact evaluation of
the drug court program.
g
 Represents the estimated amount jurisdictions reported to DOJ as identified for drug court
program use.
h
 According to DOJ officials, fiscal year 1997 LLEBG awards will be made by the end of fiscal
year.
i
 CSAT also provided additional funding between fiscal years 1993 and 1997 totalling about
$1.1 million under its authority to award grants for substance abuse treatment in criminal justice
systems and its authority to issue Block Grants for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment.
These grants were provided primarily for technical assistance, publications, and
conferences/meetings, and is not included in the totals provided. Given jurisdictional discretion
for awarding block grant funds received from CSAT, the total amount of funds awarded under
CSAT’s block grant program to various state and local jurisdiction was not available from either
the funding source or the grant recipient and is therefore likely understated.
j
 Grants awarded by SJI have been primarily awarded for efforts to evaluate drug court programs
and to support judicial education programs about drug courts. Only small-scale planning,
implementation, and enhancement projects have been supported through SJI technical
assistance grants. (The 1995 funding included a $355,000 grant to support a National
Symposium on Drug Courts conducted by the American University.)

Source: GAO analysis of information obtained from federal funding sources.



As figure 2.5 shows, information obtained from federal funding sources
indicates that about 40 percent (or about $33 million) of the identified
federal funding for these programs has been derived from the Violent
Crime Act funding administered by DOJ’s DCPO. Also, DOJ and HHS accounted



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                                    for over 95 percent of the federal funding supporting drug court programs
                                    operations and/or evaluation studies.


Figure 2.5: Percentage of Federal
Funding, by Source
                                                                                             Violent Crime Act funding

                                                                                             Comprehensive Communities
                                                                                             Program a 2.9%

                                                                                             Correctional Options
                                                                                             Grantsa 4.5%



                                                     40.4%

                                                                         17.9%               Byrne formula grant program




                                                                           17.6%             LLEBG

                                                          12.3%




                                                                                             HHS' CSAT grants

                                                                                             State Justice
                                                                                             Institute 2.0%
                                                                                             Other federal
                                                                                             sources 2.5%

                                               Violent Crime Act funding
                                               Other federal funding



                                    Note: Percentages do not add to 100 percent due to rounding.

                                    a
                                    Byrne discretionary grant program.


                                    Sources: GAO survey of drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996, and information
                                    obtained directly from federal funding sources.




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                     Number of Drug Court Programs and
                     Availability of Funding Have Increased




State and Local      Respondents to our survey reported that over $38 million was provided by
Governments          state and local governments.16 A portion of this amount represents
                     required state/local government matching of federal funds.


Private Funding      Respondents to our survey reported that about $3 million of the drug court
                     program funding came from private sources, such as grants/donations
                     from foundations, corporations, or charitable organizations, etc.


Participant Fees     Sixty-five percent of drug court programs operating as of December 31,
                     1996, reported that they charged participant fees for some of the services
                     provided. These programs reported that they assessed a variety of fees,
                     with most assessing fees for drug treatment and drug testing that program
                     participants are required to undergo. Among other things, drug court
                     programs assessed fees to cover administrative and court processing
                     costs, supervision, counseling, housing, and transportation. Some also
                     assessed participant fees as penalties or incentives for improvement. In
                     many of the drug court programs, the reported participant fee amount
                     assessed varied, and in some cases, depended on the ability of the program
                     participant to pay. The reported fees assessed on program participants
                     varied within and across programs from $1 for drug testing in one program
                     to a maximum program fee of $4,625 for certain higher income
                     participants in another program. Participant fees accounted for about
                     $2.5 million of the reported funding.


                     In their comments on a draft of this report, DOJ, NADCP, and the Drug Court
Agency Comments      Clearinghouse expressed concern with our estimate of the proportion of
and Our Evaluation   drug court costs that were funded by the federal government. We
                     reconsidered the information we had available to make that estimate, and
                     decided in retrospect not to present the information in the same way.
                     While we were able to derive what we believe to be reliable estimates of
                     federal funds from federal funding sources, we were unable to derive
                     direct estimates of state and local funds, except as they were reported to
                     us by the drug court program officials we surveyed, which in some cases
                     included judges, court administrators, program directors and managers,

                     16
                       The total amount of state/local government funding supporting drug court programs is likely
                     understated because some drug court programs were not able to determine the amount of funding they
                     received from their state or local governments. In addition, 21 drug court programs who reported that
                     they were receiving federal grants requiring matching funds did not report required state and local
                     matching funds. We discussed this matter with DOJ officials and suggested that they follow up to
                     determine whether these drug courts are in compliance with the matching requirements for federal
                     funding. We plan to follow up on what actions DOJ has taken.



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Number of Drug Court Programs and
Availability of Funding Have Increased




and/or state and local budget officials. Accordingly, we have deleted parts
of our draft report that previously provided a comparative analysis on the
proportion of federal funding among all drug court funds, and revised the
presentation to focus on levels and sources of funding without comparing
them directly to funds from other sources.




Page 49                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Chapter 3

Approaches, Characteristics, and
Completion and Retention Rates of Existing
Drug Court Programs Were Diverse
                       Drug court programs identified as operating as of December 31, 1996,
                       reported using various approaches. Although all the programs responding
                       to our survey reported having a treatment component, results from a Drug
                       Court Clearinghouse survey showed that the type and extent of treatment
                       and rehabilitative services provided to drug court program participants
                       varied among programs. In addition, drug court programs reported that
                       they targeted various populations, including adults, women, juveniles,
                       nonviolent and violent offenders, offenders with and without a substance
                       addiction, first-time and repeat offenders, and probation violators. Drug
                       court programs most frequently reported that program participants were
                       adult, nonviolent offenders with a substance addiction. Since 1989, over
                       65,000 people were reportedly admitted to drug court programs in the
                       United States. The completion rates for drug court program participants
                       were reported to range from about 8 percent to 95 percent, and the
                       retention rates ranged from about 31 percent to 100 percent.1


                       Some drug court programs responded that they deferred prosecuting
Drug Court Programs    (diversion) offenders who entered their program, some allowed offenders
Reported Using         to enter their program after their case had been adjudicated, others used
Various Approaches     both approaches, and some used other approaches, including allowing
                       offenders to enter their program on a trial basis after entering a plea. As
to Process Offenders   figure 3.1 shows, about 44 percent of the drug court programs operating as
                       of December 31, 1996, reported using a deferred prosecution (diversion)
                       approach to adjudicate drug offenders, about 38 percent said that they use
                       a postadjudication approach, about 10 percent said that they use both
                       deferred prosecution and postadjudication, and about 8 percent said that
                       they use the hybrid plea or some other approach.




                       1
                        “Completion rates” and “retention rates” are indicators commonly used in the drug court community
                       to measure the impact of drug court programs. “Completion rates” refer to individuals who completed
                       or were favorably discharged from a drug court program as a percentage of the total number admitted
                       and not still enrolled. This measure is an indicator of the extent to which offenders successfully
                       complete their drug court program requirements. “Retention rates” refer to individuals who are
                       currently active participants in or have successfully completed a drug court program as a percentage
                       of the total number admitted. This measure is an indicator of the extent to which a program has been
                       successful at graduating or retaining offenders as active program participants in the program at the
                       time of our survey. Although interrelated, both measures are helpful in assessing program
                       performance. A program that had been operating consistently over a longer period of time would be
                       expected to have similar completion and retention rates.



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                                      Chapter 3
                                      Approaches, Characteristics, and
                                      Completion and Retention Rates of Existing
                                      Drug Court Programs Were Diverse




Figure 3.1: Various Approaches Used
by Drug Court Programs to Process
                                                                                           Deferred prosecution
Cases of Program Participants


                                                                                           Deferred and postadjudication



                                                     44%
                                                               10%
                                                                           8%              Other approaches




                                                                     38%                   Postadjudication




                                      Source: GAO survey of drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996.



                                      All of the drug court programs responding to our survey reported having a
Drug Court Programs                   treatment component as a part of the overall drug court program. Twenty
Generally Reported                    percent of the drug court programs reported having a waiting list for
Varying Types and                     treatment, and about 82 percent reported that participants generally start
                                      treatment within 7 days.
Range of Treatment
Services                              Our survey did not cover types of treatment. However, according to results
                                      from a 1997 survey conducted by the Drug Court Clearinghouse of drug
                                      court programs, the type and extent of treatment provided to program
                                      participants varied among drug court programs. The Drug Court
                                      Clearinghouse survey found that the range of treatment and rehabilitation
                                      services being delivered by drug court programs were expanding
                                      significantly. Treatment providers for 72 drug court programs that
                                      responded to the Drug Court Clearinghouse’s survey generally reported
                                      using an array of substance abuse and individual rehabilitation services,




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Completion and Retention Rates of Existing
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including detoxification, stabilization, counseling, therapy, drug education,
and relapse prevention.2

Other services relating to personal and educational development, such as
job skills and employment services, were reported as frequently provided
after participants have responded to initial detoxification and stabilization.
Housing, family, and medical services were also reported as being
frequently available throughout the program. All but four of the reporting
programs indicated the use of individualized client treatment plans for
drug court participants.3 About 40 percent of the programs responding to
the Drug Court Clearinghouse survey reported that they also used
acupuncture as an adjunct to treatment services.

According to the results of the Drug Court Clearinghouse’s survey, drug
court programs have also expanded their treatment and rehabilitation
services to recognize the diversity of both treatment and other needs of
program participants and to treat not only the participant’s addiction but
the numerous associated personal problems most participants encounter
(e.g, physical, mental, housing, family, employment, self-esteem, etc.).
Results from the Drug Court Clearinghouse survey show that some drug
court programs have also established specific ethnic and/or cultural
sensitive treatment components and have focused on special classes of
defendants (e.g., pregnant women, mothers, fathers, and persons who
have been sexually abused).

The Drug Court Clearinghouse survey also showed that drug court
programs generally provided treatment in about three or more phases,
with the most intensive phase occurring during the first 30 to 90 days.
During this phase, program participants are usually subject to (1) frequent
visits to a treatment provider, which some programs reported requiring a
weekly visit, others three visits per week, and in some more extensive
programs, four to five visits per week; (2) frequent drug tests, which some
programs reported as required once a week and others twice a week; and
(3) face-to-face contact with the drug court judge, which also varied
among the programs from weekly to biweekly.

Drug court programs responding to the Drug Court Clearinghouse survey
generally reported that, decreases and/or increases in the intensity and

2
 Drug court programs responding to the Drug Court Clearinghouse survey generally reported that they
did not maintain the capability to refer program participants to inpatient treatment for more than 30
days.
3
 About 40 percent of the programs indicated that they updated these plans every 30 days, 10 percent
every 60 days, and the remaining 50 percent every 90 days.



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                       Approaches, Characteristics, and
                       Completion and Retention Rates of Existing
                       Drug Court Programs Were Diverse




                       length of treatment services for a participant were usually determined by
                       the treatment provider based on criteria similar to that used to make
                       recommendations regarding the movement of participants from one
                       program phase to another (e.g., drug test results, attendance at counseling
                       sessions, and length of time in the program). The Drug Court
                       Clearinghouse survey also showed that most drug court programs require
                       a minimum period of participation and sobriety. Although this requirement
                       also varied among programs, it was generally reported that at least 12
                       months of participation and being drug free for a period of at least 4 to 6
                       months was required for program completion.


                       As table 3.1 shows, drug court programs responding to our survey
Drug Court Programs    reported targeting various types of offenders, including adults, women,
Reported Targeting a   juveniles, nonviolent and violent offenders, offenders with and without a
Diverse Group of       substance addiction, first-time and repeat offenders, and probation
                       violators. About 16 percent of the drug court programs we surveyed
Offenders              reported that juveniles were eligible to participate in their drug court
                       program, about 6 percent allowed offenders with a current conviction for
                       a violent offense, about 16 percent allowed offenders with a prior
                       conviction for a violent offense,4 about 17 percent allowed offenders
                       without a substance addiction,5 about 78 percent allowed repeat offenders,
                       and about 63 percent allowed probation violators. However, drug court
                       programs most frequently reported that eligible program participants were
                       adult, nonviolent offenders with a substance addiction.




                       4
                        Our analysis of drug court programs’ responses to our survey showed that about 10 drug court
                       programs that reported receiving grant funds under the Violent Crime Act also reported that certain
                       violent offenders, using their jurisdiction’s definition of a violent offender, were eligible to participate
                       in their programs. As discussed previously in this report, the act prohibits grants from being awarded
                       to any drug court program that admits certain violent offenders. We discussed this matter with DOJ
                       officials and plan to follow up with them on this issue.
                       5
                        According to HHS officials and other drug court program stakeholders, persons admitted without
                       substance addictions are likely to include persons with substance abuse problems who were not
                       identified as being addicted during their initial screening. Also, some drug court programs target
                       special populations who may not have a substance addiction. For example, the Jackson County, MO,
                       drug court program, in addition to targeting others, targets prostitutes because of the likelihood that
                       their drug abuse is the reason for their criminal behavior. Another program in Las Vegas, NV, targets
                       parents or guardians of juveniles who have been identified as having a substance addiction.



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                                         Approaches, Characteristics, and
                                         Completion and Retention Rates of Existing
                                         Drug Court Programs Were Diverse




Table 3.1: Types of Participants
Reported as Eligible to Participate in                                                                              Percent of drug court
Drug Court Programs                                                                                                   programs allowing
                                         Type of eligible program participants                                              participation
                                         Adult males                                                                                       87
                                         Adult women                                                                                       88
                                         Juveniles                                                                                         16
                                         Nonviolent offenders                                                                              93
                                         Offenders whose current conviction
                                         included a violent offense                                                                          6
                                         Offenders convicted of any
                                         previous violent offense                                                                          16
                                         Offenders with a substance
                                         addiction                                                                                         96
                                         Offenders without a
                                         substance addiction                                                                               17
                                         First-time offenders                                                                              84
                                         Repeat offenders                                                                                  78
                                         Probation violators                                                                               63
                                                                    a
                                         Other types of offenders                                                                            8
                                         a
                                          These other types of offenders included child welfare, guardianship, neglect or abuse cases,
                                         and violators of court-ordered treatment.

                                         Source: GAO survey of drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996.




                                         Drug court programs responding to our survey reported that, as of
Reported Completion                      December 31, 1996, 65,921 people had been admitted to drug court
and Retention Rates                      programs in the United States since 1989. As figure 3.2 shows, of the
of Drug Court                            65,921 people admitted, about 31 percent (20,594) had completed drug
                                         court programs, and about 24 percent (16,051) had failed to complete the
Programs Varied                          program because they were terminated for various reasons, including drug
                                         relapse or criminal recidivism, or because they voluntarily withdrew or
                                         died while in the program.

                                         Forty percent, or 26,465 offenders, were reported to be enrolled in drug
                                         court programs as of December 31, 1996. Of the 26,465 enrollees, about
                                         25 percent, or 6,564, did not regularly attend the program or were wanted
                                         on bench warrants for failure to appear.6 This rate is slightly lower than



                                         6
                                          The median for the 128 drug court programs that were able to account for the status of enrolled
                                         program participants was 5 inactive participants; one drug court program accounted for about 1,200 of
                                         the 6,564 inactive enrollees.



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                                         Chapter 3
                                         Approaches, Characteristics, and
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                                         Drug Court Programs Were Diverse




                                         the 27-percent rate reported by DOJ for felony drug defendants released
                                         before case disposition who fail to make scheduled court appearances.7

                                         Three of the 134 drug court programs responding to our survey were
                                         unable to accurately account for the status of the remaining 4 percent, or
                                         about 2,800 offenders, due to loss of data files or inadequate
                                         recordkeeping systems. One additional drug court program was unable to
                                         provide information for program participants between 1993 and 1994.


Figure 3.2: Status of Drug Court
Program Participants Admitted Since
                                                                                                  Graduated/completed
1989, as of December 31, 1996

                                                                                                  Inactively enrolled
                                                                         10.0%



                                                         31.2%        10%
                                      31.2%




                                                                             30.2%                Actively enrolled
                                                                                             30.2%




                                                        20.8%



                                               20.8%                          4.3%                Voluntarily withdrew
                                                                          0.2%
                                                                       3.4%                       3.5%
                                                                                                  Status unknown
                                                                                                  4.3%
                                                                                                  Terminated

                                                   Enrolled
                                                   Not enrolled or status unknown



                                         Note: Less than 1 percent or 100 drug court program participants died while in the drug court
                                         program.

                                         Source: GAO survey of drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996.




                                         7
                                          “Drugs and Crime Facts,” 1994. DOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics.



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                                         Chapter 3
                                         Approaches, Characteristics, and
                                         Completion and Retention Rates of Existing
                                         Drug Court Programs Were Diverse




Range of Reported                        As table 3.2 shows, the completion rates for program participants in 56 of
Completion and Retention                 the 62 drug court programs we surveyed that were operational as of
Rates                                    December 31, 1996, for more than 18 months, ranged from 8 to 95 percent.8
                                         The average completion rate for these drug court programs was about
                                         48 percent.

                                         The retention rates for 131 of the 134 drug court programs we surveyed
                                         that were operating as of December 31, 1996, also varied—ranging from a
                                         low of about 31 percent to a high of 100 percent.9 The average retention
                                         rate for these programs was about 71 percent. In comparison, the OJP Drug
                                         and Crime Working Group, in a January 1996 report, noted that available
                                         research findings indicated that relatively few individuals remained in drug
                                         treatment programs, in general, long enough to show reduced recidivism
                                         and other favorable treatment outcomes. The study also noted that
                                         persons who attended and remained in drug treatment programs for a
                                         sufficient length of time showed reduced recidivism and other favorable
                                         outcomes.


Table 3.2: Completion and Retention Rates of Drug Court Programs Operating as of December 31, 1996
                                                                                          Total
                                                                                     offenders     Completion                      Retention
Jurisdiction of drug court program                                    Start date      admitted           rate                           rate
Birmingham, AL (adult)                                                        Jan. 1996                 150                n/a             89%
Birmingham, AL (juvenile)                                                     Jan. 1996                 105                n/a             90%
Mobile, AL                                                                    Feb. 1993                 542                 39%            52%
                                                                                                            a                 b                  b
Phoenix, AZ                                                                   Mar. 1992
Little Rock, AR                                                               June 1994                 640                 31%            42%
Bakersfield, CA                                                               July 1993               1,375                 59%            66%
Chico, CA                                                                     June 1995                 375                 34%            49%
El Monte, CA                                                                  July 1994                  87                 69%            77%
Fresno, CA                                                                    March 1996                825                n/a             93%
Los Angeles, CA (adult)                                                       May 1994                  404                 39%            52%
Modesto, CA                                                                   June 1995                  78                 22%            69%
Oakland, CA
(adult/Diversion Court)                                                       Jan. 1991               6,579                 43%            48%
                                                                                                                                  (continued)

                                         8
                                          Completion rates were not applicable for three of the programs because they had retained 100 percent
                                         of the program participants admitted at the time of our survey. For the remaining three programs, we
                                         were unable to calculate a completion rate because complete information on the status of certain
                                         program participants could not be provided by the drug court program surveyed.
                                         9
                                          We were unable to calculate retention rates for three programs because complete information on the
                                         status of certain program participants could not be provided by the drug court program surveyed.



