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Drug Court Effectiveness: A Matched Cohort Study in the Dane County Drug Treatment Court

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 50 Issue: 1-4 Dated: May - June 2011 Pages: 191-201
Randall Brown
Date Published
11 pages
This study sought to overcome concerns present in comparison groups in drug treatment courts.
Drug treatment courts (DTCs) are widely viewed as effective diversion programs for drug-involved offenders; however, previous studies frequently used flawed comparison groups. In the current study, the author compared rates of recidivism for drug court participants to rates for a traditionally adjudicated comparison group matched on potentially important characteristics. The Wisconsin Circuit Court database was searched for individuals with drug-related charges during the period from 2004-2006. Of the resulting data set, 137 DTC participants were identified. These DTC participants were then matched on age, gender, ethnicity, and criminal history to traditionally adjudicated individuals (non-DTC, n = 274). Kaplan-Meier curves of time to new crime were compared for the two main study groups and for potentially important subgroups. The DTC group demonstrated longer time to new crime (p = 0.028). Reductions in recidivism for DTC versus non-DTC were enhanced for women, older individuals, minorities, and those with more serious criminal histories. (Published Abstract)