Evaluating Juvenile Drug Courts: A New Direction

Denise C. Herz, California State University, Los Angeles
Judy Phelps, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Abbey DeBuse, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Previous evaluations of adult drug courts have demonstrated positive outcoems for drug treatment participants but have been limited becuase of the inadequate comparison groups and the use official reports of new arrests and drug use. Additionally, there is limited research available on the effectiveness of juvenile drug courts. The purpose of this presentation is to present the results from a tri-county juvnile drug court evaluation study conducted in Nebraska. The research presented will expand the evaluation discussion to juvenile drug courts and improve upon previous drug court evaluations by (1) using a matched comparison group drawn from eligible (but not placed) offenders; (2) using pre- and post-program self-reports of delinquency and drug use; and (3) examining the role of individual and social factors (e.g., level of substance abuse, living situation, school status/performance, mental health problems, risk level) on program outcomes.

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Updated 05/20/2006