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                                     Approaches, Characteristics, and
                                     Completion and Retention Rates of Existing
                                     Drug Court Programs Were Diverse




                                                                                       Total
                                                                                  offenders     Completion        Retention
Jurisdiction of drug court program                                   Start date    admitted           rate             rate
Oakland, CA
(adult/postadjudication)                                             Jan. 1995         1,879            n/a             62%
Pasadena, CA                                                         May 1995             30             42%            63%
Porterville, CA                                                      Apr. 1996          107             n/a             78%
Riverside, CA                                                        Sept. 1995           98            n/a             66%
Roseville, CA                                                        Sept. 1995           49            n/a             71%
Sacramento, CA                                                       Mar. 1996          341             n/a             41%
Salinas, CA                                                          July 1995          125             n/a             50%
San Bernardino, CA                                                   Nov. 1994          267              65%            72%
San Francisco, CA (adult)                                            Mar. 1995          282              32%            60%
San Jose, CA (adult)                                                 Sept. 1995         159             n/a             81%
San Jose, CA (juvenile)                                              Aug. 1996            25            n/a             88%
San Mateo, CA                                                        Oct. 1995          304             n/a             47%
Santa Anna, CA (adult)                                               Mar. 1995            74             71%            84%
Santa Barbara, CA                                                    Mar. 1996            86            n/a             57%
Santa Maria, CA                                                      Mar. 1996            98            n/a             60%
Santa Monica, CA                                                     Jan. 1996            75            n/a             35%
Santa Rosa, CA                                                       Feb. 1996            88            n/a             77%
Stockton, CA                                                         July 1995          357             n/a             44%
Tulare, CA (adult)                                                   May 1996             45            n/a             78%
Tulare, CA (juvenile)                                                Oct. 1995          147             n/a             62%
Ukiah, CA                                                            Sept. 1996           20            n/a             85%
Ventura, CA                                                          Apr. 1995          157              35%            61%
Visalia, CA (adult)                                                  Mar. 1996            31            n/a             32%
Woodland, CA                                                         Mar. 1995          577              35%            59%
Yosemite National Park, CA
(Federal Court)                                                      Jan. 1995            31             68%            71%
                                                                                                              c
Denver, CO                                                           July 1994         2,900             28%            68%c
New Haven, CT                                                        July 1996            45            n/a             84%
Dover, DE                                                            Apr. 1996            84            n/a             87%
Georgetown, DE                                                       Apr. 1996            75            n/a             88%
Wilmington, DE (adult)                                               Oct. 1993          980              61%            68%
Wilmington, DE (juvenile)                                            Sept. 1995           99            n/a             91%
Washington, D.C. (adult)                                             Jul. 1994          913              48%            51%
Bartow, FL                                                           Dec. 1994          377              29%            61%
Crestview, FL                                                        Oct. 1993          179              50%            65%
Fort Lauderdale, FL (adult)                                          June 1991         4,378             72%            76%
Gainesville, FL                                                      Mar. 1994          259              18%            37%
                                                                                                               (continued)


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                                     Approaches, Characteristics, and
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                                     Drug Court Programs Were Diverse




                                                                                       Total
                                                                                  offenders     Completion      Retention
Jurisdiction of drug court program                                   Start date    admitted           rate           rate
Jacksonville, FL                                                     Sept. 1994         325              40%           65%
Key West, Fl (adult)                                                 May 1993           162              82%           82%
Key West, Fl (juvenile)                                              April 1996           22            n/a           100%
Marathon, FL (adult)                                                 June 1995             3            n/a           100%
Marathon, FL (juvenile)                                              May 1996             14            n/a           100%
Miami, FL                                                            June 1989        11,600             80%           73%
Pensacola, FL (adult)                                                June 1993          440              46%           51%
Pensacola, FL (parents)                                              Feb. 1996            30            n/a            93%
Pensacola, FL (juvenile)                                             April 1996           35            n/a            86%
Plantation Key, FL (adult)                                           May 1995              4            n/a           100%
Plantation Key, FL (juvenile)                                        May 1996             24            n/a            75%
Tallahassee, FL                                                      Jan. 1994          375              77%           85%
Tampa,FL (adult-diversion)                                           June 1992          492              67%           68%
Tampa, FL
(adult-postadjudication)                                             July 1994         3,782              b             b
Tampa, FL (juvenile)                                                 Feb. 1996            88            n/a            89%
Viera, FL                                                            Oct. 1994          424              51%           70%
Macon, GA                                                            Jan. 1994          268              49%           70%
Honolulu, HI                                                         Jan. 1996          147             n/a            84%
Cook County, IL (juvenile)                                           Oct. 1996            37            n/a            95%
Edwardsville, IL                                                     March 1996         104             n/a            64%
Markham, IL                                                          March 1994         875              62%           89%
Rockford, IL                                                         Oct. 1996            28            n/a            82%
Gary, IN (juvenile)                                                  June 1995          147              82%           88%
Gary, IN (adult)                                                     Sept. 1996           63            n/a            35%
Lake County, IN                                                      Sept. 1996           42            n/a            50%
Terre Haute, IN                                                      Oct. 1996            31            n/a            90%
Des Moines, IA                                                       Sept. 1996           28            n/a            64%
Wichita, KS                                                          July 1995          427             n/a            82%
Louisville, KY                                                       July 1993          281              33%           66%
Baton Rouge, LA (adult)                                              Jan. 1995          567              67%           87%
Baltimore, MD
(adult-District)                                                     March 1994         827              53%           39%
Baltimore, MD (adult-Circuit)                                        Oct. 1994          317               8%           44%
Dorchester, MA                                                       June 1995          160              39%           71%
Worcester, MA                                                        Feb. 1996            57            n/a            72%
Kalamazoo, MI (females)                                              June 1992          306              37%           48%
                                                                                                           b             b
St. Joseph, MI                                                       Oct. 1991         1,884
                                                                                                               (continued)


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                                                                                       Total
                                                                                  offenders     Completion     Retention
Jurisdiction of drug court program                                   Start date    admitted           rate          rate
Kansas City, MO                                                      Oct. 1993         1,964             21%          35%
Lexington, MO                                                        June 1996            10            n/a           90%
Missoula, MT (juvenile)                                              Oct. 1996             8            n/a          100%
Las Vegas, NV (adult)                                                Oct. 1992         2,120             51%          55%
Las Vegas, NV (juvenile)                                             Apr. 1995          195              63%          69%
Reno, NV (family)                                                    Aug. 1994            62             69%          82%
Reno, NV (adult)                                                     July 1995          438             n/a           74%
Reno, NV (juvenile)                                                  July 1995            30            n/a           80%
Camden, NJ                                                           April 1996           80            n/a           59%
Albuquerque, NM                                                      Sept. 1995           77            n/a           62%
Las Cruces, NM
(adult-Magistrate)                                                   April 1995           86             43%          69%
Las Cruces, NM
(adult-Municipal)                                                    Dec. 1995            59            n/a           80%
Mesilla, NM                                                          April 1995           19             50%          89%
Brooklyn, NY                                                         June 1996          258             n/a           72%
Buffalo, NY                                                          Jan. 1996          168             n/a           80%
Rochester, NY                                                        Jan. 1995          617              95%          83%
Suffolk County, NY                                                   Sept. 1996           62            n/a           90%
Charlotte, NC                                                        Feb. 1995          157              45%          73%
Person/Caswell Counties, NC                                          July 1996            25            n/a           88%
Raleigh, NC                                                          May 1996             32            n/a           66%
Warrenton, NC                                                        Dec. 1996             5            n/a          100%
Winston-Salem, NC                                                    June 1996            29            n/a           52%
Akron, OH                                                            June 1995          251              65%          75%
Butler County, OH                                                    Sept. 1996           25            n/a           80%
Cincinnati, OH                                                       March 1995         713              37%          73%
Dayton, OH (adult)                                                   Jan. 1996            57            n/a           77%
Sandusky, OH                                                         April 1996           12            n/a           92%
Guthrie, OK                                                          March 1995           40             33%          65%
Stillwater, OK (adult)                                               March 1995         214              33%          52%
Tulsa, OK                                                            May 1996             37            n/a           92%
Eugene, OR                                                           Sept. 1994         445              20%          31%
Grants Pass, OR                                                      March 1996           65            n/a           58%
Klamath Falls, OR                                                    March 1996           35            n/a           63%
Portland, OR                                                         Aug. 1991         3,194             45%          52%
Roseburg, OR                                                         Jan. 1996            72            n/a           78%
Arecibo, PR                                                          April 1996           69            n/a          100%
                                                                                                              (continued)


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                                                                                                 Total
                                                                                            offenders        Completion       Retention
Jurisdiction of drug court program                                        Start date         admitted              rate            rate
Carolina, PR                                                              April 1996                 27                n/a           100%
Ponce, PR                                                                 April 1996                107                n/a                96%
Columbia, SC                                                              Nov. 1996                  12                n/a                75%
Lexington, SC                                                             July 1996                  28                n/a                71%
Austin, TX                                                                Aug. 1993                 618                 49%               66%
Beaumont, TX                                                              March 1993                338                 34%               49%
Fort Worth, TX                                                            Sept. 1995                102                n/a                76%
Salt Lake City, UT (juvenile)                                             Oct. 1995                 128                n/a                88%
Salt Lake City, UT (adult)                                                July 1996                 124                n/a                66%
Roanoke, VA                                                               Sept. 1995                109                n/a                81%
Seattle, WA                                                               Aug. 1994                 512                 25%               43%
Spokane, WA                                                               Jan. 1996                  52                n/a                69%
Tacoma, WA                                                                Oct. 1994                 209                 35%               60%
Madison, WI                                                               June 1996                  16                n/a                81%
Total/Average                                                                                   65,921                  48%               71%

                                     Note: Completion rates (CR) were calculated by dividing the number of participants who have
                                     completed or were favorably discharged from a drug court program (G) by the number of
                                     participants who had been admitted (A) minus the number of participants actively (P) or inactively
                                     (NP) enrolled in the program; that is CR = G/(A-(P+NP)). Retention rates (RR) were calculated by
                                     dividing the sum of the graduates (G) and active participants (P) by the number of persons
                                     admitted; that is RR = (G+P)/A. In a few of the drug court programs, the completion rate
                                     exceeded the retention rate because of the number of persons enrolled but not actively
                                     participating (NP). For example, for the Dade County (FL) Drug Court program, where there were
                                     11,600 persons admitted as of the time of our review, 7,770 persons who had graduated, 670
                                     persons who were still actively participating, and 1,200 who were still enrolled but not actively
                                     participating, the completion rate was 80 percent (i.e., CR = (7,770/(11,600-(670+1,200))), while
                                     the retention rate was 73 percent (i.e., RR = (7,770+670)/11,600).

                                     n/a = The drug court program had been operating for 18 months or less at the time of our survey,
                                     or 100 percent of the program participants reported as admitted were still active in the program.
                                     a
                                      We were unable to include a total for offenders admitted to this program because drug court
                                     program officials were not able to provide an accurate account of offenders admitted to this
                                     program between 1993 and 1994, and the status of those offenders due to a loss of data files and
                                     an inability to accurately recreate the information.
                                     b
                                      We were unable to calculate a rate because drug court program officials were not able to
                                     determine the total number of program participants who had either successfully completed, failed
                                     to complete program requirements, and/or were inactively enrolled in their drug court program as
                                     of December 31, 1996 (i.e., persons who did not attend or were wanted on bench warrants for
                                     failure to appear).
                                     c
                                      Rate provided may slightly underrepresent the true rate by about 1 to 2 percent because
                                     information provided by drug court program officials in response to our survey did not account for
                                     the status of 27 program participants identified as admitted.

                                     Source: GAO analysis of data on program participants obtained from survey of drug court
                                     programs operating as of December 31, 1996.




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Except for Follow-Up Data, Most Drug
Court Programs Reported Maintaining and
Using Suggested Management and
Evaluation Data
                            DOJ and HHS’ CSAT, which have provided over 95 percent of the federal
                            funding and/or support for drug court program operations, and the NADCP
                            Drug Court Standards Committee1 suggest that drug court programs
                            collect and maintain certain data on participants both during and after
                            their participation in the program to help manage and/or evaluate the
                            program. Most of the drug court programs we surveyed reported that they
                            collect and maintain most of the suggested types of data on program
                            participants during their participation. However, about two-thirds reported
                            that they did not collect and maintain follow-up substance abuse relapse
                            data on program participants after they left the program, and almost half
                            of these programs reported that they did not collect and maintain
                            follow-up data on rearrest and/or conviction. Collaborative efforts among
                            stakeholders in the drug court community have been undertaken to study
                            the feasibility of and deal with obstacles associated with a recognized
                            need in the drug court community to collect and maintain follow-up data,
                            as well as other data, on drug court program participants.


                            DOJ’s “Drug Court Grant Program Guidelines and Application Kit” issued in
DOJ, HHS’ CSAT, and         1996 require recipients of federal funds under Title V of the 1994 Violent
the NADCP Standards         Crime Act to demonstrate the capability to ensure adequate program
Committee Guidelines        management through ongoing monitoring, tracking, and program
                            evaluation. DOJ’s “Drug Court Grant Program Guidelines and Application
Suggest That Drug           Kit” suggest that this be done through the design, implementation, and
Court Programs              maintenance of an automated data collection system. The guidelines
                            further suggest that the following information be collected and available
Maintain Certain Data       for impact evaluations on drug court program participants and, to the
on Participants             extent possible, on similarly situated nonparticipants:

                        •   criminal justice history,
                        •   history of substance abuse,
                        •   level of use of controlled or addictive substances at the point of entry into
                            the program,
                        •   data on substance abuse relapse while in the program,
                        •   data on rearrest and/or conviction for a crime while in the program,
                        •   completion/noncompletion of the drug court program,


                            1
                             The Drug Court Standards Committee consists of a diverse group of drug court practitioners and
                            other experts from across the country, brought together by NADCP through a cooperative agreement
                            with DOJ’s DCPO. The committee includes representatives from courts, prosecution, public defense,
                            treatment, pretrial services, case management, probation, court administration, and academia and
                            others with drug court experience, including officials from DOJ’s DCPO, NADCP, Drug Court
                            Clearinghouse, and JMI. Among others, HHS’ CSAT, ONDCP, BJA, and SJI provided information that
                            was used to assist the committee in developing its guidance.



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•   follow-up data on substance abuse relapse after completing the program,
    and
•   follow-up data on rearrest and/or conviction for a crime after completing
    the program.

    HHS’ CSAT, in its 1996 guidance2 addressing drug court programs, has
    adopted similar suggestions for collecting and maintaining data on
    program participants while in the program and, in its 1997 substance
    abuse treatment planning guidance, refers to DOJ’s suggestion that drug
    court programs collect and maintain follow-up drug use relapse and
    criminal recidivism data. The NADCP Drug Court Standards Committee in
    its recently issued drug court program guide,3 has also adopted similar
    suggestions, including suggesting that drug court programs collect and
    maintain data on drug use relapse and criminal recidivism of program
    participants after they leave the program.

    As previously noted in chapter 1, unlike DOJ and HHS, which have provided
    over 95 percent of the federal funding and/or support for drug court
    program operations, NADCP has no statutory or regulatory authority over
    drug court program operations.

    Recipients of grants awarded under the Violent Crime Act are also
    required to submit, in addition to financial reports, semiannual progress
    reports that describe activities during the reporting period and the status
    or accomplishment of objectives as set forth in the approved application
    for funding. These progress reports are due twice a year and must be
    submitted within 30 days after the end of the reporting periods, which are
    June 30th and December 31st for the award period. Recipients of HHS’ CSAT
    grants are also generally required to submit quarterly progress reports in
    addition to required financial reports.

    Similarly, recipients of grants awarded by DOJ under the Byrne formula
    block grant, Comprehensive Communities, and Local Law Enforcement
    Block Grants programs are required to submit semiannual progress
    reports and periodic financial reports. Also, recipients of SJI funds, which
    have been primarily used to study or pilot test innovative court initiatives,
    such as drug court programs, are generally required to submit quarterly
    progress reports in addition to required financial reports. However, no

    2
    Treatment Drug Courts: Integrating Substance Abuse Treatment With Legal Case Processing, U.S.
    Department of Health and Human Services, 1996.
    3
      Defining Drug Courts: The Key Components, January 1997, supported by a grant awarded by DOJ’s
    DCPO and issued in May 1997 by DOJ’s DCPO.



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                        Evaluation Data




                        specific requirements or suggestions exist under any of these programs for
                        grant recipients to demonstrate the capability to ensure adequate program
                        management via ongoing tracking and monitoring and program evaluation
                        through the collection and maintenance of specific data on drug court
                        program participants, as suggested for recipients of Violent Crime Act
                        funding. In commenting on a draft of this report, DOJ noted that, although
                        the Byrne formula block grants and Local Law Enforcement Block Grants
                        administered by DOJ contain an evaluation component, they do not have
                        the statutory authority to compel the states or local jurisdictions to collect
                        specific program data or to evaluate any particular program(s).


                        Over 90 percent of the 134 drug court programs we surveyed that were
Most Drug Court         identified as operating as of December 31, 1996, reported that, with the
Programs Reported       exception of follow-up data on program participants, they maintained
They Maintain All but   suggested program and participant data that enable them to manage and
                        evaluate their programs. Two-thirds of the drug court programs reported
Follow-Up Data on       not maintaining follow-up drug relapse data, and nearly half reported not
Participants            maintaining follow-up data on rearrest and/or conviction for a crime once
                        participants leave the programs. Our survey did not determine the reasons
                        why such data were not collected. However, its results showed that no
                        significant difference was associated with the source of funding (federal,
                        state/local, private, etc.) received and the extent to which drug court
                        programs were collecting and maintaining suggested follow-up data,
                        including those federally funded under the Violent Crime Act, whose
                        program guidance suggests that such data be collected and maintained.
                        Additionally, results from our survey showed small and statistically
                        insignificant differences in the likelihood of postprogram follow-up data
                        on drug use relapse and/or criminal recidivism being collected and
                        maintained between older and newer drug court programs.

                        About 94 percent of the drug court programs we surveyed reported having
                        a data collection system or some other means in place that can be used to
                        manage (monitor and track) their programs’ operations. Regarding how
                        drug court programs track and monitor program participants, about
                        19 percent of these drug court programs reported that they used a fully
                        computerized data collection system, about 39 percent a partially
                        computerized data collection system, about 15 percent some other
                        noncomputerized means, and about 22 percent both computerized and
                        noncomputerized means. The remaining 6 percent reported that they did
                        not have any means for monitoring and tracking data on program




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                                      participants.4 About 93 percent of these programs reported that their data
                                      collection systems and/or noncomputerized means had been used to
                                      manage their programs.

                                      About 70 percent of the programs operating as of December 31, 1996,
                                      reported having a data collection system in place that can be used to
                                      evaluate (i.e., assess/study) their programs’ operations. About 67 percent
                                      of these programs reported that such systems had been used by internal
                                      program officials and/or external evaluators to evaluate their programs.

                                      Table 4.1 summarizes the programs’ responses and shows the extent to
                                      which the data are computerized by type of data.

Table 4.1: Percentage of Drug Court
Programs That Reported Maintaining                                                             Percent of        Percent of these
Data on Participants                                                                           programs           programs with
                                      Data maintained                                    maintaining data      computerized data
                                      Program participants
                                      Demographic information
                                       (e.g., age, gender,
                                       race, income, and
                                       education)                                                     92                       68
                                      Criminal justice history
                                        (i.e., arrest and/or
                                        conviction record)                                            94                       70
                                      History of substance
                                        abuse (i.e., controlled
                                        or other addictive
                                        substances)                                                   90                       34
                                      Level of use of
                                        controlled or other
                                        addictive substances at
                                        the point of entry into
                                        the program                                                   90                       33
                                      Substance abuse relapse                                         94                       44
                                      Rearrest and/or
                                       conviction for a
                                       nondrug crime                                                  90                       60
                                      Completion/noncompletion
                                       of the program                                                 97                       71
                                      Follow-up data
                                      Substance abuse relapse                                         33                       31
                                      Rearrest and/or
                                       conviction for a
                                       nondrug crime                                                  53                       65
                                      Source: GAO survey of drug court programs operating as of December 31, 1996.
                                      4
                                       Percentages exceed 100 percent due to rounding.



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                     Collaborative efforts among stakeholders in the drug court community
Feasibility Issues   have been undertaken to study the feasibility, cost, and obstacles
Relating to the      associated with a recognized need by the drug court community
Collection and       stakeholders to collect and maintain follow-up data, as well as other data,
                     on drug court program participants. For example, in March 1997, DOJ,
Maintenance of       through a cooperative agreement with JMI,5 sponsored a focus group
Follow-Up Data       meeting involving various drug court stakeholders that focused on, among
                     other things, the need for follow-up data to adequately monitor and
                     evaluate the impact of drug court programs. During this collaborative
                     effort—which involved, among others, federal grantors, drug court judges,
                     program managers, treatment providers, researchers, and
                     evaluators—stakeholders discussed, among other things, (1) how
                     information (including follow-up relapse and recidivism data) could be
                     obtained to answer key questions about drug court program impacts on
                     participants’ behavior and life circumstances, (2) circumstances in which
                     it may be impossible or inappropriate to seek access to otherwise relevant
                     data, (3) strategies for overcoming obstacles to obtaining relevant data,
                     and (4) costs associated with collecting and maintaining such data. Also,
                     during the May 1997, NADCP training conference in Los Angeles that was
                     attended by about 1,500 drug court program judges, administrators,
                     treatment providers, planners, and other stakeholders and interested
                     parties, one of the nine daily sessions was devoted to data collection and
                     program evaluation needs. During these sessions, participants discussed,
                     among other things, the type of information that is needed and legal and
                     other issues associated with the collection and maintenance of program
                     data, including follow-up data on program participants’ criminal recidivism
                     and drug use relapse.

                     In addition, JMI, in doing a feasibility study to assist DOJ in its effort to
                     sponsor multiple evaluations of four of the oldest operating drug court
                     programs, concluded that it was feasible to do an evaluation focusing on
                     offenders who entered these programs prior to 1997. Among other things,
                     JMI concluded that data on new arrests and/or convictions should be
                     “relatively easy to obtain,” but that other outcome variables, such as drug
                     use relapse after a participant left the program, would be more difficult to
                     obtain. JMI did, however, suggest the following as possible sources of
                     information on postprogram substance abuse by either graduates or
                     persons terminated from a drug court program:



                     5
                      JMI is a nonprofit organization established in 1993. JMI provides technical assistance, education and
                     training, research services, and dissemination of information for courts and other justice system
                     agencies in the United States and abroad.



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•   searches of criminal history records that may indicate whether an
    individual was ever subsequently arrested for a charge involving
    possession of a controlled substance;
•   searches of probation department files that may indicate whether an
    individual has had any subsequent presentence investigations or probation
    violation proceedings that show evidence of substance abuse;
•   state databases that may contain information on persons admitted to
    treatment programs, although JMI cautions researchers that these
    databases are more likely to contain information on drug use for an active
    program participant and little or no postprogram data; and
•   self-reported data obtained directly from former program participants.

