U.S. flag

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

Examining Individual Characteristics and Program Performance to Understand Two-Year Recidivism Rates Among Drug Court Participants: Comparing Graduates and Terminators

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 62 Issue: 13 Dated: 2018 Pages: 4196-4220
L. M. Shannon; A. J. Jones; J. Newell; C. Payne
Date Published
25 pages
Since drug courts strive to break the cycle of substance use and crime by providing community-based treatment and rehabilitation, the objectives of the current study were to (a) identify significantly different factors between program participants (i.e., graduates/terminators) that may affect recidivism and (b) examine these significant individual and program performance factors associated with 2-year recidivism.
Secondary data were examined for a stratified random sample of 534 drug court participants. Examining any 2-year post-program recidivism (defined as an arrest, conviction, or incarceration), over one third (37.6 percent) of graduates and almost all program terminators (95.3 percent) had 2-year post-program recidivism ( p < .001). For the overall sample, age, outpatient treatment, marital status, number of times treated for a psychiatric problem in a hospital, substance use (i.e., past-30-day cocaine use and intravenous opiate use), number of positive drug tests, and receiving any sanction/therapeutic response were associated with 2-year post-program recidivism. Further analyses suggested age and outpatient treatment were particularly important for program graduates. Findings provide information for early targeting of resources to drug court participants most at risk of poorer post-program outcomes by identifying factors known at program entry and indicators during program participation. (publisher abstract modified)