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Development of a Standardized Drug Court Data System in the Rural Western State of Montana

NCJ Number
Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Dated: April - June 2013 Pages: 127-142
Timothy B. Conley, Ph.D.; Hayley Allen-Blakney, L.C.S.W.; Elisabeth Stoeckel, M.S.W.
Date Published
June 2013
16 pages
This study attemps to align Montana's drug courts with national standards by generating quality data.
Drug courts in Montana developed organically over a decade based on local needs, interests, and resources. Each court approached implementation and evaluation of its program in different ways, with courts focusing on different populations (juvenile, family, adult misdemeanor, and felony). Research has not previously documented the process of unifying evaluation for a rural drug court system. This article traces the process of standardizing these 12 unique local programs under a central administrative and evaluative framework that meets the needs and challenges of a rural western State, as well as national standards and best practices for the drug court model. The combined sample included 333 drug court cases covering an 18-month time period. Results of the study indicate that different populations have different outcomes, generally consistent with existing drug court program evaluation literature; standardization of data has yielded a clearer picture of drug court efficacy for all stakeholders. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.