    However, JMI cautions researchers that obtaining reliable data on
    substance abuse, other than data obtained through drug testing while an
    individual is a participant in the program, is likely to be labor-intensive and
    fraught with methodological problems that will have to be addressed
    carefully. In addition, JMI notes that some criminal history data, which
    should be available in electronic form for both drug court participants and
    comparison group members from a combination of local, state, and the
    National Crime Information Center6 databases, should be treated with
    caution. JMI reported that these records were often incomplete
    (particularly with respect to conviction) and could be misleading in
    assessing a program participant because it is not uncommon for a
    defendant to be arrested long after admission to the drug court program
    on a warrant relating to an incident that took place prior to program
    participation.

    HHS’ CSAT in its 1996 “Treatment Drug Courts,” guidance highlights the
    importance of information sharing between the treatment program and the
    criminal justice system. However, CSAT also warns that, although the flow
    of information from the substance abuse treatment program to the
    criminal justice system and to the researcher/evaluator is critical, those
    planning or operating programs and research studies must keep in mind
    that federal laws and regulations protect information about all persons




    6
     The National Crime Information Center is a centralized, computerized criminal justice information
    system maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation consisting of a coordinated network of
    federal and state criminal justice information systems that provides users with access to records on
    various law enforcement matters such as wanted persons, stolen vehicles, and missing persons.



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Court Programs Reported Maintaining and
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Evaluation Data




receiving alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment services (Title
42 (Sec. 290dd-2) of the U.S. Code and 42 C.F.R. Part 2).7

DOJ DCPO is also developing a data collection instrument to collect specific
information from drug court programs receiving federal funding under the
Violent Crime Act. DOJ officials said that they intend to use the instrument
to do semiannual progress reviews of these drug court programs. A draft
of the data collection instrument intended to collect data during the
semiannual reviews included a request for information on several of the
data elements noted in table 4.1, including information on criminal
recidivism and drug relapse by program participants after they leave the
program.

As for comparative data, which we did not address in our survey of
operating drug courts, HHS’ CSAT in its 1996 guidance provides suggestions
for doing comparative program evaluations. One approach suggested by
CSAT is to develop quasi-experimental designs that allow for scientifically
rigorous examination of outcomes. One type of quasi-experimental
evaluation suggested by CSAT is a pre-post design, in which outcomes
obtained following a participant’s discharge from a drug court program are
compared to those obtained prior to participation in the program. For
example, a defendant’s frequency of drug use, frequency of arrests, or
length of time between arrests can be compared before and after
admission to the program. CSAT cautions that a drawback to pre-post
designs is that they do not take into account other factors that may
contribute to the behavior changes they measure.



7
 Federal regulations prohibit disclosure of information regarding patients who have applied for or
received any alcohol or drug abuse-related services, including assessment, diagnosis, counseling,
treatment, or referral for treatment, from a covered program. Federal regulations apply only to
programs that receive federal assistance, including organizations that receive indirect forms of federal
aid such as tax-exempt status, or state or local funding coming (in whole or in part), from the federal
government.

The federal confidentiality regulations permit programs to disclose patient identifying information to
researchers, auditors, and evaluators without patient consent, providing that certain safeguards are in
place. Research that follows patients for any period of time after they leave treatment presents a
special challenge. Under federal regulations, no information that the researcher or evaluator gained
from the substance abuse treatment program with the patient’s consent or through the research, audit,
and evaluation exceptions may be disclosed to anyone else. Yet the researcher must locate the patient
to collect follow-up data. Federal regulations also prohibit making inquiries of persons associated with
a patient being followed up that reveals the fact that he or she had been in treatment. To avoid doing
so, researchers and evaluators trying to locate a patient must do so without disclosing to others any
information about the patient’s connection to substance abuse treatment, or they must obtain the
patient’s consent to do so.

Similarly, various state laws and regulations may also prohibit the disclosure of substance abuse client
information that could violate their right to privacy.



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              Another type of quasi-experimental evaluation noted in CSAT’s guidance
              includes studies of one or more comparison groups. Using this design,
              results from an experimental and comparison group are contrasted. The
              guidance suggests that comparison groups consist of similarly situated
              substance abusing defendants who do not participate in (or who do not
              complete) the drug court program. Suggested as useful comparison groups
              are defendants placed on a drug court program waiting list, defendants
              who are eligible for but elect not to participate in the drug court program,
              or defendants who are discharged from the program prior to completion.


              Although the majority of the drug court programs we surveyed reported
Conclusions   that they were maintaining most of the data that DOJ and NADCP suggested
              they maintain, nearly half of the drug court programs were not maintaining
              follow-up data on criminal recidivism and two-thirds were not maintaining
              data on drug use relapse. The extent to which programs were collecting
              and maintaining the suggested follow-up data did not differ based on
              funding source, including those funded under the Violent Crime Act,
              whose program guidance suggests that such data be collected and
              maintained. In addition, drug court stakeholders, led by DOJ, are beginning
              to recognize and study the feasibility, costs, and legal ramifications
              associated with collecting and maintaining information that is needed to
              adequately manage and evaluate drug court programs, including
              emphasizing the importance of having follow-up data on drug use relapse
              and criminal recidivism of program participants after they leave the
              program. These efforts and the results of our survey seem to indicate that
              it would be feasible for a drug court program to collect criminal recidivism
              data. They also indicate that, while collecting drug use relapse data may be
              difficult, it too is feasible in some cases. As discussed in chapter 5, without
              such data, it will be difficult for conclusions to be drawn in the future on
              the overall impact of drug court programs and their effect on program
              participants.




              Page 68                                   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Chapter 5

Existing Evaluations Provide Some Limited
Information but Do Not Permit Firm
Conclusions Regarding Drug Court Impact
                     The 20 evaluation studies that were available for us to review do not
                     permit definitive conclusions to be reached concerning the overall impact
                     of drug court programs or on the specific issues raised by Congress in the
                     Violent Crime Act and our discussions with the Senate and House
                     Judiciary Committees. The available studies revealed diverse programs
                     that varied in terms of their eligibility and completion requirements, and in
                     the nature, duration, and intensity of the treatment provided. Also, there
                     were various differences and limitations in the objectives, scopes, and
                     methodologies of these studies.

                     Partly as a result of the program differences and the differences in study
                     methods, the studies did not provide consistent information from which
                     conclusions could be drawn on the overall impact of drug courts. The
                     authors of these evaluation studies were generally positive in their
                     assessments of drug court operations and outcomes, but many of them
                     portrayed their results as preliminary and tentative since the drug court
                     programs evaluated were in many cases still in their infancy. This chapter
                     provides a general description of the evaluation studies we reviewed, a
                     summary of their principal findings, and our recommendations for
                     subsequent impact evaluations. Additional details of these evaluation
                     studies are provided in appendix III.


                     We collected and reviewed information from 20 published or unpublished
Description of the   evaluation studies written between 1991 and 1997. These studies covered
Evaluation Studies   16 drug court programs that began operations between 1989 and 1996.1
                     The studies we reviewed were primary studies we could obtain in time for
                     this report that included, in addition to a description of drug court
                     program operations, an evaluation component (i.e., some information on
                     the outcome or efficacy of the drug court program in preventing relapse
                     into drug use or criminal recidivism).2




                     1
                      One program, in Broward County, FL, was covered by three independent evaluations; and two
                     programs, in Dade County, FL, and Los Angeles County, CA, were covered by two evaluations.
                     2
                      In our search for these evaluation studies, we uncovered a variety of other published and unpublished
                     documents that described program objectives and operations, provided judicial commentary on these
                     programs and, in some cases, provided a summary description of a number of programs. A
                     bibliography of this fuller set of materials pertaining to drug courts is at the end of this report.



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                       Existing Evaluations Provide Some Limited
                       Information but Do Not Permit Firm
                       Conclusions Regarding Drug Court Impact




                       Based on the legislative requirements of Title V of the 1994 Violent Crime
Various Factors        Act and discussions with the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, we
Prevent Drawing Firm   focused on determining what conclusions could be drawn from an
Conclusions            evaluation synthesis of the 20 studies on the impact of drug courts,
                       particularly in relation to the following specific issues: (1) criminal profile
Regarding Drug Court   of drug court program participants compared to similar offenders
Impact                 processed through the traditional adjudication system, (2) completion
                       rates of drug court program participants, (3) differences in characteristics
                       between drug court program completers and noncompleters, (4) sanctions
                       imposed on persons who failed to complete drug court programs
                       compared to those similarly situated but processed through the traditional
                       adjudication system, (5) drug use and criminal recidivism rates3 of
                       program and nonprogram participants, and (6) costs and benefits of drug
                       courts to the criminal justice system.

                       However, several factors prevent us from drawing firm conclusions about
                       the impact of these drug court programs. First, the programs the studies
                       evaluated differed considerably in several areas. Second, the studies
                       themselves also differed in terms of their objectives, scopes, and
                       methodologies. And third, the studies showed varying impacts of the drug
                       court programs.


Evaluation Studies     While all but three or four of the evaluation studies we reviewed involved
Reviewed Revealed      drug court programs that were voluntary, and all of the programs included
Diverse Programs       a treatment component, the programs described varied considerably in
                       terms of eligibility requirements, percentages of eligible offenders who
                       participated in and completed the programs, and the nature of the
                       treatment that was provided program participants. The intended length of
                       the various programs ranged from 5 months to 2 years, though participants
                       in some of the programs where completion was dependent on progress
                       might remain in them for shorter or longer periods. Although all of the
                       programs appeared to involve judicial monitoring (e.g., appearances
                       before the drug court judge) and drug testing, the frequency of
                       appearances and testing appeared to vary substantially. There was also
                       considerable variation in the treatment components of these programs,
                       which included various combinations of drug education, individual and
                       group therapy, acupuncture, attendance at AA, Cocaine Anonymous (CA),


                       3
                        We use the term recidivism to refer generally to the act of committing new criminal offenses after
                       having been arrested and/or convicted of a crime. In the evaluation studies we reviewed, this was
                       typically measured by rearrest. Since only a small percentage of offenses result in rearrest, rearrest
                       rates may underestimate the true recidivism rate.



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                             Existing Evaluations Provide Some Limited
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                             Conclusions Regarding Drug Court Impact




                             or NA meetings, educational and vocational training, and additional
                             support services.


Differences and              The evaluation studies we reviewed also varied considerably in their
Limitations of Objectives,   objectives, scopes, and methodologies. All but one of the studies assessed
Scopes, and Methodologies    the effectiveness of the programs by measuring the extent of drug use
                             relapse and/or criminal recidivism among drug court program participants.
of Studies                   Ten of the 19 studies, however, investigated these outcomes while
                             offenders were still in the program, while the other 9 studies measured
                             these outcomes after participants had completed, or been terminated
                             from, the programs.4 The studies that measured recidivism after program
                             completion varied in terms of the length of follow-up, and in terms of how
                             they measured recidivism; in some cases, studies described rearrests for
                             any offense, in other cases, felony rearrests. Some studies provided data
                             on rearrests for specific offenses (e.g., drug-related and violent offenses).

                             Twelve of the studies included information on comparison groups of drug
                             offenders, and the nature of the comparison group varied across studies.5
                             In some studies, drug court program participants were compared, over the
                             same period, to persons who were eligible to participate but did not, while
                             in other studies, participants were compared to offenders who had been
                             arrested for drugs or other offenses at earlier points in time, before the
                             drug court existed. In two studies, the equivalence of offenders in the
                             treatment and comparison groups was enhanced by design or by random
                             assignment to treatment and comparison groups. Many of the studies that
                             did not control for differences between groups by design also made no
                             attempt to statistically control such differences.

                             Only 6 of the 20 evaluation studies we reviewed involved a comparison
                             group and an assessment of how participants and nonparticipant arrest
                             rates compared after program completion. The use of comparison groups
                             is standard in evaluation research, as is the assessment of treatment
                             effects after program completion; such approaches may become more
                             common in drug court program evaluations as these programs get better
                             established.



                             4
                              None of the 11 evaluation studies that noted that they had received federal funding included
                             postprogram information on drug use relapse, and 7 of the 11 did not include information on
                             postprogram criminal recidivism.
                             5
                              Five of the 11 studies noting that they received federal funding did not include comparative data for
                             similarly situated nonparticipants.



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To help ensure that differences in outcomes between drug court program
participants and comparison groups are not due to selection effects, it is
also essential that programs be evaluated in terms of what proportion of
individuals eligible for the drug court programs actually participate in
them, and how greatly they differ from individuals who choose not to
participate in the programs. Differences in such characteristics must be
controlled, statistically, in any analysis of differences in outcomes. Many
of the studies that we considered did not include statistical controls.

Moreover, many of these studies only superficially considered the extent
to which program participants complied with program requirements (e.g.,
attended treatment sessions, submitted required urine tests, and attended
court hearings). To determine why some programs work better than
others, and why some program participants succeeded in avoiding relapse
and rearrest while others failed, we would have had to have more
information on the extent of treatment that different program participants
received.

Another factor that makes it difficult to reach definitive conclusions about
the overall impact of drug court programs, or the six issues that have been
raised about drug courts, is that it is unclear whether the 16 drug courts
evaluated in the 20 studies we reviewed represent the entire population of
drug courts now operating. Moreover, some of the studies provided only
limited information on the issues raised; on some issues, some of the
studies provided no information. Many studies, for example, said nothing
about how offenders who failed to comply with program requirements or
who were terminated from the programs were sanctioned. Most of the
studies said nothing about how program completers differed from
noncompleters and about the costs and additional benefits of the drug
court program. Table 5.1 indicates which studies provided some
information on the six questions or issues.




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Table 5.1: Matrix of Studies Showing Which Study Provided Information on Congressional Issues
                                                                                Q3:
                                                                            Difference
                                                                             between
                                                                             program                         Q5:           Q6:
                                                       Q1:          Q2:    completers      Q4:             Drug use      Program
                                                     Criminal Completion        and     Sanctions            and        costs and
Evaluation study                                      profile      rates noncompleters imposed             rearrest      benefits
Maricopa County, AZ
(Deschenes et al., 1996)                                   X            X                                      X             X
Los Angeles County, CA
(Municipal Courts Planning and Research Unit, 1996)        X            X               X         X            X
Los Angeles County, CA
(Deschenes and Torres, 1996)                               X                                      X            X
Oakland, CA FIRST (Tauber, 1995)                           X            X                         X            X             X
Santa Clara County, CA (Peters, 1996)                      X                                      X            X
Ventura County, CA (Oberg, 1996)                           X                            X         X            X             X
Denver, CO
(Granfield and Eby, 1997)                                                                         X            X             X
D.C. Superior Drug Court
(Harrell and Cavanagh, 1996)                               X            X                                      X
Broward County , FL
(Terry, 1993; Terry, 1996)                                 X            X                                      X
Broward County, FL
(Commission Auditor’s Office, 1995)                        X            X                         X            X             X
Broward County, FL
(McNeece and Daly, 1993)                                   X            X               X                      X
Dade County, FL
(Goldkamp and Weiland, 1993)                               X            X                         X            X
Dade County, FL
(Smith, Davis and Goretsky, 1991)                          X                                                   X             X
Hillsborough County, FL
(McNeece and Daly, 1993)                                   X            X                         X
Baltimore, MD (Gottfredson, Coblentz,
and Harmon, 1996)                                          X                                                   X
Clark County, NV
(Choices Unlimited Las Vegas, 1996)                        X            X               X                      X
Multnomah County S.T.O.P., OR
(Drug Court Clearinghouse, American
University, 1994)                                          X            X               X         X            X             X
SODAT-Delaware (Reed, 1995)                                X            X               X                      X             X
                                                                                        a
Travis County, TX (Kelly, 1996)                            X            X                         X            X
Jackson County, MO
(Jameson and Peterson, 1995)                               X            X                                      X             X

                                                                                                           (Table notes on next page)




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                         a
                          A subsequent report (April 1996) did provide information on completion rates based on the
                         ethnicity of program participants.

                         Source: GAO analysis of drug court evaluation studies.




Evaluation Studies       Variation in the results reported in the different evaluation studies also
Reviewed Show Varied     makes it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the outcomes of
Results Regarding Drug   these drug court programs. Drug relapse, indicated by positive drug tests,
                         was measured only during program participation, and different studies
Court Impact             revealed relapse rates that ranged from 7 percent to about 80 percent for
                         drug court program participants. Criminal rearrest recidivism rates ranged
                         from 0 percent to 58 percent for drug court program participants. While
                         four of the six studies that collected information on rearrests after
                         program completion and compared program participants or graduates
                         with nonparticipants showed lower rates for the former group, the other
                         two studies showed either no difference or small and probably
                         insignificant differences.

                         Although some of the studies were more sophisticated in their design and
                         more rigorous in their methods, these studies did not appear any more or
                         less likely than the others to indicate positive drug court outcomes. None
                         of the studies we reviewed indicated that drug court offenders had
                         significantly higher relapse and recidivism rates than offenders not
                         handled in drug court programs. Those studies that provided information
                         on the costs and benefits of these programs indicated that there were
                         substantial cost savings and/or additional benefits (e.g., reducing the
                         number of drug cases on traditional court dockets). However, none of the
                         programs have been thoroughly and systematically evaluated in terms of
                         costs and benefits, and more information would be needed on this, as well
                         as on the longer-term likelihoods of relapsing and recidivating, before it
                         can be firmly established whether these courts have diminished costs or
                         simply delayed them.


                         We are unable to provide definitive answers to the six specific issues
General Outcomes         raised about drug courts based on information from existing evaluation
Reported in Studies      studies. However, not all drug courts have been evaluated, and the 20
Relating to Specific     studies we reviewed did not in every case provide direct information that
                         bears on the questions raised. Those studies that did provide information
Issues Raised About      varied in terms of how that information was provided, and how much
Drug Court Programs


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                           detail they offered. As such, the information provided in the following
                           sections should be interpreted cautiously.


Criminal Profile of Drug   The evaluation studies varied in terms of how much detail they provided
Court Program              on the criminal profile of drug court program participants, and how similar
Participants               or different participants were from drug offenders processed through the
                           traditional adjudication system. However, all but one of the evaluation
                           studies provided information on the admissions criteria of the drug court
                           programs they studied. It appears that most of the programs covered in the
                           studies excluded violent offenders, although one evaluation of the Dade
                           County (FL) Drug Court program (Goldkamp and Weiland, 1993) revealed
                           that the program had shown some flexibility in its admissions criteria,
                           admitting some offenders who had prior arrests for serious crimes against
                           persons. Most of the programs excluded offenders involved in drug dealing
                           or trafficking, though the Travis County (TX) Drug Court was reported to
                           have excluded only individuals involved in “significant” drug dealing. In at
                           least one other program (Jackson County, MO, Drug Court), offenders
                           involved in the sale of controlled substances under specified amounts
                           were eligible to participate.

                           While many of the programs initially targeted first-time offenders with no
                           prior drug or felony arrests, two programs admitted offenders with either
                           an extensive history of arrests (D.C. Superior Drug Court) or a lengthy
                           history of substance abuse (Santa Clara County (CA) Drug Treatment
                           Court). It also appears that some of the courts that were initially quite
                           restrictive have modified their admission criteria to include offenders with
                           prior offenses or offenses that originally resulted in exclusion from the
                           drug court program.

                           While these admission criteria make it likely that drug court participants
                           are less serious offenders than other drug offenders who do not
                           participate in drug court programs, only a few of the evaluation studies
                           provided comparative information that directly bears on that question.
                           Usually, this information involved a comparison of characteristics of
                           offenders eligible for the drug court program who chose to participate
                           with offenders who chose not to participate, or who were on probation.
                           For example, the Baltimore City (MD) Drug Treatment Court evaluation
                           reported that participants were historically more frequent offenders
                           compared to other eligible probationers. In addition, the Ventura County
                           (CA) Drug Court study indicated that participants were similar,




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                     demographically and in terms of drug offenses committed, to offenders
                     who were not accepted into the program.

                     From the limited evidence provided, it appears that the characteristics of
                     drug court program participants and differences between them and
                     offenders processed in the traditional courts may vary from court to court.
                     Some types of offenders are ineligible for many of the drug court
                     programs, and in the many programs that are voluntary, some of the
                     eligible offenders decline to participate. While the authors of at least one
                     of the evaluation studies noted that drug court participants may be a very
                     selective group of offenders (and therefore quite different from
                     nonparticipants), few of the studies provided a clear indication of what
                     percentage of eligible offenders chose to participate. One study indicated
                     that most of the eligible offenders who were represented by private
                     attorneys opted not to participate in the drug court program.


Drug Court Program   Many of the drug court programs evaluated were still in their first or
Completion Rates     second year of operation, and many of the offenders who had been
                     admitted to the drug court programs were still active in them. As such, it is
                     difficult to assess what the completion rate of these programs will
                     eventually be, based on these existing evaluation studies. We do provide
                     information derived from our survey on the completion rates for 56 of the
                     62 drug court programs identified as operating, as of December 31, 1996,
                     for more than 18 months, in chapter 3.

