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A Meta-Analytic Examination of Drug Treatment Courts: Do They Reduce Recidivism?

NCJ Number
Jeff Latimer; Kelly Morton-Bourgon; Jo-Anne Chretien
Date Published
August 2006
24 pages

This document presents a meta-analysis of 54 studies deemed acceptable according to study inclusion criteria, and included data from a total of 66 individual drug treatment court programs, that were aggregated and analyzed with the goal of determining whether drug treatment courts are a viable method for reducing crime among offenders with substance abuse programs.


The authors of this document conducted a meta-analysis to determine if drug treatment courts reduce recidivism compared to traditional justice system responses. They aggregated and analyzed 54 studies that provided data from 66 individual drug treatment court (DTC) programs. The results indicated that DTCs significantly reduced the recidivism rates of participants by 14 percent compared to offenders within the control or comparison groups. The authors identified several variables in the analysis that had an impact on the results, including: age of participants; length of the program; follow-up period used to measure recidivism; and other methodological variables, such as the use of random assignment and the choice of comparison group. They concluded that the results of the meta-analysis provide clear support for the use of DTCs as a method of reducing crime among offenders with substance abuse problems. The authors did not analyze cost-effectiveness of DTCs.