A Cost Benefit Evaluation of California Drug Courts
Considering its large population and rapidly changing demographics, California is an ideal testing ground for collaborative justice models, such as drug courts. While outcome data exist for a limited number of drug courts in the state, there have not been any comprehensive studies conducted on an individual court or statewide basis to determine the cost effectiveness of drug court programs.1 NPC Research was funded to complete an initial, intensive evaluation phase in three adult drug courts, in Butte County, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Phase 2 extended the evaluation to six additional courts, leading to Phase 3, which included all adult drug courts in California.
The purposes of this evaluation was to:
1. Answer two critical drug court policy questions:
- Are adult drug courts cost beneficial?
- What adult drug court practices are most promising and cost beneficial? (for example, in lowering recidivism, improving public safety, and rehabilitating lives
2. Develop a methodology that can be used by drug courts statewide for ongoing cost-benefit evaluation beyond the conclusion of this project.The study developed procedures for efficiently gathering relevant, reliable and consistent information both on an individual court and statewide basis. With nearly 25 percent of all U.S. Drug Courts located in California, the state offered the chance to gather key information and develop evaluation procedures applicable to drug courts nationally.
Project TeamCo-Principal Investigators
Reports and Publications
|Carey, S. M., & Waller, M. S. (Dec. 2008). California Drug Courts: Costs and Benefits PHASE III: DC-CSET Statewide Launch Superior Court of Sacramento County Sacramento Drug Court Site-Specific Report. A report to the California Administrative Office of the Courts.
|Carey, S. M., Pukstas, K., Waller, M. S., Mackin, R. M., & Finigan, M. W. (March 2008). Drug Courts and State-Mandated Drug Treatment Programs: Outcomes, Costs, and Consequences: Drug Court and Proposition 36 in California. NPC Research: Portland, OR.
Report | Executive Summary | Abstract
|Carey, S. M., Finigan, M. W., Crumpton, D., & Waller, M. S. (2006). California Drug Courts: Outcomes, Costs and Promising Practices: An Overview of Phase II in a Statewide Study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 38 (4),345-356.
|Carey, S. M., Crumpton, D., Finigan, M. W., & Waller, M. S. (Aug. 2005). California Drug Courts: A Methodology for Determining Costs and Benefits PHASE II: Testing the Methodology: Final Report. NPC Research: Portland, OR.
|Carey, S. M., Finigan, M. W., Crumpton, D., & Worcel, S. D. (Jan. 2003). California Drug Courts: A Methodology for Determining Costs and Avoided Costs, Phase I: Building the Methodology, Final Report.