Adult Drug Courts: An Assessment of Program Effectiveness

Jacqueline M. Mullany, Indiana University - Northwest
Barbara Peat, Indiana University - South Bend

What began in 1989 as an experiment by the Dade County (Florida) Circuit Court has evolved into a national movement to sentence substance abusing offenders to "Drug Court." This paper focuses on an evaluation of the Saint Joseph's County Substance Abuse Program (CSAP) in South Bend, Indiana, a drug court in operation since 1997. Unlike many traditional treatment and justice programs, CSAP views becoming sober as just the first step toward making positive lifestyle changes. The unique and highly structured approach of the progra focuses on education, employment, and community service, working with clients for a minimum of 12 months. In our process evaluation, we explore several questions including: (1) Have the program goals and objectives been met? (2) Did the program reach the intended target population? (3) Were the services provided as proposed? And (4) What specific challenges have been encountered and how have they been addressed?

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Updated 05/20/2006