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Baltimore County Juvenile Drug Court Outcome and Cost Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2010
53 pages

This report provides an overview of the Baltimore County Juvenile Drug Court program model and describes the outcome-impact evaluation process and results, including a cost evaluation of the program and its outcomes.


This document presents a study of the Baltimore County Juvenile Drug Court (JDC) program. The authors address three key policy questions about drug courts, which are of interest to program practitioners, researchers, and policymakers: if the JDC reduces substance abuse among program participants; if the JDC program reduces recidivism in the juvenile justice system; and if the JDC results in saving taxpayer dollars. The authors answer all three questions in the affirmative, based on the results of the study data. Results showed positive outcomes for drug court participants compared to youth with similar demographic characteristics and criminal histories but who did not participate in the drug court. JDC youth had significant reductions in substance use and offending over time, and significantly fewer new arrests than the comparison group; they also cost the juvenile justice system less money after program participation than did youth in the comparison group who experienced traditional court processing. The authors do note, however, that the program may want to assess its use of detention, as it is a high-cost sanction and does not result in improved outcomes, and they discuss whether there are alternative sanctions that might be utilized with higher effectiveness.

Date Published: January 1, 2010