Juvenile Drug Courts: An Aggregate Outcome Evaluation

Deborah Koetzle Shaffer, University of Cincinnati
Shelley Johnson Listwan, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Edward J. Latessa, University of Cincinnati

While the drug court model appears to be effective for adults, relatively little is known about its effectiveness with juveniles. This study presents findings from an outcome evaluation of three juvenile drug courts in the State of Ohio. While the programs differ in terms of size and region, they adhere to the "typical" drug court model by providing community based treatment, judicial monitoring, and frequent urinalysis. A non-equivalent control group design was used to compare juvenile drug court participants with a matched group of probationers. Groups were matched with regard to selected demographic characteristics as well as the presence of a substance abuse problem. Data were collected on demographic characteristics, offense and disposition, prior criminal history, drug use and treatment, treatment placement and outcome, court reported violations, and termination status of drug court participants. Recidivism data were collected between October, 2001 and January, 2002. Logistic regression was used to estimate the probability of rearrest. Drug court participants were significantly less likely to be rearrested than probationers.

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Updated 05/20/2006