A Randomized Study of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court: Results From the Three-Year Follow-Up

Denise C. Gottfredson, University of Maryland at College Park
Stacy Skroban Najaka, University of Maryland at College Park
Brook Kearley, University of Maryland at College Park

ABSTRACT
This paper summarizes data from a three-year follow-up study of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court. The study randomly assigned 235 eligible offenders to either drug treatment court or traditional court processing between February, 1997 and August, 1998. Official record data were collected on recidivism, treatment, supervision, and time spent behind bars through 36 months following randomization. In addition, follow-up interviews were conducted with the stuy participants to measure the relative importance of the different mechanisms through which drug treatment courts might work. Previously reported analyses of the one- and two-year official record data showed that the drug court program reduced criminal offending among program participants. Although the amount of services received by the average drug court subject was not as high as intdnded, drug court subjects were significantly less likely than control subjects to re-offend. The current research assesses whether the promising findings from the first two years of the study persisted through the third year. it also seeks to enhance understanding of the mechanisms contributing to the effectiveness of drug courts. Interview data are used to test the mechanism(s) leading to crime reduction, including probation supervision and monitoring, personal accountability for behavior, drug treatment and other servicrs, and perceptions of procedural justice.

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Updated 05/20/2006