                     Some of the evaluation studies we reviewed provided information on
                     completion rates for participants who had entered drug court programs a
                     year or more before the study was done, and enough time had lapsed for a
                     reasonably accurate completion rate to be calculated. For example, one of
                     the Broward County (FL) Drug Court studies reported a completion rate of
                     39 percent for the 787 persons who entered the program in its first year,
                     and another of the Broward County (FL) studies provided data which,
                     when adjustments are made for persons still active in treatment, yields a
                     completion rate of 35 percent over 3 years. The Oakland (CA) (F.I.R.S.T)
                     Drug Court Program study indicated that 54 percent of a sample of drug
                     court program participants admitted during 1991 had successfully
                     completed it.

                     Based on information available in existing studies, we were able to
                     estimate the completion rates for eight of the remaining programs that
                     provided data on cohorts of participants, among whom many were still



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                         active. We calculated a completion rate by deleting the currently active
                         participants and dividing the number who successfully completed the
                         program by the number who were admitted to it (and were not still
                         enrolled). This is consistent with the method we use in chapter 3 to
                         calculate completion rates for drug court programs identified as operating
                         as of December 31, 1996, for more than 18 months. For these programs,
                         completion rates varied from less than 1 percent to more than 70 percent,
                         and averaged about 43 percent. This calculation of the average may
                         underestimate eventual completion rates for the newest programs in
                         which most persons admitted were still enrolled. Completion rates are
                         likely to vary substantially across programs because some programs
                         appeared to be more tolerant of relapses, rearrests, and program
                         noncompliance than others. It is also possible that completion rates may
                         change over time if, for example, these programs were to modify their
                         eligibility criteria, as some have appeared to do after their first year or two
                         of operation.


Differences Between      Because of the newness of many of these programs and the substantial
Program Completers and   numbers of offenders recently admitted and still active in them, it is
Noncompleters            difficult to assess what distinguishes program completers from
                         noncompleters. In some of the programs, many of the noncompleters
                         opted out of the program after beginning it, while in others many of the
                         noncompleters were persons who failed to comply with program
                         requirements (e.g., attending treatment sessions), repeatedly relapsed
                         (e.g., failed drug tests), or were rearrested during their participation in the
                         program.

                         Only a few of the evaluation studies provided information on differences
                         between offenders who completed the programs and those who did not.
                         The Ventura County (CA) Drug Court Program reported that males and
                         Hispanics were less likely to complete the program. One of the Broward
                         County (FL) Drug Court studies suggested that African-Americans were
                         less likely than others to complete treatment, which was required for
                         program completion. A similar finding was reported in the
                         SODAT-Delaware, Inc., Drug Court Program study, which also indicated
                         that blacks and whites with less severe drug problems were more likely to
                         complete treatment and to graduate, and that program completion was
                         slightly higher for men and for participants who were older, better
                         educated, and employed. The Clark County (NV) Drug Court program
                         study generally indicated no differences in termination rates between
                         ethnic groups and between male and female participants. This same study,



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                    however, indicated that termination rates were higher for participants
                    entering the program under the influence or in possession of a controlled
                    substance, particularly cocaine and amphetamines, and that participants
                    40 years old and over had higher completion rates. One of the Los Angeles
                    County (CA) Drug Court studies also indicated that older participants
                    were more likely to complete the program and that married participants
                    had higher completion rates as well. The same effects of age and marital
                    status were reported in the Multnomah County (OR) S.T.O.P. Program,
                    which also suggested that program completers were more likely to be
                    residentially stable, to have a longer history of drug use, and to more
                    consistently attend treatment sessions. Some of these differences are
                    small and are likely to be statistically insignificant. Moreover,
                    multivariable analysis would have to be undertaken to discern whether
                    some of these variables had no affect when other variables were
                    controlled.


Program Sanctions   Many of the evaluation studies we reviewed said little or nothing about
                    what happens to program participants who fail to comply with program
                    requirements and participants who were terminated from the drug court
                    programs. From the information that was provided in some of the studies,
                    it appeared that how drug court programs responded to relapse and
                    rearrest varied considerably across the programs, as did sanctions for
                    program noncompliance (e.g., failing to show for tests or treatment
                    sessions).

                    The Broward County (FL) evaluation study by McNeece and Daly
                    indicated that most participants who were rearrested or violated probation
                    were not terminated but were allowed to remain in the program unless a
                    nondrug offense was committed, such as assault. The evaluation study of
                    this same program by the Commission Auditor’s Office, however, stated
                    that arrests for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or
                    cannabis possession, or for any felony during participation, resulted in
                    immediate termination. This latter study also indicated that limits had
                    been established with respect to the number of positive drug tests during
                    participation (seven) and the number of missed treatment sessions or
                    court appearances (three). The Santa Clara County (CA) study also
                    indicated that a participant could be terminated for positive drug tests,
                    though it did not indicate how frequently this occurred.

                    The Oakland (CA) (F.I.R.S.T.) Drug Court study indicated that failure to
                    appear at scheduled hearings could be sanctioned by incarceration for at



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                         least 1 week, after which the participant would be reinstated. Only two
                         reinstatements were permitted before participants were to be terminated
                         and had to undergo criminal proceedings. The Denver (CO) Court study
                         noted, without providing specific information, that a “carrot and stick”
                         approach is used “whereby the court uses graduated sanctions in response
                         to violations and grants rewards for program compliance.” The Los
                         Angeles County (CA) Drug Courts study by the Planning and Research
                         Unit also alluded to the use of “progressively severe sanctions,” which
                         could include incarceration, and noted that termination would result in
                         reinstatement of the original criminal charges and prosecution. The
                         evaluation of this same drug court program by Deschenes and Torres
                         indicated that in all four drug courts in Los Angeles County, offender
                         relapse did not necessarily lead to dismissal from the program.

                         The Baltimore City (MD) Drug Treatment Court study also noted that
                         incarceration was used to sanction program noncompliance, as did the
                         Travis County (TX) Drug Diversion Court and Maricopa County (AZ)
                         evaluations. The Ventura County (CA) Drug Court study indicated that
                         new crime charges, three positive drug test samples, and other acts of
                         noncompliance could result in termination and offenders being returned to
                         serve their sentences. The Dade County (FL) Drug Court study by
                         Goldkamp and Weiland indicated that “motivational jail” terms of up to 2
                         weeks were sometimes used to sanction offenders for program
                         noncompliance.


Relapse and Recidivism   Ideally, responding to issues raised by Congress and others and addressing
Rates                    the efficacy of drug court programs would be more effectively determined
                         by following up on participants and nonparticipants (i.e., eligible offenders
                         who chose not to participate) for some period after they leave the program
                         to see if they committed new crimes or relapsed into drug use. Overall, the
                         evaluation studies we reviewed showed some positive results but did not
                         firmly establish whether drug court programs were successful in reducing
                         drug relapse and offender recidivism. Many of the studies involved very
                         short follow-up periods. Some calculated relapse and/or recidivism rates
                         only for program participants, and only for the period during which they
                         were participating in the program. Others compared rates of recidivism or
                         relapse for program participants and program dropouts or with offenders
                         whose arrests occurred prior to the inception of the program.

                         Drug relapse was less frequently measured in these evaluation studies than
                         recidivism or rearrests and was only measured (by positive drug tests)



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                                        during the period of program participation. Relapse rates were sometimes
                                        calculated by taking the percentage of offenders tested who had one or
                                        more positive drug tests, and at other times by taking, for each group
                                        tested, the percentages of positive tests out of all tests taken or out of all
                                        tests scheduled. In one case, the percentage of offenders in each group
                                        testing positive in the month before sentencing was calculated. There was
                                        substantial variation across the studies that provided information on drug
                                        tests; some showed that fewer than 10 percent of drug tests were positive,
                                        or that less than 10 percent of participants tested positive, while others
                                        showed that as many as 80 percent of the offenders tested had positive
                                        tests.

                                        Recidivism rates were typically calculated by taking the percentage of
                                        offenders rearrested in a particular (and widely varying) period, but in one
                                        or two cases by taking the mean number of arrests or bench warrants per
                                        offender. Table 5.2 classifies each study according to whether it measured
                                        recidivism only for program participants or for participants and a
                                        comparison group of nonparticipants, and whether recidivism was
                                        measured only during program participation or after.


Table 5.2: Evaluation Studies Classified According to Whether They Included Comparison Groups and When They
Measured Recidivism
                                           Comparison group?                            Recidivism measured
Evaluation study           Yes                    No                        During program         After completion
Los Angeles County, CA                            x                                                x
  (Municipal Courts
  Planning and Research
  Unit, 1996)
Los Angeles County, CA                            x                         x
  (Deschenes and Torres,
  1996)
Broward County, FL                                x                         x
  (McNeece and Daly,
  1993)
Broward County, FL                                x                                                x
  (Commission Auditors
  Office, 1995)
Clark County, NV                                  x                                                x
  (Choices Unlimited Las
  Vegas, 1996)
                                                                                                                (continued)




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                                  Comparison group?                                       Recidivism measured
Evaluation study            Yes               No                           During program               After completion
Multnomah County                              x                            x
 S.T.O.P., OR,
 Drug Court
 Clearinghouse,
 American University,
 1994)
SODAT-Delaware                                x                            x
 (Reed,1995)
Maricopa County, AZ         x                                                                           x
 (Deschenes et al., 1996)
Oakland, CA, F.I.R.S.T.     x                                                                           x
 (Tauber, 1995)
Santa Clara County, CA      x                                              x
  (Peters, 1996)
Ventura County, CA          x                                              x
  (Oberg, 1996)
Denver, CO                  x                                              x
 (Granfield and Eby,
 1997)
D.C. Superior Drug          x                                              x
  Court
  (Harrell and Cavanagh,
  1996)
Broward County, FL          x                                                                           x
  (Terry, 1993; Terry,
  1996)
Dade County, FL             x                                              x
 (Smith, Davis, and
 Goretsky, 1991)
Dade County, FL             x                                                                           x
 (Goldkamp and
 Weiland, 1993)
Baltimore, MD               x                                                                           x
 (Gottfredson, Coblentz,
 and Harmon, 1996)
Jackson County, MO          x                                              x
  (Jameson and
  Peterson, 1995)
Travis County, TX           x                                                                           x
  (Kelly, 1996)

                                  Note: The Hillsborough County (FL) Court study did not measure recidivism. Program
                                  effectiveness was measured by asking participants about the program. All participants reported
                                  that they were satisfied, and 96 percent found the program to be effective.

                                  Source: GAO analysis of drug court program evaluation studies.




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Four of the studies looked at the effect of the program by assessing
outcomes during the program for participants, without providing
information on a comparison group of nonparticipants. The Los Angeles
County (CA) study by Deschenes and Torres found that a sample of
graduates and current participants gave high ratings to the program, and
self-reported lower rates of drug use and criminal behavior after entering
the program than before. The Broward County (FL) evaluation study by
McNeece and Daly indicated that of the roughly 1,000 offenders who
entered that program in 1992 (half of whom were still active), 11 percent
had been rearrested or incarcerated or had bench warrants issued for their
arrest, and that 52 (16 percent) of the 323 offenders tested for drugs had
tested positive on one or more occasions. The other two studies, the
SODAT-Delaware Program and the Multnomah County (OR) Program,
compared program participants or graduates with participants who had
been terminated and found that the participants or graduates had fewer
positive drug tests and/or rearrests or bench warrants issued during their
participation in the program than those terminated.

Three of the studies looked at the effect of the program by assessing
outcomes after the program for participants, without providing
information on a comparison group of nonparticipants. The Broward
County (FL) study by the Commission Auditor’s Office, which looked at
outcomes both during and after program completion, found that, for a
small sample of program graduates, positive drug tests declined with time
in treatment, and that, while 20 percent had been rearrested while
participating in the program, only 10 percent had been arrested after
graduating from the program. The Clark County (NV) study revealed that
only 6 percent of program graduates had been arrested on new charges
since their release, though the time at risk of rearrest for these graduates
was not clear. The Los Angeles County (CA) study by the Municipal Courts
Planning and Research Unit found that 11 percent of the program
graduates had been arrested after completing the program. Here too, it
was not clear how long they were at risk of rearrest.

Six of the studies looked at the effect of the program by assessing
outcomes during the program for participants and a comparison group of
nonparticipants. Five of the six studies measured rearrests; two of these
studies compared rearrests for participants to rearrests for offenders
eligible to participate who did not (the Santa Clara County and Ventura
County, CA, studies), and three of them made comparisons to groups of
offenders from earlier periods the Denver (CO) Drug Court study, the
Jackson County (MO) study, and the Dade County (FL) study by Smith, et



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                al.). Four of these five studies found lower rearrest rates among
                participants, while one study found no significant differences. One of
                these five studies (the Santa Clara County (CA) study) also reported fewer
                positive drug tests among the participants. At the time of our review, the
                sixth study, involving the D.C. Superior Court, did not measure rearrests.
                However, it found that participants randomly assigned to the drug court
                treatment program were less likely to test positive for drugs than those in
                the standard docket during the month before sentencing but more likely to
                test positive than a third group of offenders randomly assigned to a
                graduated sanctions docket.

                The remaining six studies all employed comparison groups and considered
                rearrests after program completion. Four of these studies found lower
                rearrest rates for program participants or graduates than for the
                comparison groups of nonparticipants, after 6 months (Baltimore City
                (MD)), 12 months (Travis County (TX)), 18 months (the Dade County (FL)
                report by Goldkamp and Weiland), and 3 years (the Oakland (CA)
                F.I.R.S.T. study). Two of them, however, found either no difference or
                small and probably insignificant differences, in one case after 12 months
                (Maricopa County (AZ)), and in the other case after 25 to 37 months (the
                Broward County (FL) report by Terry).


Program Costs   None of these studies included a systematic cost/benefit analysis.
                However, several of them indicated that the drug court programs accrued
                some savings and enabled traditional courts to better handle violent and
                other serious criminal offenders. Whether there are long-term savings will
                depend on how many of the drug court participants end up on probation
                or in prison after their participation.

                One of the Broward County (FL) Drug Court studies reported that the
                average treatment cost to produce program graduates ranged from $3,215
                to $5,834 and compared favorably to the cost of a typical 6-month jail
                sentence ($8,400). The Oakland (CA) (F.I.R.S.T.) Drug Court study
                reported that, largely because of the fewer days in custody spent by
                program participants, a conservative estimate of the savings to the county
                over the 3-year study period would be $3.0 million. The Denver (CO) Drug
                Court study estimated a savings of between $1.8 and $2.5 million per year
                due to decreased presentence confinement. The SODAT-Delaware Drug
                Court study reported that the cost of treating 219 drug offenders was
                equivalent to keeping 8 offenders in prison for 1 year. The Ventura County
                (CA) Drug Court Program, Multnomah County (OR) S.T.O.P. Program, and



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                      Jackson County (MO) Drug Court Program studies also suggested there
                      had been cost savings due to reduced incarceration costs. The only study
                      that provided information on costs and did not indicate that savings
                      resulted from the program was the Maricopa County (AZ) First Time Drug
                      Offender Program study, which concluded that the cost of program
                      participation was roughly comparable to the cost of standard probation.


                      DOJ and others in the drug court community have efforts ongoing that are
DOJ and Drug Court    expected to address some of the factors associated with existing studies
Community Efforts     that did not permit us to draw firm conclusions about the impact of drug
May Help to Provide   courts.

Some Definitive       Under Section 2209, Part V of the 1994 Violent Crime Act, the Attorney
Answers               General may make arrangements for evaluations of drug court programs
                      that receive grant support from DOJ’s DCPO. In carrying out this authority,
                      DOJ’s NIJ, in April 1997, issued a solicitation to fund two to four evaluations
                      of four of the oldest existing drug court programs. These evaluations of
                      specific drug court programs are intended to incorporate many of the
                      elements that we have found lacking in a number of the studies we
                      reviewed, including data on comparison groups of nonparticipants;
                      follow-up data; survey data to supplement rearrest records; and data on
                      program implementation, compliance, completion, and costs; and study
                      methods that are to control statistically for differences between program
                      participants and offenders in the comparison groups in assessing program
                      outcomes.

                      These evaluations of specific drug court programs are intended to take
                      place in two phases, with each phase lasting approximately 1 year. Topics
                      to be discussed under phase I include criminal recidivism, descriptive,
                      historical, and attitudinal data. During phase I, researchers are also
                      expected to develop detailed design plans for answering questions in
                      phase II. Topics to be discussed under phase II include participant
                      retention in treatment, changes in participants’ life circumstances and
                      productivity, and cost/benefit analysis. DOJ also plans for the scope of
                      these evaluations to include follow-up information on drug-use relapse of
                      program participants after completion or termination from the program.

                      In addition to the NIJ studies, as previously mentioned in chapter 4, DOJ’s
                      DCPO is developing an instrument to collect information from Violent
                      Crime Act funded drug court programs to help DOJ monitor their progress
                      in various areas, including the collection of follow-up and other data on



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              program participants. Furthermore, drug court community stakeholders
              have recognized the need for, and are taking some action to encourage the
              collection of, follow-up data for monitoring and doing future impact
              evaluations of drug courts.


              A substantial number of evaluation studies of drug court programs have
Conclusions   been done. However, due to the newness of the programs at the time of
              the evaluations; the diversity in the programs; and the differences and
              limitations in the objectives, scopes, and methodologies of these studies,
              we cannot draw any firm conclusions from our evaluation synthesis on the
              overall impact/effectiveness of drug courts. For the same reasons, we
              cannot reach firm conclusions about specific aspects of drug court
              programs or specific questions about program participants. The studies we
              reviewed varied in terms of the amount of information they provided and
              showed varied results about the impact of drug court programs in general,
              as well as with regard to the specific issues raised by Congress about
              program operations and participants. Some studies showed positive
              effects of the drug court programs during the period offenders
              participated in them, while others showed no effects, or effects that were
              mixed, and difficult to interpret. Similarly, some studies showed positive
              effects for offenders after completing the programs, while others showed
              no effects, or small and insignificant effects. Drug relapse was less
              frequently evaluated in these studies than rearrests, and estimates of
              relapse rates varied substantially. None of the studies, however, showed
              any adverse effect from participation in the drug treatment program.

              As we noted above, some variation in the results of these studies might be
              due to the differences in how the studies were conducted. It is also
              possible, however, that variation in results across different drug court
              programs may result from the fact that drug court programs target
              different populations, operate differently, and some are more successful in
              producing positive outcomes than others. We believe that, until follow-up
              data on relapse and criminal recidivism for participants and
              nonparticipants are collected across a broad range of programs, it will not
              be possible to respond to issues raised by Congress and others or to reach
              firm conclusions about whether drug court programs work, or whether
              some work better than others. With such data, and additional data on
              program operations and treatment characteristics, researchers would be in
              a better position to rigorously analyze how drug court program outcomes
              are affected by participant and program characteristics.




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As discussed in chapter 4, although most drug court programs reported
that they had the capability to demonstrate adequate program
management through ongoing monitoring and tracking of program
operations and that they were maintaining most of the data DOJ, CSAT, and
the NADCP Drug Court Standards Committee suggested they maintain,
nearly half of the programs were not maintaining follow-up data on
rearrests, and about two-thirds were not maintaining data on relapse. In
addition, many of the evaluation studies we reviewed did not include
follow-up information on rearrest and none on relapse after participants
left the program, including some that were federally funded. Many of them
also lacked comparative data on similar offenders who did not participate
in the program. Without such data, it will be difficult to draw conclusions
in the future on the overall impact of drug court programs and their effect
on program participants.

We recognize the difficulties inherent in collecting follow-up data on
criminal recidivism and particularly drug relapse, as well as comparable
data on nonparticipants. Drug court program participants, and comparable
nonparticipants, may move to other jurisdictions following the completion
of the program, or after completing their sentence, and may be difficult to
follow. Neither group can be expected to volunteer for drug tests to
determine relapse after they have left the court’s purview, and arrests for
new drug offenses are fallible measures of drug relapse (since not all drug
offenses or criminal offenses generally result in arrests), just as arrests are
fallible indicators of criminal recidivism in general. Ultimately, drug court
programs may have to be quite innovative in their strategies for collecting
such data and may need to resort to sampling and surveying participants
and nonparticipants. The more that different sources of data are brought
to bear on the question of drug court efficacy, the more likely firm
conclusions can be made about those questions.

We also recognize that the need for and benefits of having data must be
balanced against the cost of collecting and maintaining it, as well as
against any logistical and legal implications, including existing statutory
limitations. Nevertheless, if meaningful impact evaluations are to be done
in the future on the growing number of drug courts, more of them must
collect and maintain data on factors affecting program operations and
outcomes, including data on participants after they leave the program.
Further, whether drug court programs are effective would be
demonstrated more definitively by following up on participants and
nonparticipants (i.e., eligible offenders who chose not to participate) for




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                      some period after they leave the program to see if they committed new
                      crimes or relapsed into drug use.

                      In addition to its planned evaluations of selected drug court programs, DOJ,
                      in conjunction with various stakeholders in the drug court community as
                      noted in chapter 4, is undertaking efforts that are expected to address
                      some of the factors associated with existing studies that did not enable us
                      to draw firm conclusions. However, the outcomes of these efforts and any
                      future evaluations of drug court programs may be hindered by the lack of
                      available follow-up data. Drug court programs currently are not required
                      to collect such data, and studies of drug court programs generally are not
                      required to assess participants’ postprogram recidivism or drug relapse or
                      compare participants with similar nonparticipants. Moreover, certain
                      statutory restrictions may limit DOJ’s authority to require drug court
                      programs receiving funding from formula or block grants to collect critical
                      follow-up data.


