U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Drug Night Courts: How Feasible Are They? Assessing Cook County's Example

NCJ Number
B E Smith; R C Davis; S R Goretsky; A J Lurigio; S J Popkin
Date Published
July 1993
5 pages
Publication Series
This paper presents the results of an evaluation of Cook County's (Illinois) drug night court, which is designed to relieve overburdened court facilities without the cost of building new court buildings.
Although evening court operation is an appealing concept, some have raised concerns about efficiency, practicality, and quality of justice. This current research was undertaken to address such concerns in its assessment of drug night court operations in Cook County, the only court in the country that has a drug night court. The study found that night court operations can be efficient; Cook County cut processing time for narcotics cases dramatically. Cook County has also shown that there are a number of innovative ways to recruit motivated and well-qualified staff for night courts. To maintain high morale and efficiency among staff, however, those who manage night courts must be alert to special problems their staff members may encounter when working at night. Vigilance can ensure that drug night courts do not compromise the quality of justice in narcotics cases. There is no factor inherent in night courts that should undermine the quality of court operations. The evaluation concludes that night court is a viable and less costly alternative to the construction of new buildings and the hiring of additional personnel.

Date Published: July 1, 1993