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Process Evaluation of the Kootenai County Drug Court

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2002
27 pages
This process evaluation of the Kootenai County Drug Court (Idaho) focuses on a description of program design and the implementation of the drug court while presenting a design for a future outcome evaluation.
The evaluation examines the established goals of the project and assesses accomplishments to date; provides qualitative analysis to provide insight into the development and establishment of a drug court in the community; and identifies general outcome measures for analysis of a future outcome evaluation. Data on client demographics, urinalysis, and sanctions were obtained from the Kootenai County Drug Court database. Interviews were conducted with all but two staff members in order to elicit information, attitudes, opinions, and perspectives regarding the drug court. Observations of court operations were conducted in order to gain an understanding of the context in which program activities occur and to allow for an inductive discovery-oriented approach. The Drug Court has been operating for approximately 24 months at the time of this evaluation. The original goals of the Drug Court were to save money by reducing recidivism and substance abuse among nonviolent offenders; to promote awareness that drug abuse is not a victimless crime; and to hold drug abusers accountable for their decisions while providing mandatory, intensive treatment combined with drug testing and the use of graduated sanctions and rewards. Thus far, the process evaluation has determined that Drug Court personnel must be committed to and believe in the project if it is to be effective; that team rapport is essential prior to the start of a drug court; that training should be group-oriented and involve dialog; that all possible stakeholders in the community should meet prior to the start of the program; and that the staff must be educated in treatment and recovery issues. Other findings of the evaluation are that a treatment facility must meet the needs of the court, since limitations in inpatient treatment services directly relate to client eligibility and composition.