Evaluating Treatment Drug Courts in Kansas City, Missouri and Pensacola, Florida

Linda Truitt, Abt Associates Inc.
William Rhodes, Abt Associates Inc.

ABSTRACT
Background

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded Abt Associates Inc. a grant to evaluate adult treatment drug court programs in two phases and at two sitesCEscambia County (Pensacola), Florida and Jackson County (Kansas City), Missouri. In addition to a review of the literature, Phase I involved a retrospective study of the 1993-1997 cohorts including: case studies - documenting program development, policies and procedures, caseflow, and lessons learned; and, impact evaluations - using survival analysis to assess the effects of the drug court programs on criminal recidivism among felony drug offenders.

Phase II was a prospective study for the 1999-2000 cohorts that involved: program retention models - using logistic regression to predict program status, and survival analysis to predict length of stay, based on intake interview data; and, descriptive analyses - exploring Escambia County court data for recorded events, and followup interview data from both programs' participants for self-reported events and perceptions, concerning the period of program participation.

A separate technical report was produced for each phase, but they are complementary and should be read in conjunction. The following provides an overview of the research design and findings pertaining to the case studies, the impact evaluations, and program status modeling. In preview, the impact evaluation demonstrated that both programs were successful in reducing recidivism rates, and that the time until rearrest increased with participation in Jackson County. In Escambia County, 49% of the Phase II cohort graduated and 14% remained active in the program; in Jackson County, 28% graduated and 23% remained active. Demographics were the best predictors of program status (graduate or active), while treatment motivation, alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and dependency, and mental health varied in influence; these factors also varied in influence by site.

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Updated 05/20/2006