                      To help ensure more effective management and evaluation of drug court
Recommendations       programs, we recommend that the Attorney General and the Secretary of
                      HHS


                  •   require drug court programs funded by discretionary grants administered
                      by DOJ and HHS to collect and maintain follow-up data on program
                      participants’ criminal recidivism and, to the extent feasible, follow-up data
                      on drug use relapse; and
                  •   require drug court programs funded by formula or block grants
                      administered by DOJ and HHS, to the extent permitted by law, to collect and
                      maintain follow-up data on program participants’ criminal recidivism and,
                      to the extent feasible, follow-up data on drug use relapse. Where no
                      statutory authority exists to impose such requirements, we recommend
                      that DOJ and HHS include in their respective grant guidelines language to
                      suggest that drug court programs funded by these sources similarly collect
                      and maintain such data.

                      To better ensure that conclusions about the impact of drug court programs
                      on participants’ criminal recidivism and/or drug use relapse can be drawn,
                      we recommend that the Attorney General, the Secretary of HHS, and the
                      Executive Director of SJI require that the scope of future impact
                      evaluations of drug court programs funded by their respective agencies
                      include an assessment of program participants’ postprogram criminal




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                     recidivism and drug use relapse and, whenever feasible, compare drug
                     court participants with similar nonparticipants.


                     Agencies and other organizations commenting on a draft of our report
Agency Comments      generally agreed with our findings, conclusions, and recommendations
and Our Evaluation   relating to the collection and maintenance of follow-up data on program
                     participants and impact evaluations of these programs. However, DOJ, SJI,
                     and NADCP raised some concerns with our recommendations.

                     DOJ expressed concerns about its ability to impose mandatory
                     requirements on congressionally authorized entitlement grants—formula
                     or block grant programs. DOJ said that drug courts are among many
                     programs that can be funded under the BJA Byrne formula block grant and
                     Local Law Enforcement Block Grants programs. Although BJA requires an
                     evaluation component for all programs funded through formula grants and
                     supports these efforts through an array of policies and practices, BJA does
                     not have statutory authority to compel states to collect specific program
                     data or to evaluate any particular program or programs.

                     Given DOJ’s concerns about its authority, we have modified our
                     recommendations for data collection and maintenance to accommodate
                     any statutory limitations that may be associated with formula and block
                     grant programs. In response to DOJ’s comment relating to drug court
                     program evaluations, we modified our recommendation to make it clear
                     that we are recommending that DOJ require the scope of any evaluations of
                     drug court programs funded by grants administered by DOJ to include an
                     assessment of program participants’ postprogram drug relapse and
                     criminal recidivism and not that DOJ require drug court programs or states
                     to evaluate such outcomes.

                     Similarly, SJI expressed concerns about its ability to impose requirements
                     on programs for which it only provides short-term funding, commenting
                     that there are practical limitations associated with how much of the
                     recommended information can be collected under any SJI grant. SJI officials
                     noted that they have sponsored two ongoing drug court program
                     evaluations that are attempting to collect short-term recidivism data, but
                     commented that obtaining a more thorough and meaningful assessment of
                     recidivism and relapse data would require a much longer grant period and,
                     accordingly, a much larger grant than SJI resources permit.




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We acknowledge SJI’s efforts to collect short-term recidivism data.
However, adequately designed evaluation studies should enable longer
term recidivism and drug use relapse data to be obtained by assessing
postprogram outcomes of drug court participants who have already
completed a drug court program(s). Such an approach should better
enable evaluators receiving short-term funding to gather more long-term
research data without having to monitor or follow the progress of
currently enrolled program participants and then subsequently assessing
the outcome of the participants 12 to 24 months after completing the
program.

SJI also notes that once a grant-supported project ends, SJI can encourage
the jurisdiction operating the drug court to maintain the requisite data, but
it no longer has the authority to require it. We are not recommending that
SJI require any drug court program and/or jurisdiction funded by an SJI
grant to collect or maintain follow-up data on drug court program
participants. Rather, we recommend that SJI require that the scope of any
future impact evaluations of drug court programs that are funded by SJI
grants include postprogram data on criminal recidivism and drug use
relapse, which we deem to be critical elements to providing Congress and
other interested parties with answers to questions relating to drug court
program impact and effectiveness.

DOJ and NADCP also indicated that one of the difficulties associated with
our recommendation that evaluations of drug court programs include
follow-up data and comparison groups is the lack of ongoing technical
assistance and sufficient resources available to drug court programs to
enable them to develop the capacity for data collection and program
evaluation. NADCP stated that drug court programs and courts in general
often lack the resources, funding, and expertise to both collect and
evaluate program data and pointed out that it will be necessary either to
provide funding for professionally implemented evaluations or to assist
local jurisdictions in developing the capabilities to do them. DOJ noted that
ongoing technical assistance and guidance in the area of data collection
and evaluation are greatly needed in the drug court community and that
DOJ must address these technical assistance needs if drug court programs
are to be expected to develop the capacity for data collection and to
produce effective impact evaluations. DOJ reiterated that it has taken a
number of steps to develop the capacity for data collection and evaluation
among its drug court grantees, and DOJ stated that it will work with
Congress to increase its funding for technical assistance.




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Although we identified various sources of technical assistance available to
the drug court community and guidelines suggesting that certain data on
program participants be collected, maintained, and made available for
future impact evaluations, we did not systematically review and cannot
comment on the sufficiency and adequacy of technical assistance and
related resources that are currently being provided to drug court programs
or research evaluators planning to do future impact studies.

NADCP   and the Drug Court Clearinghouse also commented that, while it
may be too early to reach firm conclusions, results from our survey and
evaluation synthesis in their views permit a more positive conclusion
about drug court programs than we arrive at in our report. NADCP stated
that the data from our survey, from the evaluation studies we reviewed,
and from more recent unpublished preliminary findings involving the
Maricopa County (AZ) and D.C. Superior Court drug court programs, were
consistent with a preliminary finding that drug court programs are having
a positive impact. As evidence of this, NADCP offered information on (1) the
numbers of studies, overall and among those that employed comparison
groups, that showed positive results; (2) the numbers of studies that
reported cost savings; and (3) the retention and completion rates derived
from our survey, which NADCP asserts favorably compare with other
programs in the treatment community. The Drug Court Clearinghouse
pointed out that the average retention rate for drug court program
participants, resulting from our survey of 134 operating programs, is
significantly higher than program retention rates noted for nondrug court
program participants and that the average completion rate, also coming
from our survey of these programs, is more than twice that encountered in
traditional treatment programs. The Drug Court Clearinghouse also noted
that it is important to draw on additional evaluative measures to assess
societal benefits drug court programs are achieving in addition to
reductions in recidivism and drug usage. As evidence, the Drug Court
Clearinghouse stated that over 400 drug-free babies have been reportedly
born to drug court program participants; that families have been reunified,
including situations in which former drug-using parents have regained
custody of their children; and that drug court program graduates are
required to have at least a high school diploma or general equivalency
degree certificate.

We note in this report that many of the studies we reviewed provide
positive evidence of the merits of drug court programs. We do not believe,
however, that all of these studies are equally sophisticated in their design
and methods, or that the results of these studies can be simply summed to



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provide firm conclusions. Many of these studies are lacking in comparison
groups, and those that include them are often lacking in necessary
statistical controls between groups compared, or lacking follow-up data.
Therefore, we continue to believe that the shortcomings associated with
many of the evaluations of drug court programs that have been done
provide good reasons for withholding final judgment on the overall
effectiveness of drug court programs and aspects of the program until
more and better data are collected and additional evaluation studies are
completed.




Page 91                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix I

Flowchart of Two Drug Court Approaches



                             Deferred prosecution                  Postadjudication
                                                          Arrest


                                    Defendant                       Defendant
                                    charged                         charged, tried,
                                    and diverted                    and found or
                                    to drug court                   pleads guilty




                                    Defendant                      Sentence
                                    appears                        deferred or
                                    before                         pronounced -
                                    drug court                     incarcation
                                    judge                          suspended




                                    Judge refers                   Drug court
                                    defendant to                   judge refers
                                    treatment                      defendant to
                                    program                        treatment
                                                                   program




                                     Judge                          Judge
                                     conducts                       conducts
                                     status                         status
                                     hearings                       hearings
                                                  a
                                     periodically                   periodically a




  Defendant
                                                                                                         Sentence
  tried and, if
                  No   Defendant                                                      Defendant     No   imposed
  convicted,
  sentence             graduates?                                                     graduates?



                              Yes                                                           Yes


                       Judge                                                          Charge
                       dismisses                                                      dismissed
                       charges                                                        or sentence
                                                                                      reduced




                                                      Page 92                                            GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix I
Flowchart of Two Drug Court Approaches




a
 Judges may reward progress and impose sanctions for noncompliance with program
requirements.
Source: Drug Court Clearinghouse.




Page 93                                           GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix II

Survey of Drug Court Programs




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Survey of Drug Court Programs




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Survey of Drug Court Programs




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Survey of Drug Court Programs




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Survey of Drug Court Programs




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Survey of Drug Court Programs




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Survey of Drug Court Programs




Page 100                        GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix III

Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
Assessment of Available Evaluations of Drug
Court Programs
Maricopa County First
Time Drug Offender
Program (Deschenes
et al., 1996)
Program Start Date         1992.

Participant Restrictions   The program was limited to first-time offenders convicted of drug
                           possession or use (not selling) and sentenced to 3 years of probation.
                           Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: (1) the drug
                           court program, which involved testing, treatment, and sanctions;
                           (2) standard probation with no drug testing; (3) standard probation with
                           random monthly drug tests; and (4) standard probation with testing
                           scheduled biweekly.

Participation Rate         Participation was determined by random assignment. Of the 176 persons
                           assigned to the drug court program, only 19 (11 percent) never received
                           the drug court program.

Program Length             Six to 12 months.

Program Costs              The drug treatment court program costs were similar to the costs of
                           standard probation, which were estimated at $2,795 per offender per year;
                           the original first-time drug offender drug court cost was $2,541 per
                           offender per year, but under a new contract with Maricopa County Adult
                           Probation, it increased to $2,926 per offender per year.

Treatment Components       The drug court program was designed to include status hearings before
                           the drug court judge every 2 months, but the judge could increase or
                           decrease the frequency of hearings at each hearing. It was also designed to
                           include at least one drug test per month, though anecdotal evidence
                           suggests that tests were not done on a scheduled basis, and averaged one
                           test every 2 months. The treatment program consisted of three phases
                           (orientation, stabilization, and transition) and included drug education,
                           social skills training, relapse prevention, and attendance at 12-step
                           meetings and process group meetings.

Graduation Rate            At the end of 12 months, 18 percent were still active in the program;
                           among those not still active, 49 percent had graduated and were
                           discharged from the program. The primary reasons for failing to complete




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                       Appendix III
                       Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                       Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                       Drug Court Programs




                       the program were technical violations, new arrests, bench warrants, and
                       absconding. Some of the offenders with technical violations or arrests may
                       have returned to the program later, as technical violations and arrests do
                       not necessarily mean they were terminated from the program.

Evaluation             Our 1995 report1 described an earlier version of this evaluation, which at
                       that time involved a 6-month follow-up and showed no significant
                       differences across groups in rearrest rates and technical violations. This
                       evaluation shows similar differences (or lack of differences) after 12
                       months. Thirty-one percent of the drug court program group had been
                       rearrested versus 30 percent to 37 percent in the standard probation
                       groups. Thirty-nine percent of the drug court program group were involved
                       in technical violations versus 40 percent to 55 percent in the standard
                       probation groups. While the likelihood of at least one technical violation
                       did not differ across groups, the average number of technical violations for
                       the drug court group was lower than for the other three groups. Roughly
                       half of the offenders in each group involving drug tests tested positive at
                       least once over the 12-month period.

Assessment             The design here, involving random assignment to groups that varied in
                       terms of testing and treatment, is quite strong. These results, especially
                       those involving recidivism, fail to establish strong effects of testing and
                       treatment. Part of the reason for this may be due to the fact that the
                       various programs were not always implemented as designed.



Los Angeles County
Drug Courts (Los
Angeles County
Municipal Courts
Planning and
Research Unit, 1996)
Program Start Date     Los Angeles Municipal Court, May 1994; Rio Hondo Municipal Court, July
                       1994; Pasadena Municipal Court, May 1995; and Santa Monica Unified
                       Municipal and Superior Court, January 1996.




                       1
                        GGD-95-159BR.




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                           Appendix III
                           Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                           Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                           Drug Court Programs




Participant Restrictions   The drug court program was restricted to nonviolent felony drug
                           offenders. Defendants charged with drug trafficking or sales, or who had
                           prior convictions for those offenses, were not eligible.

Participation Rate         Participation was voluntary. No information was provided on the
                           percentage of eligible offenders who chose to participate.

Program Length             At least 12 months.

Program Costs              No information was provided.

Treatment Components       Program participants made frequent appearances before a designated
                           judicial officer and were subject to random drug testing. The three-phase
                           treatment program included individual and group counseling, attendance
                           at 12-step programs such as NA, and vocational and educational guidance.

Graduation Rate            Between May 1994 and June 1996, 413 offenders were admitted to the drug
                           court program. One hundred sixteen offenders were still in the program.
                           Of the remaining 297 offenders, 86 (29 percent) graduated, and the others
                           were terminated. Married participants and participants between the ages
                           of 40 and 49 were the most likely to complete the program. Information
                           provided in the report suggests that terminations were more frequent in
                           1994 than in 1995 and 1996. Dismissal from the program resulted in
                           reinstatement of the original criminal charges and prosecution.

Evaluation                 No information was provided on drug relapse, and no comparisons are
                           made to program nonparticipants. To describe recidivism, the report
                           compares the first 47 defendants who graduated from the Los Angeles
                           Drug Court program to a group of 47 defendants who were terminated
                           from the program. Five of the 47 (11 percent) graduates had been
                           rearrested, compared to 30 of the 47 (64 percent) offenders who were
                           terminated.

Assessment                 Comparisons of graduates and nongraduates are of limited value. This
                           particular comparison is difficult to assess because no information was
                           provided on whether the two groups were at risk of rearrest for the same
                           amount of time and whether rearrest was a factor in terminations.




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                           Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                           Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                           Drug Court Programs




Los Angeles County
Drug Courts
(Deschenes and
Torres, 1996)
Program Start Date         See Planning and Research Unit report, 1996 (above).

Participant Restrictions   See Planning and Research Unit report, 1996 (above).

Participation Rate         Like the Planning and Research Unit report, 1996 (above), this report
                           notes that the program was voluntary, but provides no information on the
                           percentage of eligible offenders who chose to participate.

Program Length             While the Los Angeles County Municipal Courts Planning and Research
                           Unit report on these same drug courts indicates that the program length
                           was 12 months, this report indicates that the treatment might have been as
                           short as 6 months. See Planning and Research Unit Report, 1996 (above).

Program Costs              No information was provided.

Treatment Components       See Planning and Research Unit report, 1996 (above).

Graduation Rate            This report states that 504 offenders were admitted to the 4 Los Angeles
                           County drug courts between May 1994 and May 1996. It does not disclose
                           how many offenders were participating at the time the report was written,
                           nor does it allow an accurate estimate of graduation rates. It does note
                           that there were 64 graduates at the time the study began and that the
                           termination rate was relatively high. It also notes that there were a myriad
                           of sanctions available for program noncompliance, that sanctions were
                           progressive, and that all four courts seemed to be tolerant of relapse
                           among participants.

Evaluation                 This evaluation looks at a subsample of 35 individuals from among 79
                           current program participants and 16 graduates interviewed by the authors.
                           Self-reported drug use and criminal behavior were found to be
                           significantly higher in an unspecified number of months before entering
                           the program than after entering the program. Also, both graduates and
                           current participants gave high ratings to the drug court program.




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                           Appendix III
                           Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                           Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                           Drug Court Programs




Assessment                 The sample employed here is primarily representative of current program
                           participants, and the number of graduates for whom data were collected
                           (n = 16) is too small to generalize. The evidence provided is preliminary,
                           based on potentially biased self-reports, and insufficient to establish
                           program effectiveness.



Oakland (F.I.R.S.T.)
Drug Court (Tauber,
1995)
Program Start Date         Fall 1990.

Participant Restrictions   The program targeted felony drug defendants. There was no information
                           about whether certain offenders were excluded.

Participation Rate         Participation in drug diversion was statutorily mandated for defendants in
                           California who were eligible. In January and February of 1991, 87 percent
                           of defendants referred were granted diversion.

Program Length             The diversion term was 24 months, and the treatment component of the
                           diversion program appeared to involve roughly 5 months.

Program Costs              This report states that a conservative estimate of savings to Alameda
                           County law enforcement agencies during the 3-year study period would be
                           $3,000,000. Two-thirds of this savings was accounted for by the 33,869
                           fewer days in custody spent by program participants. Also noted was that
                           the County Sheriff’s Department was able to rent unused jail cells to San
                           Francisco and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service at $60.80
                           per day.

Treatment Components       The program consisted of three phases: phase 1 (3 days) involved
                           diversion placement, phase 2 (2 months) involved intensive evaluation and
                           supervision, and phase 3 (3 months) involved supervision and treatment.
                           During phase 2, offenders were required to attend five group probation
                           sessions, take three urine tests with negative results, and attend four drug
                           education and one AIDS class. During phase 3, offenders were required to
                           attend eight group probation sessions and to meet individually with the
                           probation officer twice, to take four urine tests with negative results, and
                           to participate in community counseling for 8 weeks.




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                           Appendix III
                           Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                           Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                           Drug Court Programs




Graduation Rate            Fifty-four percent of a sample of drug court program participants admitted
                           during 1991 successfully completed the program and earned diversion
                           dismissals. The only reason indicated for program failure was failure to
                           appear for report hearings, which could be sanctioned by incarceration for
                           at least 1 week, after which the participant was reinstated. Only two
                           reinstatements were permitted before termination from the program.
                           Terminees had criminal proceedings reinstated.

Evaluation                 The first 110 defendants referred to the F.I.R.S.T. Diversion Program in
                           January and February of 1991 were compared to the first 110 defendants
                           referred to diversion between January and March of 1990, before the
                           F.I.R.S.T. Program. Relapse rates are not reported, but after 3 years the
                           average number of new felony arrests per defendant was 44 percent lower
                           for the F.I.R.S.T. Program participants (.75 per defendant versus 1.33 per
                           defendant), and the average number of days in custody on felony offenses
                           was 44 percent lower as well (44 days versus 78 days).

Assessment                 While the length of follow-up is considerably higher here than in most
                           studies, it is not clear how similar the two groups of divertees being
                           compared were on characteristics relevant to recidivism, and there was no
                           information on drug relapse.



Santa Clara County
Drug Treatment Court
(Peters, 1996)
Program Start Date         September 1995.

Participant Restrictions   The program included both felony and misdemeanor narcotics offenders,
                           and targeted offenders with a lengthy history of substance abuse and
                           criminal involvement, and a history of unsuccessful abuse treatment or
                           lack of prior treatment. Violent offenders and offenders with other
                           pending cases were excluded.

Participation Rate         Participation was voluntary; the percentage of eligible offenders who
                           chose to participate is not indicated.

Program Length             Twelve months.

Program Costs              No information was provided.



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                           Appendix III
                           Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                           Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                           Drug Court Programs




Treatment Components       Participants appeared before the treatment court team “frequently” and
                           were subject to drug tests on a “frequent” basis. (Specific times or
                           intervals are not specified.) Both residential and outpatient treatment were
                           provided, and treatment included counseling and therapy, educational and
                           vocational training, and acupuncture.

Graduation Rate            This preliminary study was done 9 months after the beginning of the
                           program. Eighty-seven percent were still participating. No offenders had
                           graduated. Offenders could be terminated for positive drug tests; sanctions
                           for those who failed to complete the program were not specified.

Evaluation                 In considering rearrests, 87 treatment court participants were compared to
                           24 randomly selected defendants who were eligible to participate but
                           declined. None of the treatment court participants were rearrested after 9
                           months, compared to 21 percent of the comparison group. These same two
                           groups were compared with respect to real jail time served during the 9
                           months; treatment participants averaged 56 days, while the comparison
                           group averaged 122 days. Treatment court participants were also
                           compared to defendants under formal probation and in intensive
                           supervision, electronic monitoring supervision, and general supervision
                           over a 3-month period, with respect to drug relapse rates. In the treatment
                           group, 7 percent of drug tests were positive. Among formal probationers,
                           the percentage of positive drug tests ranged from 14 percent (intensive
                           supervision) to 28 percent (general supervision).

Assessment                 While these results appear promising, the small number of drug court
                           participants (87), the smaller number in the control group (24), and the
                           short time of follow-up (9 months), preclude firm conclusions about the
                           effect of the drug court on recidivism. Moreover, the fact that no drug
                           court participants had been rearrested results partly from the fact that
                           participants who were terminated from the program as a result of
                           rearrests (3 percent of participants) were excluded from the comparison.



Ventura County Drug
Court (Oberg, 1996)
Program Start Date         April 1995.

Participant Restrictions   Nonviolent offenders charged with a misdemeanor drug offense.




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Participation Rate     Participation was voluntary. The percentage of eligible offenders who
                       chose to participate is not indicated. The report states that drug court
                       offenders were similar, demographically and in terms of drug offenses
                       committed, to the comparison group of offenders who applied for
                       entrance into the drug court program but were not accepted.

Program Length         Twelve months.

Program Costs          No systematic cost/benefit analysis is provided, but the study reports that
                       “as of April 1, 1996, participants in the program have been ordered to serve
                       a total of 4,981 days in custody, resulting in a savings of 4,839 days and a
                       tremendous cost savings in incarceration costs.” (p. 24.)2

Treatment Components   Offenders appeared before the drug court judge monthly, met with
                       probation officers on a regular basis, and submitted to random drug tests.
                       The treatment phase of the program lasted about 8 months and involved
                       counseling and attendance at AA/NA meetings. Both residential and
                       outpatient treatments were employed.

Graduation Rate        This report evaluated the first 8 months of a 12-month program, so none of
                       the offenders had graduated. Of the 75 offenders accepted into the
                       program between April and December 1995, 26 (35 percent) had been
                       terminated. Terminations resulted from new crime charges, three dirty
                       urine samples, and other acts of noncompliance with program guidelines.
                       Terminees served their sentences. Males and Hispanics were reportedly
                       less likely to complete the program.

Evaluation             Of the 966 drug tests submitted by the 75 drug court participants during
                       the first 8 months of the program, 86 (9 percent) were positive. In terms of
                       recidivism, 9 of the 75 drug court participants (12 percent) were rearrested
                       during the 8-month period. By comparison, over the same period,
                       32 percent of a control group of offenders who had applied for but not
                       been accepted into the drug court program were rearrested. The report
                       also notes that fewer of the arrests of drug court offenders involved
                       drug-related offenses (58 percent versus 75 percent in the control group).

Assessment             While these results are positive, they are restricted to offenders who were
                       still in the program and offer no information on what recidivism and
                       relapse looked like after program completion. Also, it is not clear whether
                       the drug court offenders and the control group were similar with respect
                       to time at risk of rearrest.

                       2
                        Page references in this appendix refer to pages in the specific evaluation study cited.



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Denver Drug Court
(Granfield and Eby,
1997)
Program Start Date         July 1994.

Participant Restrictions   This report does not indicate what types of offenders were included or
                           excluded from the drug court program.

Participation Rate         The drug court was established in response to Colorado House Bill
                           91-1173, which mandated that all persons convicted under the Controlled
                           Substances Act be evaluated for substance abuse. It appears that
                           participation in the drug court program was mandatory.

Program Length             Twenty-four months.

Program Costs              The report states that the Denver Drug Court had reduced case processing
                           time by more than half, and significantly reduced the amount of time
                           offenders spent in presentence confinement. “At an average of $60 per day
                           in jail, the court is saving between $360 to $840 on each drug offender.
                           Multiplying these individual savings by the total dollar value saved for
                           3,000 drug offenders brings the total savings to between $1.8 to
                           $2.5 million per year.” (p. 32.)

Treatment Components       Treatment was individualized, based on offenders’ drug use patterns and
                           levels of criminal risk. Treatment varied across seven levels. Level 1
                           involved judicial supervision but no treatment; level 2 involved the use of
                           education and intense urine testing; level 3 entailed weekly outpatient
                           treatment and acupuncture; level 4 required intensive outpatient
                           treatment, including group therapy; level 5 required intensive residential
                           treatment; level 6 required the use of therapeutic communities; and level 7
                           involved intensified surveillance but no treatment. Most participants in the
                           program fell into the first 5 categories. Offenders appeared “frequently” in
                           front of the drug court judge. The frequency with which they were
                           required to submit to drug tests is not indicated.

Graduation Rate            This report does not indicate the numbers or percentages of offenders
                           who graduated from the program.

Evaluation                 A random sample of 100 drug court defendants from December 1994 to
                           March 1995 was compared to two control groups, consisting of 100



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                           subjects each, from predrug court years 1992/1993 and 1993/1994.
                           Twenty-two percent of drug court offenders, compared to 15 percent and
                           14 percent of the 1992/1993 and 1993/1994 offenders, had revocations for
                           violations of probation after 6 months, and 58 percent of drug court
                           offenders, compared to 53 percent and 58 percent of the 1992/1993 and
                           1993/1994 offenders, were rearrested in 12 months. None of these
                           differences were statistically significant.

Assessment                 Data for the evaluation were for participants who had not had time to
                           complete the program, and the short follow-up time precluded firm
                           conclusions.



D.C. Superior Court
Drug Intervention
Program (Harrell and
Cavanagh, 1996)
Program Start Date         1992.

Participant Restrictions   Drug felony defendants, some of whom had an extensive history of arrests
                           and convictions and faced high risks of incarceration if convicted, were
                           randomly assigned to one of three dockets: (1) the treatment docket,
                           which included regular drug testing, judicial monitoring of drug use, and
                           “intensive day treatment”; (2) the sanctions docket, which included drug
                           testing, judicial monitoring of drug use, and referrals to treatment; and
                           (3) the standard docket, which included drug testing and judicial
                           monitoring. The report offers no information about whether violent
                           offenders, or other types of offenders, were excluded from the program.

Participation Rate         Participation in the treatment and sanctions dockets was voluntary. Of
                           offenders who were sentenced before October 15, 1996, 37 percent of
                           eligible offenders chose to participate in the treatment docket, and
                           75 percent chose to participate in the sanctions docket. Participants in the
                           sanctions docket were older than participants in the treatment docket and
                           the standard docket. Participants in the treatment docket were less likely
                           to be male and employed than nonparticipants; participants in the
                           sanctions docket were more likely to be older, unemployed, and stronger
                           drug users than nonparticipants.




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Program Length         The six-stage treatment program for offenders in the treatment docket
                       lasted at least 6 months, depending on the speed with which offenders met
                       the criteria for progressing to the next stage. On average, offenders in the
                       sanctions docket were in the program for 5 months.

Program Costs          No information was provided.

Treatment Components   Offenders in the sanctions and standard dockets were tested for drugs
                       twice weekly, and those in the treatment docket were tested three times
                       weekly. All dockets involved judicial monitoring, but how often offenders
                       appeared before the judge is not indicated. The daily treatment for all
                       treatment docket participants included acupuncture, structured treatment
                       activities, and additional support services. Thirty percent of the offenders
                       in the sanctions docket were referred to community-based treatment,
                       though the nature of the treatment they received is not described.
                       Seventy-four percent of the sanctions docket offenders were sanctioned
                       during their participation; 71 percent spent 3 days in the jury box,
                       44 percent spent 3 days in jail, 30 percent were sent to detoxification, and
                       14 percent spent a week or longer in jail.

Graduation Rate        Nineteen percent of the 88 offenders who entered the treatment docket
                       graduated from it. The large majority of the offenders who did not
                       complete the program were rearrested, discharged for lack of progress, or
                       dropped out. Sixty-five percent of the 194 sanctions docket program
                       participants remained in the program until sentencing. Terminees were
                       either doing poorly in the program or rearrested.

Evaluation             The program was a pretrial program, which was evaluated in terms of the
                       likelihood of offenders assigned to the three dockets testing clean in the
                       month before sentencing. Twenty percent of the defendants assigned to
                       the treatment docket, 32 percent of the defendants assigned to the
                       sanctions docket, and 13 percent of the defendants assigned to the
                       standard docket tested clean. Multivariate analysis reveals that sanctions
                       program participants were four times as likely to test clean in the month
                       before sentencing as standard program participants, while treatment
                       program participants were twice as likely. Differences between offenders
                       who chose not to participate in the treatment and sanctions dockets and
                       those participating in the standard docket were not significant.

Assessment             While the multivariate analysis undertaken here is as sophisticated as any
                       we uncovered, the outcome is restricted to relapse in 1 month, and does
                       not take into account whether program participants graduated from the



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                           programs they were participating in. The authors note too that the
                           apparent positive effect of sanctions may entirely disappear once
                           defendants are not facing sentencing.



Broward County Drug
Court (Terry, 1993;
Terry, 1996)
Program Start Date         July 1991.

Participant Restrictions   The program targeted first-time offenders arrested for possession or
                           purchase of cocaine. It excluded violent offenders, offenders involved in
                           drug trafficking, and offenders with prior drug or felony arrests, or prior
                           felony arrests or convictions that resulted in (a) disposition by
                           adjudication and sentence, (b) probation, or (c) participation in pretrial
                           intervention. It also excluded offenders with prior felony charges who had
                           appeals pending at the time of their current arrest.

Participation Rate         Participation was voluntary. The percentage of eligible offenders who
                           chose to participate was not indicated. The average age of program
                           participants was slightly higher than for all persons arrested for drug
                           offenses in the county, and participants were somewhat more likely than
                           all persons arrested for drugs to be female and white.

Program Length             Twelve months.

Program Costs              No information was provided.

Treatment Components       The treatment program consisted of three phases (phase I = 3 weeks,
                           phase II = 23 weeks, phase III = 26 weeks), which varied in terms of
                           treatment type and intensity. Offenders appeared at probation monthly
                           and submitted to urine tests five times per week during phase I and three
                           times per week during phase II. Treatment included group and individual
                           therapy, fellowship meetings, and acupuncture.

Graduation Rate            Seven hundred eighty-seven persons entered the program in its first year;
                           307 (39 percent) graduated. Many offenders failed to complete the
                           program because the cases against them were dropped, they were
                           transferred to other districts, they requested trials or regular probation, or
                           they no longer met eligibility criteria. No clear information is provided on



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                           how many offenders failed to complete the program due to program
                           noncompliance, nor whether they faced sanctions. The report notes,
                           however, that almost two-thirds of the program noncompleters left
                           because the state attorney decided to drop the case against them.

Evaluation                 The evaluation compares rearrest rates for persons who were admitted to
                           and graduated from the program in its first year and to persons who met
                           the eligibility requirements of the program but did not participate. After 25
                           to 37 months since entering the program, 39 percent of the persons
                           admitted, 25 percent of the graduates, and 30 percent of the
                           nonparticipants had been rearrested for a new felony. Fifty percent of the
                           persons admitted, 48 percent of the graduates, and 43 percent of the
                           nonparticipants had been rearrested for a new felony or misdemeanor.
                           Some differences in the types of offenses committed were found, with
                           treatment graduates being somewhat less likely than nonparticipants to be
                           rearrested for new drug offenses and violent offenses. There were also
                           some differences in the timing of arrests between groups.

Assessment                 There is no systematic evaluation of treatment effects in terms of drug
                           relapse in this study, though the 1993 report indicated that 79 percent of
                           the persons who graduated from the program or were still active in it had
                           at least one positive cocaine test. The lack of significance tests and
                           possibility of selection bias in the report makes it difficult to evaluate the
                           rearrest differences presented.



Broward County Drug
Court (Commission
Auditor’s Office, 1995)
Program Start Date         See Terry, 1996 (above).

Participant Restrictions   See Terry, 1996 (above).

Participation Rate         Participation was voluntary. The percentage of eligible offenders who
                           chose to participate during the 3 years (July 1, 1991, through
                           September 30, 1994) covered by this report is not clearly indicated, but it
                           appears that as many as 27 percent of offenders may have declined
                           treatment.

Program Length             See Terry, 1996 (above).



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Program Costs              This report indicates that the cost to complete the 12-month drug court
                           program ranged from $3,215 to $5,834 (with the treatment portion of this
                           cost ranging from $247 to $449 per month). The report’s authors offered,
                           as a point of reference, the cost of a 6-month jail sentence, which was
                           $8,400.

Treatment Components       See Terry, 1996 (above). This report states that the extent of treatment
                           may have been overstated due to the ongoing failure of defendants to
                           attend treatment, though this finding appears to be based on a very small
                           sample of defendants.

Graduation Rate            Adjusting for the defendants remaining in treatment, this report indicates a
                           35-percent graduation rate over the 3 years, which is similar to Terry’s
                           estimate for the first year (see Terry, 1996, above). Contrary to McNeece
                           and Daly, however, this report states that arrests for driving under the
                           influence, cannabis possession, or any felony while participating in the
                           program resulted in immediate termination.

Evaluation                 This report provides information on rearrests for a random sample of 30
                           drug court graduates who had graduated between 4 and 25 months before
                           the arrest search. Six of the 30 (20 percent) were rearrested during the
                           program and 3 of the 30 (10 percent) were arrested after graduation. This
                           report also shows, for a sample of 29 drug court graduates and similarly
                           small samples of probation and nonprobation drug court participants, that
                           positive drug tests declined with time in treatment. No comparisons were
                           made to nonparticipants.

Assessment                 Small samples and the lack of comparison data make these results difficult
                           to assess.



Broward County Drug
Court (McNeece and
Daly, 1993)
Program Start Date         See Terry, 1996 (above).

Participant Restrictions   See Terry, 1996 (above). This report states that at some point eligibility
                           requirements were modified to include drug offenders involved in drugs
                           other than cocaine (such as possession of marijuana and barbiturates),
                           and those with previous felony drug convictions.



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Participation Rate     Participation was voluntary. The percentage of eligible offenders who
                       chose to participate during the year of operation described by this report
                       (1992) is not indicated, but the report notes as a disturbing trend that
                       almost all clients with private attorneys chose not to participate. It also
                       notes that many clients requested transfers to other courts, where they
                       were almost certain to receive probation with no treatment.

Program Length         See Terry, 1996 (above).

Program Costs          No information was provided.

Treatment Components   See Terry, 1996 (above). This report indicates that during Phase III of
                       treatment, urine tests were performed once a week and that treatment
                       during this phase emphasized educational and work skills. Vocational
                       evaluation, on-the-job training, and job skills and readiness classes were
                       also provided.

Graduation Rate        This report notes that of the 1,008 defendants who appeared in this drug
                       court in 1992, only 48 (or 5 percent) graduated. This figure greatly
                       underestimates the graduation rate, however, as roughly half the
                       participants entering in that year were still active, and about a third were
                       either not accepted or were transferred to other courts. While rearrests
                       appeared to be responsible for some portion of terminations, the report
                       notes that, in most cases, rearrests did not lead to dismissal from the
                       program. The report notes that African-Americans were less likely than
                       others to complete treatment.

Evaluation             This report provides information on rearrests for the 1,008 offenders who
                       appeared in the court in 1992, but is not clear about how long they had
                       been at risk of rearrest. (Since half were still active, we can assume that
                       for many offenders the time at risk was less than 1 year.) Eleven percent
                       were rearrested, jailed, sent to prison, or had warrants issued for their
                       arrest. Eleven percent also had one or more violations of probation while
                       in the program. Drug test results were available for only 323 of the 1,008
                       participants; 52 (16 percent) were “dirty” on one or more occasions.

Assessment             This information does not distinguish graduates from program terminees
                       in assessing rearrests and relapse, nor does it compare program
                       participants with nonparticipants. Also, the length of follow-up was short,
                       and for some participants involved only a matter of months.




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Dade County Drug
Court (Goldkamp and
Weiland, 1993)
Program Start Date         1989.

Participant Restrictions   The drug court was initially designed to accept offenders charged with
                           third-degree felony drug possession who had no prior convictions, but has
                           shown some flexibility in its admissions criteria. This study focuses on a
                           sample of offenders (n = 326) admitted in August and September 1990.
                           Among them, one-third had prior felony arrests, and 11 percent had prior
                           arrests for serious crimes against persons.

Participation Rate         Participation appeared to be voluntary. The percentage of eligible
                           offenders who chose to participate is not clearly indicated. It appears that
                           the drug court participants were more likely than eligible offenders who
                           chose not to participate to be male and to have fewer prior arrests,
                           including drug arrests.

Program Length             Twelve months.

Program Costs              No information was provided.

Treatment Components       Judicial monitoring and drug tests were components of the program,
                           which proceeded through three phases: phase 1 (detoxification), phase 2
                           (counseling), and phase 3 (educational/vocational assessment). On
                           average, participants took 24 drug tests while in the program; how
                           frequently they appeared before the drug court judge is not indicated.
                           Acupuncture was used on a voluntary basis.

Graduation Rate            Of the 326 offenders in the study group, 28 percent were still active after
                           18 months, and 14 percent had their charges dropped or were transferred
                           out of the program. Of the remaining 189, 110 (or 58 percent) graduated or
                           successfully completed diversion. The report states that “motivational jail”
                           terms of 2 weeks were sometimes used to sanction offenders who failed to
                           comply or were rearrested. Roughly half of the drug court defendants
                           failed to appear in drug court at least once, compared to from 6 to
                           10 percent of other felony offenders who were not assigned to the drug
                           court program.




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Evaluation                 The 326 offenders admitted to the drug court program were compared to
                           four other samples: (1) felony drug defendants in the same period who
                           were not eligible for the program because of more serious offenses (n =
                           199), (2) nondrug felony defendants in the same period (n = 185),
                           (3) felony drug defendants from a period several years earlier (n = 302),
                           and (4) felony nondrug defendants from a period several years earlier (n =
                           536). Data were collected from a fifth comparison sample of offenders
                           who were assigned to the drug court but did not participate. These data,
                           however, were not employed in the evaluation involving rearrests. After 18
                           months, drug court defendants had a significantly lower rearrest rate than
                           the other 4 groups (33 percent versus 40 percent to 53 percent), and a
                           significantly longer period before rearrest (median of 235 days versus 52 to
                           115 days for the other groups).

Assessment                 These results are quite positive but, as we stated in our previous report,
                           must be viewed with caution as a result of a lack of comparability between
                           groups, especially in terms of offense seriousness and criminal history.



Dade County Drug
Court (Smith, Davis,
and Goretsky, 1991)
Program Start Date         June 19, 1989.

Participant Restrictions   See Goldkamp and Weiland, 1993. This report notes that eligible offenders
                           had to admit to having a drug problem for which they wanted treatment.
                           The report also notes that eligibility requirements were relaxed over time.

Participation Rate         Participation was voluntary. This report does not indicate what percentage
                           of eligible offenders chose to participate. It does note that of 1,100 cases
                           that had been referred to the drug court, 300 were transferred out, 200
                           were nollied, 100 resulted in bench warrants, 100 were prosecuted in some
                           other way, and 411 (or 15 percent) “received the ’drug court’ stamp. Thus,
                           those who made it to the drug court are a very select group.” (p. 5.)

Program Length             This report states that while a 12-month program was envisioned, the
                           length of time it took an offender to complete it varied, depending on the
                           individual’s progress.




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Program Costs              No systematic cost/benefit analysis is provided. The report states that the
                           drug court treatment program cost $700 per year compared with the
                           $17,000 cost of housing inmates in the local jail, and that the county paid
                           the cost of treatment.

Treatment Components       See Goldkamp and Weiland, 1993. This report notes that in general,
                           offenders appeared before the drug court judge every 30 to 60 days. It also
                           indicates that individual and group counseling, and attendance at AA/NA
                           meetings, were frequently employed.

Graduation Rate            No information was provided on the percentage of offenders who
                           completed the drug court program.

Evaluation                 The evaluation involves a comparison of rearrest rates for persons
                           assigned to the drug court in January 1990 through March 1990 (n = 318),
                           and a subgroup of persons assigned to the drug court who actually
                           participated in it (n = 148), with a sample of predrug court narcotics cases
                           from early 1988 (n = 99). Persons assigned to the drug court were similar
                           to predrug court offenders with respect to rearrests (32 percent versus
                           33 percent), while the participants had lower rearrest rates (15 percent).

Assessment                 The authors note that the differences between drug court participants and
                           predrug court cases should be viewed cautiously, due to the selective
                           nature of the latter group.



Hillsborough County
Drug Court (McNeece
and Daly, 1993)
Program Start Date         June 1992.

Participant Restrictions   The program was targeted for first-time offenders charged with simple
                           possession or purchase of cocaine. The report states, however, that in
                           actual practice offenders charged with other types of drug offenses and
                           who had previous records could be considered.

Participation Rate         Participation was voluntary, but the percentage of eligible offenders who
                           chose to participate is not indicated. The report states, however, that
                           self-selection could have been at work, as African-Americans were
                           underrepresented among program participants. While they accounted for



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                       54 percent of all drug arrests, they comprised only 33 percent of drug
                       court participants.

Program Length         Twelve months.

Program Costs          No information was provided.

Treatment Components   The frequency with which participants appeared before the drug court
                       judges varied, depending on progress and ranged from once every 2 to 4
                       weeks to once every 2 or 3 months. The treatment program consisted of
                       three phases. During phase 1 (first 3 weeks), random urine tests were done
                       three times a week, and treatment consisted of acupuncture and individual
                       and group counseling. During phase 2 (weeks 4 through 12), random urine
                       tests were done twice a week, participants received acupuncture and
                       attended group therapy sessions, and were encouraged to attend AA/NA
                       meetings. During phase 3 (weeks 13 through 52), random urine tests were
                       done three times a month, and participants were required to participate in
                       a structured aftercare support group, encouraged to attend AA/NA
                       meetings, and given individual counseling as needed.

Graduation Rate        The report states that as of November 1993, only 23 participants had been
                       discharged from the program (thus implying that all but those 23
                       participants were still active in the program). Twelve (52 percent) were
                       discharged as successful. The 11 terminees were discharged due to new
                       drug arrests (2), new nondrug felony arrests (2), or persistent
                       noncompliance (7).

Evaluation             The program had not been formally evaluated, but the report states that it
                       had been selected for a longitudinal study to track relapse and recidivism
                       among participants over a period of several years. The only evaluation
                       provided here involves responses from a random sample of program
                       participants interviewed, the size of which is not indicated. Sixty-three
                       percent and 37 percent reported being very satisfied or pretty satisfied
                       with the program (only one participant was dissatisfied), and 70 percent
                       and 26 percent found it to be very or somewhat effective.

Assessment             The lack of systematic information on what percentage of offenders
                       eligible for the program entered it, the very preliminary information on the
                       percentage who successfully completed it, and the absence of information
                       on relapse and rearrests after program completion for participants and a
                       comparison group makes it impossible to determine the efficacy of the




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                           program. It is not indicated whether the planned longitudinal study was to
                           include a comparison group of nonparticipants.



Baltimore City Drug
Treatment Court
(Gottfredson,
Coblentz, and
Harmon, 1996)
Program Start Date         March 1994.

Participant Restrictions   The program was targeted toward nonviolent offenders with drug abuse
                           problems. The “instant” offenses that led to assignment to drug court were
                           most often drug-related or property crimes.

Participation Rate         It appears that participation was voluntary for some offenders but not for
                           others. Offenders were diverted from prosecution contingent upon an
                           agreement to participate in a drug treatment program. Others who were
                           not deemed eligible for diversion from prosecution were required to
                           participate in a drug treatment program as a condition of parole or
                           probation. The percentage of eligible offenders who entered the drug court
                           treatment program is not indicated. The report notes that drug court
                           clients were historically frequent offenders compared to other eligible
                           probationers and that the offenses for which they were convicted were as
                           serious or more serious in nature than those in the comparison group.

Program Length             Not indicated.

Program Costs              No information was provided.

Treatment Components       The report states that intensive supervision and frequent drug testing were
                           used but does not provide specific information on frequency of contacts
                           with the courts or drug tests. The program services (treatment) may have
                           included education, unspecified substance abuse treatment, job readiness
                           and placement, life skills training, and housing assistance. Graduated
                           sanctions and incarceration were used to induce program compliance.




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                           Appendix III
                           Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                           Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                           Drug Court Programs




Graduation Rate            The program completion rate is not indicated. Incarceration could be
                           imposed when offenders failed to comply with program requirements. The
                           nature and extent of sanctions were not examined.

Evaluation                 To determine whether the drug court program services were more
                           effective than those provided under traditional probation and parole, 145
                           offenders who were assigned to the drug court treatment in its first year of
                           operation were compared to offenders not assigned. Rearrests after 180
                           days were compared, separately for offenders from (1) the district court (n
                           = 84 in the treatment group and 351 in the control group), (2) the circuit
                           court (n = 34 in the treatment group and 125 in the control group), and
                           (3) the district court for violations of probation (n = 27 in the treatment
                           group and 53 in the control group). Twenty-three percent, 26 percent, and
                           18 percent of the district, circuit, and violations of probation treatment
                           cases were rearrested, respectively, compared to 27 percent, 30 percent,
                           and 30 percent of controls. While none of these differences were
                           statistically significant, a significantly lower rearrest rate among drug
                           court cases emerged when other factors affecting rearrests (i.e., criminal
                           history, characteristics of the instant offense, and demographic variables)
                           were statistically controlled.

Assessment                 These preliminary results appear positive, but firmer conclusions await a
                           lengthier follow-up with a more diverse group of treatment court
                           participants, including those who enter through the diversion track.



Clark County Drug
Court (Choices
Unlimited Las Vegas,
1996)
Program Start Date         October 1992.

Participant Restrictions   Initially, most participants were offenders charged with possession of a
                           controlled substance or under the influence of a controlled substance,
                           who had no prior felony convictions and no noncriteria offense currently
                           in the system. Persons who wished to participate but did not meet
                           admissions criteria could be allowed to conditionally participate. Such
                           persons might not receive a dismissal of underlying criminal charges and
                           might be required to pay treatment costs. It appears that many participants




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                       Appendix III
                       Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                       Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                       Drug Court Programs




                       in the most recent year covered by the report (1995-1996) were charged
                       with possession with intent to sell, low-level trafficking, and
                       nondrug-related property offenses such as burglary. The report is unclear
                       about whether violent offenders were excluded as well.

Participation Rate     Participation was voluntary. The percentage of eligible offenders who
                       chose to participate is not indicated.

Program Length         Twelve months.

Program Costs          No information was provided.

Treatment Components   Participants appeared in the drug court frequently—between weekly and
                       monthly—depending on progress. Urine tests were taken every other day
                       in the first phase of the program, and periodically in phases 2 through 4.
                       Participants could not proceed from phase 1 to 2 or from phase 2 to 3 until
                       they had five consecutive negative tests, could not proceed from phase 3
                       to phase 4 until they had 6 months of negative tests, and had to test clean
                       for a minimum of 3 months to graduate. Treatment components varied by
                       phase and included detoxification; individual, group, and family
                       counseling; wellness education sessions; and job training.

Graduation Rate        As of April 1, 1996, 1,544 offenders had been referred to the program.
                       Seventy-eight offenders never actually started treatment, and 795
                       offenders were still active in the program. Of the remaining 671 offenders,
                       382 (57 percent) had graduated. Reasons for termination included new
                       arrests, positive urine tests, and noncompliance with program
                       requirements. Similar termination rates among ethnic groups and between
                       male and female participants were reported. However, termination rates
                       were higher for participants entering the program under the influence or in
                       possession of a controlled substance offense, particularly cocaine and
                       amphetamine. The report does not indicate what happened to program
                       terminees.

Evaluation             The only evaluation component of the report involved a calculation of
                       rearrests among the 382 graduates over the 42 months of the court’s
                       operation. Only 24 (6 percent) of the graduates had been rearrested on
                       new charges since their release.

Assessment             While the absence of a control group makes the rearrest information
                       difficult to interpret, the 6-percent recidivism rate seems remarkable,
                       especially since many graduates would have had substantial periods at



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                           Appendix III
                           Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                           Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                           Drug Court Programs




                           risk of rearrest. It is not clear whether these figures included arrests
                           during program participation, or whether such arrests automatically
                           triggered termination.



Multnomah County
S.T.O.P. Program
(American University
Courts Technical
Assistance Project,
1994)
Program Start Date         August 1991.

Participant Restrictions   The S.T.O.P. (Sanction-Treatment-Opportunity-Progress) program was
                           targeted for defendants charged with felony drug possession offenses with
                           no involvement in significant drug dealing, no holds from other
                           jurisdictions, no other felony or Class A person misdemeanor charges
                           pending, and no driving under the influence charges in the same charging
                           instrument. A defendant’s criminal history was no barrier to participation
                           provided other qualification criteria were met. Since the program was first
                           implemented, criminal history requirements were relaxed and gang
                           affiliation was abandoned as a restriction on program participation. The
                           report indicates that because of the relaxed eligibility criteria and
                           Oregon’s relatively lenient sentencing provisions, the drug court handled a
                           significantly larger percentage (26 percent) of the total drug caseload than
                           most courts. “Drug courts programs in other jurisdictions generally
                           account for less than five percent of their jurisdiction’s total drug
                           caseload.”

Participation Rate         Participation was voluntary, but the percentage of eligible offenders who
                           chose to participate is not indicated.

Program Length             Twelve months.

Program Costs              While the report states that “costs per case for STOP cases . . . have been
                           substantially reduced compared with the costs per cases handled in the
                           traditional adjudication process,” dollar values were left blank in the draft
                           of the report we reviewed.




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                       Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                       Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                       Drug Court Programs




Treatment Components   S.T.O.P. program participants appeared before the program judge monthly
                       during this four-phase program. In phase 1 (4 weeks), they submitted six
                       drug tests per week and received acupuncture and drug education classes.
                       During phase 2 (4-1/2 months), they submitted to random drug tests,
                       acupuncture, and group counseling three times a week. In phase 3
                       (approximately 6 months), they submitted to random drug tests and
                       counseling tailored to their needs. Phase 4, added in the program’s second
                       year, involved biweekly urine tests and participation in AA/NA meetings five
                       times a week for 2 months.

Graduation Rate        Between August 1, 1991, and June 9, 1994, 1,611 defendants were admitted
                       to the program. Seven hundred three were still active, and of the
                       remaining 908, 367 (or 40 percent) had graduated. There is no indication of
                       what factors were primarily responsible for failure to complete the
                       program (i.e., rearrests, positive urine tests, etc.), though it is noted that,
                       on average, program completers had longer histories of drug use and were
                       older, more likely to be married and residentially stable, and more likely to
                       have consistently attended acupuncture and other treatment sessions.
                       Program completers had their criminal indictments dismissed, while
                       terminees stood for trial before the S.T.O.P. program judge at the same
                       status hearing in which the termination occurred. Failures to appear were
                       sanctioned by program suspensions, appearances before the court, and
                       bench warrants.

Evaluation             The evaluation provided is very preliminary, and it appears that many of
                       the numbers provided were in need of updating or verification. The
                       information provided involves a comparison of 105 S.T.O.P. participants
                       who had graduated from the program and 78 participants who had been
                       terminated, and is restricted to numbers and percents in the two groups
                       who had positive drug tests and bench warrants. It appears that, in each of
                       the four phases of the program, graduates were more likely than terminees
                       to show for drug tests, and in at least the second and third phases, less
                       likely to test positive (i.e., dirty). There was also a smaller average number
                       of bench warrants issued for program graduates (0.73) than terminees
                       (2.15).

Assessment             These results are preliminary. It is not clear why the evaluation done
                       involved only 105 of the 367 graduates, and only 78 of the 542 terminees. It
                       appears that the urine tests and bench warrants were considered only for
                       the period of their participation in the program, so these figures provide
                       no information on long-term effects. The study also provides no
                       information on nonparticipants.



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                           Drug Court Programs




Sodat-Delaware, Inc.
Drug Court Diversion
Program (Reed, 1995)
Program Start Date         April 1994.

Participant Restrictions   Participants were first-time drug offenders with no prior drug convictions.
                           Offenders who were excluded are not indicated, except for repeat drug
                           offenders.

Participation Rate         Not indicated.

Program Length             Five to 6 months.

Program Costs              The only information on cost savings from the program was the statement
                           that “For the cost of keeping just 8 offenders in prison for 1 year, SODAT
                           has successfully diverted and treated 219 drug offenders in the community
                           and started them on the road to recovery from their addictions.”

Treatment Components       Participants appeared before the drug court judge, usually once a month,
                           and were required to submit to random urine screening throughout their
                           stay in the program. Treatment was not well described—“three counselors
                           provide active substance abuse counseling.” (p. 1.)

Graduation Rate            After 1 year, 71 percent (90 of 127) of the program participants who were
                           not still active in the program and had not been transferred to more
                           intensive treatment had graduated. Men had slightly higher graduation
                           rates than women, and whites and blacks with less severe drug problems
                           had higher completion rates. The report also states that age, education,
                           and employment were related to program success.

Evaluation                 Approximately 80 percent of program participants had been drug tested
                           during the program, and roughly half of those tested had one or more
                           positive urines. Program graduates were less likely than nongraduates to
                           have one or more positive urines (35 percent versus 80 percent). Only
                           4 percent of program participants, and 8 percent of participants not still
                           active in the program, had been discharged due to rearrests. Participants
                           were not compared to offenders who did not participate in the program.

Assessment                 This program was just 1 year old at the time of this report, and the few
                           details offered about program effects do not permit firm conclusions.



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                           Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
                           Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                           Drug Court Programs




Travis County Drug
Diversion Court
(Kelly, 1996)
Program Start Date         August 1993.

Participant Restrictions   The Travis County SHORT (System of Healthy Options for Release and
                           Treatment) Program was modeled after the Dade County Drug Diversion
                           Program and targeted drug offenders who exhibited evidence of addiction
                           and had a limited criminal history. It excluded offenders who were
                           involved in significant drug dealing, had holds from other jurisdictions,
                           had prior felony convictions for violent crimes, or had other felony
                           charges pending.

Participation Rate         Participation was voluntary. The report notes that a significant number of
                           eligible defendants either refused entrance or failed to participate from the
                           outset. No information was provided on the percentage of eligible
                           offenders who chose to participate.

Program Length             Twelve months.

Program Costs              No information was provided.

Treatment Components       While the report indicates that court appearances and urine testing were
                           components of the program, it does not indicate how frequently either
                           occurred. The treatment program consisted of three phases, which varied
                           in terms of intensity of supervision and treatment. Treatment components
                           included counseling, acupuncture, and AA/NA and drug education meetings.

Graduation Rate            Four hundred fifty-five defendants had entered the program since its
                           inception; 232 were still active, and of the remaining 223, 74 (or
                           33 percent) had graduated. The primary reasons stated for not completing
                           the program were failure to appear, requesting to withdraw and have their
                           case indicted, failure to comply with the program, and rearrests. The
                           report states that noncompliance (including positive urine tests, missed
                           meetings and court appearances, and rearrest), was tolerated in an effort
                           to retain program participants. Noncompliance was sanctioned in a variety
                           of ways, including by increasing urine tests, court appearances, and jail
                           time.




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                           Assessment of Available Evaluations of
                           Drug Court Programs




Evaluation                 The evaluation involves only information on rearrests, for a small sample
                           of 22 program graduates and a sample of 27 individuals who were arrested
                           before the program was established but would have been eligible for it.
                           After 1 year, 6 of the 22 program participants (27 percent) had been
                           rearrested, compared to 16 of the 27 individuals (59 percent) in the
                           comparison group.

Assessment                 These preliminary results are positive, though the authors note problems
                           in the comparability of the two groups, in the small sample sizes, and in
                           the short period of follow-up.



Jackson County Drug
Court Diversion
Program (Jameson
and Peterson, 1995)
Program Start Date         October 1993.

Participant Restrictions   The report states that individuals charged with possession of drugs or drug
                           paraphernalia, sale of controlled substances (under specified amounts),
                           fraudulent prescriptions, and prostitution were presumed to be drug users
                           and eligible to participate. Other offenders were eligible if they and/or
                           their family, friends, or attorney stated that they were a drug user or tested
                           positive for drugs at the time of arrest. Relative to persons admitted to the
                           Jackson County Department of Corrections, the program may have been
                           overrepresentative of blacks and females.

Participation Rate         Participation was voluntary. The percentage of eligible offenders who
                           chose to participate is not indicated.

Program Length             Twelve months.

Program Costs              While no formal cost/benefit analysis is provided, the report states that, “if
                           it assumed that the 257 active clients would otherwise have been
                           incarcerated for 21 days . . . the savings to the county may be estimated to
                           be approximately 5,400 inmate days at a minimum cost savings of
                           $246,000.”




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                       Outcomes Reported in and GAO’s
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                       Drug Court Programs




Treatment Components   This was a three-phase program. Phase 1 (3 weeks) involved assessment.
                       Phase 2 (14 weeks) included acupuncture; individual, group, and family
                       counseling; and attendance at AA/NA/CA meetings. Finally, phase 3 (36
                       weeks) included reduced treatment and continued meeting requirements.
                       Judicial monitoring and drug testing were included throughout;
                       participants met with the drug court judge monthly and submitted urine
                       tests twice weekly during phase 2. (Frequencies are not given for the other
                       phases.) The report notes that compliance rates (the percentage of
                       appointments made that were kept) varied by program components, from
                       34 percent for 12-step meetings to 49 percent for acupuncture to
                       81 percent for diversion management sessions.

Graduation Rate        Of the 450 offenders processed in the first year of operation of this
                       12-month program, 257 were still active. Of the remaining 193 cases, only 1
                       (0.5 percent) had graduated from the program. The majority of
                       participants terminated were for noncompliance with program
                       requirements (52 percent); 19 percent opted out of the program after
                       beginning it and took their cases through the traditional criminal
                       processing procedures.

Evaluation             Negative (clean) urine test rates were indicated for program participants
                       and shown to vary by phase; phase 1 (22 percent), phase 2 (53 percent),
                       and phase 3 (81 percent). Rearrest rates for the 450 program participants
                       were compared to rearrest rates for a group of 4,755 offenders admitted to
                       the Jackson County Department of Corrections between 1991 and 1994
                       who had comparable eligibility and were at risk of rearrest. Four percent
                       of the program participants versus 13 percent of the comparison group
                       were rearrested after roughly 6 months.

Assessment             It is unclear whether urine test rates refer to the percentage of negative
                       tests or the percentage of participants with negative tests. It is also unclear
                       whether program participants were included among the comparison
                       group, which would diminish slightly the difference in rearrests between
                       groups. It is not clear how many of the program participants rearrested
                       were still in the program at the time of their rearrest, and it is too early to
                       tell how different program completers would be from noncompleters and
                       eligible nonparticipants in the long-term.




                       Page 128                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix IV

Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
1997

                                                        Status                             Funding sources
                        Start date               About to   Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction          Actual Planned Operating   start      planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
Alabama
  Atmore                                                    •                       •
  (juvenile/Creek
  tribe)
  Birmingham           01/96            •                                           •         •                  •
  (adult)
  Birmingham           01/96            •                                           •         •
  (juvenile)
  Cullman                                                   •                       •
  Mobile               02/93            •                                           •         •                  •
  Montgomery                                                •                       •
  Tuscaloosa           03/97            •                                           •
Alaska
  Gambella             12/95                                                        •
  Juneau                                                    •                       •
Arizona
  Globe (juvenile)                                          •                       •
  Peach Springs                                             •                       •
  (Hualapai tribe)
  Phoenix              03/92            •                                           •         •                  •
  Sacaton (Gila                                             •                       •
  River Indian
  Community)
  Scottsdale (Salt              10/97            •                                  •
  River Pima-
  Maricopa Indian
  Community)
  Tucson (adult)                07/97            •                                  •
  Tucson (juvenile)                                         •                       •
  Yuma                                                      •                       •
Arkansas
  Little Rock          06/94            •                                           •         •        •         •
California
  Bakersfield          07/93            •                                           •         •        •         •
  Chico                06/95            •                                           •         •        •         •
  El Cajon                                                  •                       •
  El Monte             07/94            •                                           •                  •         •
  Eurekab              02/97            •
  Fairfield            03/97            •                                           •
                                                                                                           (continued)


                                     Page 129                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                     Appendix IV
                                     Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                     Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                     1997




                                                            Status                             Funding sources
                        Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction          Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  Fresno               03/96            •                                                         •                  •
  Haywardb                      07/97               •
  Huntington Parkb              05/97               •
  Indio                                                         •                       •
  Inglewoodb                    05/97               •
  Kern County-         02/95            •
  East Municipalb
  Kern County-         07/94            •
  North Municipalb
  Laguna Niguel        01/97            •                                               •         •                  •
  Los Angeles          05/94            •                                               •         •                  •
  (adult)
  Los Angeles                                                   •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Martinez                                                      •                       •
  Modesto              06/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Oakland (adult/      01/91            •                                               •         •
  diversion)
  Oakland (adult/      01/95            •                                               •         •
  postadjudication)
  Pasadena             05/95            •                                               •                            •
  Porterville          04/96            •                                                         •                  •
  Prosservillec        04/96
  Redlandsb            04/95            •
  Richmondb            01/97            •
  Riverside            09/95            •                                               •         •
  Roseville            09/95            •                                               •         •        •         •
  Sacramento           03/96            •                                               •         •        •         •
  Salinas              07/95            •                                                         •        •
  San Bernardino       11/94            •                                               •         •        •         •
  San Diegob           03/97            •
  San Francisco        03/95            •                                               •
  (adult)
  San Francisco                 10/97               •                                   •
  (juvenile)
  San Jose (adult)     09/95            •                                               •                            •
  San Jose             08/96            •
  (juvenile)d
  San Luis Obispo                                               •                       •
                                                                                                               (continued)



                                     Page 130                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                      Appendix IV
                                      Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                      Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                      1997




                                                             Status                             Funding sources
                         Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction           Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  San Mateo             10/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Santa Ana (adult)     03/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Santa Ana                                                      •
  (juvenile)b
  Santa Barbara         03/96            •                                               •                            •
  Santa Cruz                                                     •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Santa Maria           03/96            •                                               •                            •
  Santa Monica          01/96            •                                               •                            •
  Santa Rosa            02/96            •                                               •         •        •         •
  Stockton              07/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Tulare (juvenile)     10/95            •                                               •         •        •
  Tulare (adult)        05/96            •                                                         •                  •
  Ukiah                 09/96            •                                               •         •        •         •
  Van Nuys                                                       •
  Regionalb
  Ventura               04/95            •                                               •
  Visalia               03/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  Vista                 01/97            •                                               •
  Woodland              03/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Yosemite National     01/95            •                                               •                            •
  Park-Federal Court
Colorado
  Denver                07/94            •                                               •         •        •         •
Connecticut
  Bridgeport                     07/97               •                                   •
  Hartford                                                                 •             •
  New Haven             07/96            •                                                         •
Delaware
  Dover                 04/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  Georgetown            04/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  Wilmington            10/93            •                                               •         •        •         •
  (adult)
  Wilmington            09/95            •                                                         •
  (juvenile)
District of Columbia
  Washington            07/94            •                                               •         •
  (adult)
                                                                                                                (continued)




                                      Page 131                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                       Appendix IV
                                       Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                       Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                       1997




                                                              Status                             Funding sources
                          Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction            Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  Washington                                                      •                       •
  (juvenile)
Florida
  Bartow                 12/94            •                                               •         •                  •
  Crestview              10/93            •                                               •         •                  •
           b
  Daytona                         07/97               •
  Fort Lauderdale        06/91            •                                               •         •                  •
  (adult)
  Fort Lauderdale                 10/97               •                                   •
  (juvenile)
  Gainesville            03/94            •                                               •         •                  •
  Jacksonville           09/94            •                                               •
  Key West (adult)       05/93            •                                               •         •                  •
  Key West               04/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  (juvenile)
  Marathon (adult)       06/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Marathon               05/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  (juvenile)
  Miami                  06/89            •                                               •         •                  •
  Moore Haven                                                     •                       •
  Ocala                           04/97               •                                   •
  Opa-Locka                                                                 •             •
  Orlando (adult)b                06/97               •
  Orlando (juvenile)              07/97               •                                   •
  Panama Cityb           01/97            •
  Pensacola (adult)      06/93            •                                               •         •        •         •
  Pensacola (parents)    02/96            •                                                         •                  •
  Pensacola              04/96            •                                               •         •
  (juvenile)
  Plantation Key         05/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  (adult)
  Plantation Key         05/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  (juvenile)
  Sarasota               02/97            •                                               •
  Tallahassee            01/94            •                                               •         •
  Tampa (adult-          06/92            •                                               •         •        •
  diversion)
  Tampa (adult-          07/94            •                                                         •                  •
  postadjudication)
  Tampa (juvenile)       02/96            •                                               •         •                  •
                                                                                                                 (continued)


                                       Page 132                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                        Appendix IV
                                        Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                        Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                        1997




                                                               Status                             Funding sources
                           Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction             Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  Viera                   10/94            •                                               •         •                  •
Georgia
  Atlanta                 03/97            •                                               •
  Brunswick                                                        •                       •
  Covington                                                        •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Macon                   01/94            •                                               •         •                  •
Guam
  Agana (juvenile)                                                 •                       •
Hawaii
  Honolulu                01/96            •                                               •         •                  •
Idaho
  Boiseb                                                                     •
Illinois
  Bloomington                                                      •                       •
                    be
  Chicago (adult)         05/89
  Chicago                 02/97            •
  (neighborhood
  model)b
  Cook County             10/96            •                                               •
  (juvenile)
  Decatur                                                          •                       •
  Edwardsville            03/96            •                                               •         •
                     b
  Kankakee (adult)        02/97            •
  Kankakee                         10/97               •                                   •
  (juvenile)
  Markham                 03/94            •                                                         •                  •
  Peoria                                                           •                       •
  Rockford                10/96            •                                               •         •
  Saint Charles                                                    •                       •
Indiana
  Fort Wayne                                                       •                       •
  Gary (juvenile)         06/95            •                                               •
  Gary (adult)            09/96            •                                               •                            •
  Lafayetteb                       04/97               •
  Lake County             09/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  Lawrenceburg                                                     •                       •
  (juvenile)
  South Bend              02/97            •                                               •
                                                                                                                 (continued)


                                        Page 133                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                      Appendix IV
                                      Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                      Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                      1997




                                                             Status                             Funding sources
                         Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction           Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  Terre Haute           10/96            •                                               •         •                  •
Iowa
  Des Moines            09/96            •                                               •         •                  •
Kansas
  Wichita               07/95            •                                               •         •                  •
Kentucky
  Bowling Green                  04/97               •                                   •
  Frankfort                                                      •                       •
  Hickman                                                        •                       •
  Louisville            07/93            •                                               •         •                  •
Louisiana
  Alexandria                                                     •                       •
  Baton Rouge           01/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  (adult)
  Baton Rouge                                                    •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Franklin              01/97            •                                               •
  Gretna                         06/97               •                                   •
  Harvey (juvenile)                                              •                       •
  Lafayette                                                      •                       •
  Lake Charlesb         02/97            •
  Monroe                         01/98                           •                       •
  Monroe (Ouachita)                                              •                       •
  New Orleans                                                    •                       •
  Oberlin                                                                  •             •
  Thibodaux                                                      •                       •
  Vidalia (juvenile)                                             •                       •
Maine
  Alfred                                                                   •             •
Maryland
  Annapolisb                                                     •
  Baltimore (adult-     03/94            •                                               •         •
  District)
  Baltimore (adult-     10/94            •                                               •         •
  Circuit)
Baltimore                        10/97               •                                   •
(juvenile-
Circuit)
                                                                                                               (continued)



                                      Page 134                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                         Appendix IV
                                         Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                         Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                         1997




                                                                Status                             Funding sources
                            Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction              Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  Montgomery                                                        •
  Countyb
Massachusetts
  Dorchester               06/95            •                                               •                  •         •
  Framingham                                                        •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Franklin County          01/97            •
  (family)b
  Lawrence                                                          •                       •
  Lynn                                                              •                       •
  New Bedford                       12/97               •                                   •
  Salem (juvenile)                                                  •                       •
  Springfieldb                                                                •
  Worcester                02/96            •                                               •         •        •
Michigan
  Detroit                                                           •                       •
  Kalamazoo                06/92            •                                               •         •                  •
  (females)
  Kalamazoo (males)b       01/97            •
  Kalamazoo                                                         •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Mt. Clemens                                                       •                       •
  Pontiacb                 03/93            •
  St. Joseph               10/91            •                                               •         •                  •
Minnesota
  Minneapolis              01/97            •                                               •
Mississippi
  Gulfport                                                                    •             •
  Jackson                           07/97               •                                   •
                      b
  Jackson (juvenile)                                                •
Missouri
  Benton (juvenile)                                                 •                       •
  Claytonb                                                                    •
  Jefferson City                                                    •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Kansas City              10/93            •                                               •         •                  •
  Lexington                06/96            •                                                         •                  •
  St. Louis                         04/97               •                                   •
Montana
                                                                                                                   (continued)


                                         Page 135                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                      Appendix IV
                                      Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                      Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                      1997




                                                             Status                             Funding sources
                         Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction           Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  Browning                                                       •                       •
  (Blackfeet tribe)
  Missoula              10/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  (juvenile)
Nebraska
  Omaha                          04/97               •                                   •
Nevada
  Las Vegas (adult)     10/92            •                                               •         •        •         •
  Las Vegas             04/95            •                                                         •                  •
  (juvenile)
  Reno (family)         08/94            •                                                         •        •         •
  Reno (adult)          07/95            •                                                         •                  •
  Reno (juvenile)       07/95            •                                                         •
New Jersey
  Camden                04/96            •                                               •                            •
  Jersey City                                                    •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Long Branch                    07/97               •                                   •
  Newark (superior)              05/97               •                                   •
  Paterson                                                       •                       •
New Mexico
  Albuquerque           09/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Aztec (juvenile)                                               •                       •
  Las Cruces (adult-    04/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Magistrate)
  Las Cruces (adult-    12/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Municipal)
  Mesilla               04/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Santa Fe                                                       •                       •
  Sunland Parkf         02/95                                                            •         •                  •
New York
  Amherstb              09/96            •
  Bronx                                                          •                       •
  Brooklyn              06/96            •                                               •         •        •
  Buffalo               01/96            •                                               •         •        •
  Ithaca                                                         •                       •
  Lackawannab           01/96            •
  Manhattanb                                                     •
  Niagara Falls                                                  •                       •
                                                                                                                (continued)


                                      Page 136                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                       Appendix IV
                                       Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                       Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                       1997




                                                              Status                             Funding sources
                          Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction            Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  Oswego                                                          •                       •
  Queens                                                          •                       •
  Rensselaer                                                      •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Rochester              01/95            •                                               •         •        •         •
  Rockland County                                                 •                       •
  Suffolk County         09/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  Syracuse               01/97            •                                               •
North Carolina
  Charlotte              02/95            •                                                         •        •         •
  Cherokee (juvenile/                                             •                       •
  Cherokee tribe)
  Person/Caswell         07/96            •                                                                  •         •
  Counties
  Raleigh                05/96            •                                                         •
  Warrenton              12/96            •                                                         •                  •
  Wilmingtonb                     05/97               •
  Winston-Salem          06/96            •                                                         •                  •
Ohio
  Akron                  06/95            •                                               •         •        •
  Butler County          09/96            •                                                         •                  •
  Canton                                                          •                       •
  Chillicothe                                                     •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Cincinnati             03/95            •                                               •         •                  •
  Cleveland                       08/97               •                                   •
  (juvenile)
  Cleveland (adult)                                               •                       •
  Dayton (adult)         01/96            •                                               •
  Dayton (juvenile)                                               •                       •
  Mansfield                                                       •                       •
  Saint Clairsville                                               •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Sandusky               04/96            •                                                         •
  Toledo                                                          •                       •
  Uhrichville                                                     •                       •
  Youngstown                                                      •                       •
Oklahoma
                                                                                                                 (continued)



                                       Page 137                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                       Appendix IV
                                       Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                       Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                       1997




                                                              Status                             Funding sources
                          Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction            Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  Canadian County                                                 •
  (juvenile)b
  Chickashab                                                      •
  Claremore                                                       •                       •
  Drumright                       05/97               •                                   •
  Elk City (juvenile)                                             •                       •
  Guthrie                03/95            •                                               •                            •
  Muskogee                                                        •                       •
  Oklahoma City                                                   •
  (adult)b
  Oklahoma City                                                   •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Okmulgee                                                                  •             •
  (Muscogee Nation)
  Pontotoc Countyb                07/97               •
  Seminole                        07/97               •                                   •
  Stillwater (adult)     03/95            •                                               •                            •
  Stillwater                                                      •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Tahlequah                                                       •                       •
  Tulsa                  05/96            •                                               •         •
Oregon
  Eugene                 09/94            •                                               •         •                  •
  Grants Pass            03/96            •                                               •         •                  •
  Klamath Falls          03/96            •                                                         •                  •
                   b
  McMinnville                                                     •
  Pendleton                                                       •                       •
  (Confederated
  Tribes of the
  Umatilla Indian
  Reservation)
  Portland               08/91            •                                               •         •                  •
  Roseburg               01/96            •                                               •         •                  •
Pennsylvania
  Philadelphia           03/97            •                                               •
               b
  Pittsburgh                                                      •
  Williamsport                                                    •                       •
  York                                                            •                       •
Puerto Rico
                                                                                                                (continued)



                                       Page 138                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                        Appendix IV
                                        Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                        Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                        1997




                                                               Status                             Funding sources
                           Start date                  About to    Being   Studying                  State/
Jurisdiction             Actual Planned Operating      start       planned feasibility     Federal   Local    Private   Fees
  Arecibo                 04/96            •                                               •         •
  Carolina                04/96            •                                               •         •
  Ponce                   04/96            •                                               •         •
  San Juan                         08/97               •                                   •
South Carolina
  Charleston                                                       •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Columbia                11/96            •                                               •                            •
  Lexington               07/96            •                                               •         •                  •
                  b
  Orangeburg                                                       •
South Dakota
  Flandreau                                                        •                       •
  (juvenile/Sioux
  tribe)
  Lower Brule                                                      •                       •
  (Sioux tribe)
  Pine Ridge                                                       •                       •
  (Oglala Sioux tribe)
Tennessee
  Clarksville                                                      •                       •
  Decaturville                                                     •                       •
  (juvenile)
  Maryville                                                        •                       •
              b
  Memphis                 02/97            •
  Nashville                        05/97               •                                   •
Texas
  Austin                  08/93            •                                                         •                  •
  Beaumont                03/93            •                                                         •                  •
  Conroe                                                           •                       •
  Dallas                           06/97               •                                   •
  Fort Worth              09/95            •                                               •         •
  Houston                                                          •                       •
Utah
  Provo                                                            •                       •
  Salt Lake City          10/95            •                                               •                  •         •
  (juvenile)
  Salt Lake City          07/96            •                                               •                            •
  (adult)
  Vernal                                                           •                       •
                                                                                                                  (continued)


                                        Page 139                                     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                                   Appendix IV
                                   Summary Data on the Status of Drug Court
                                   Programs by Jurisdiction as of March 31,
                                   1997




                                                                  Status                                      Funding sources
                      Start date                        About to      Being   Studying                           State/
Jurisdiction        Actual Planned Operating            start         planned feasibility            Federal     Local     Private      Fees
Vermont
  Montpelier                                                          •                              •
  Newportb                                                            •
Virginia
  Charlottesville             07/97                     •                                            •
  Fredericksburg                                                      •                              •
  Newport News                                                        •                              •
  Richmond                                                            •                              •
  (juvenile)
  Roanoke            09/95               •                                                           •           •
  Suffolk                                                             •                              •
Washington
  Mount Vernon                                                        •                              •
  Olympia                                                             •                              •
  Port Angeles                                                        •                              •
  Port Orchard                                                        •                              •
  Seattle            08/94               •                                                           •           •         •            •
  Spokane            01/96               •                                                           •           •                      •
  Tacoma             10/94               •                                                           •           •                      •
Wisconsin
  Madison            06/96               •                                                           •           •                      •
  Milwaukee                                                           •                              •
Wyoming
  Gillette                                                                        •                  •
  Sheridan                                                            •                              •
Total                                    161            32            112         10

                                   a
                                       Drug court opened 12/95, closed 06/96.
                                   b
                                       No specific information on funding available.
                                   c
                                       Drug court opened 04/96, closed 11/96.
                                   d
                                       Drug court program or jurisdictional official reported no specific drug court program funding.
                                   e
                                       Drug court opened 05/89, closed 05/94.
                                   f
                                   Drug court opened 02/95, closed 06/96.

                                   Sources: GAO analysis of its survey of drug court programs and information obtained from federal
                                   agencies and the Drug Court Clearinghouse.




                                   Page 140                                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix V

Comments From the Department of Justice


Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.




See comment 1.




                             Page 141   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix V
Comments From the Department of Justice




Page 142                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix V
Comments From the Department of Justice




Page 143                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix V
Comments From the Department of Justice




Page 144                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
              Appendix V
              Comments From the Department of Justice




              The following is GAO’s comment on DOJ’s letter dated July 9, 1997.


              1. DOJ commented that this report does not distinguish between the OJP
GAO Comment   drug court discretionary grant program authorized by the Crime Act and
              the two BJA formula and block grant programs. We have modified chapter
              2 of our report to identify which grant programs are formula, block, or
              discretionary grant programs. Since nearly 60 percent of the federal
              support has been derived from federal grants other than those
              administered under the Violent Crime Act, and formula and block grant
              programs have contributed a significant portion (at least one-third) of the
              federal funds, we have chosen to include them in the scope of our
              recommendation intended to improve data collection and maintenance
              and the scope of future impact evaluations of drug court programs. We
              have modified our recommendation to consider any statutory limitations.




              Page 145                                  GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix VI

Comments From the Department of Health
and Human Services

Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.




                             Page 146   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix VI
Comments From the Department of Health
and Human Services




Page 147                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix VI
Comments From the Department of Health
and Human Services




Page 148                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                 Appendix VI
                 Comments From the Department of Health
                 and Human Services




See comment 1.




                 Page 149                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
              Appendix VI
              Comments From the Department of Health
              and Human Services




              The following is GAO’s comment on HHS’ memorandum dated July 10, 1997.


              1. In commenting, HHS referred to our next mandated annual report on
GAO Comment   treatment-based drug courts. However, we were only mandated under
              Title V of the 1994 Violent Crime Act to do a one-time study of the impact
              and effectiveness of federal grants administered under this act.




              Page 150                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix VII

Comments From the State Justice Institute


Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.




Now pages 11, Fn 16, and
26.

See comment 1.




See comment 2.




                             Page 151   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix VII
Comments From the State Justice Institute




Page 152                                    GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix VII
Comments From the State Justice Institute




Page 153                                    GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
               Appendix VII
               Comments From the State Justice Institute




               The following are GAO’s comments on SJI’s letter dated July 7, 1997.


               1. SJI commented that the report should describe it as a “federally funded
GAO Comments   private organization.” We have modified the report to reflect this
               comment.

               2. SJI raised concerns with the presentation of SJI’s level of funding in
               support of drug court program operations. We have revised our graphic
               presentation of funding in chapter 2 to show SJI’s percentage of the federal
               sources of funding and have further clarified that, with respect to drug
               court programs, SJI has provided grants primarily in support of evaluation
               studies of drug court programs.




               Page 154                                    GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix VIII

Comments From the National Association of
Drug Court Professionals




                Page 155     GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix VIII
Comments From the National Association of
Drug Court Professionals




Page 156                                    GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix VIII
Comments From the National Association of
Drug Court Professionals




Page 157                                    GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix IX

Comments From the Drug Court
Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance
Project
Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.




                             Page 158   GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                 Appendix IX
                 Comments From the Drug Court
                 Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance
                 Project




See comment 1.




                 Page 159                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                 Appendix IX
                 Comments From the Drug Court
                 Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance
                 Project




See comment 2.




                 Page 160                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                 Appendix IX
                 Comments From the Drug Court
                 Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance
                 Project




See comment 3.




See comment 4.




                 Page 161                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
                 Appendix IX
                 Comments From the Drug Court
                 Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance
                 Project




See comment 5.




See comment 6.




                 Page 162                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
               Appendix IX
               Comments From the Drug Court
               Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance
               Project




               The following are GAO’s comments on the Drug Court Clearinghouse’s
               memorandum dated July 8, 1997.


               1. The Drug Court Clearinghouse suggested that we include commentary
GAO Comments   in this report on the complexity and urgency of maintaining follow-up data
               on program participants. In chapter 4 of this report, we provided
               information on the complexity of collecting and maintaining follow-up
               data on drug court program participants. We also recognized the need on
               the part of the drug court community to work together to identify and take
               steps to collect and maintain such data. In addition, we provided
               information on legal and regulatory restrictions associated with accessing
               confidential information, including a discussion of exceptions granted to
               researchers, auditors, and evaluators.

               2. The Drug Court Clearinghouse commented that it was unaware of any
               drug courts that accept participants with current violent offense charges.
               Information presented in chapter 3 of this report was derived directly from
               drug court program officials responding to our survey questionnaire,
               which in some cases included judges, program coordinators/directors,
               and/or court administrators. The responses only indicate the programs’
               policies regarding accepting violent offenders and not the extent to which
               they actually have such participants, if any, in their programs.

               3. The Drug Court Clearinghouse commented that it did not know of any
               drug courts that permit individuals to participate who do not have
               substance abuse problems. We have corrected chapter 3 of this report to
               accurately reflect that 17 percent of the 134 drug court programs we
               surveyed said that they would admit offenders without a substance
               addiction.

               4. The Drug Court Clearinghouse commented that it believed the level of
               funding contributions provided by HHS in support of drug court program
               operations to be lower than we presented. Information presented in our
               report was derived directly from HHS’ CSAT.

               5. The Drug Court Clearinghouse suggested that this report be revised to
               distinguish between drug courts that received federal support and those
               that did not; and, of those drug courts that received federal support, those
               that received funding under the Violent Crime Act and those that received
               other federal funding. Because Violent Crime Act funded programs were
               just emerging and relatively few studies, if any, had been completed at the



               Page 163                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix IX
Comments From the Drug Court
Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance
Project




time of our review, we reached agreement with the Senate and House
Judiciary Committees to expand the objectives and scope of this review to
include an overview of growth, characteristics, and results of drug court
programs, including assessing all sources of funding.

6. The Drug Court Clearinghouse commented that Violent Crime Act
funded drug court programs may be in a better position to more readily
provide available data to support recidivism and sobriety goals than other
programs because they have had the benefit of more systematic planning,
training, and technical assistance. As noted in chapter 4, the results from
our survey showed no significant difference between the collection and
maintenance of data for Violent Crime Act funded drug court programs
and those receiving other sources of funding. Additionally, as we point out
in our conclusions presented in chapter 5, until post-program data on
program participants outcomes (criminal recidivism and/or relapse) are
made available for future impact evaluations, and/or until the scope of
impact evaluations includes post-program assessments, program officials,
researchers, and/or evaluators will not be able to adequately provide
Congress and other interested parties with answers on the overall impact
and effectiveness of drug court programs in comparison to other
traditional adjudication systems. Therefore, as we conclude and
recommend in chapter 5 of this report, it is essential that follow-up
information be collected and maintained not only for Violent Crime Act
funded programs but all federally funded drug court programs, regardless
of federal funding source.




Page 164                                 GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
Appendix X

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Daniel C. Harris, Assistant Director
General Government      Charles Michael Johnson, Evaluator-in-Charge
Division, Washington,   Barry J. Seltser, Supervisory Social Science Analyst
D.C.                    Douglas M. Sloane, Supervisory Social Science Analyst
                        David P. Alexander, Senior Social Science Analyst
                        Stuart M. Kaufman, Senior Social Science Analyst
                        Pamela V. Williams, Communications Analyst
                        Thelma Jones, Writer-Editor
                        George H. Quinn, Computer Specialist
                        Katherine M. Wheeler, Publishing Advisor
                        Jena Sinkfield, Administrative Assistant


                        Jan B. Montgomery, Assistant General Counsel
Office of the General   Ann H. Finley, Senior Attorney
Counsel, Washington,
D.C.




                        Page 165                               GAO/GGD-97-106 Overview of Drug Courts
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