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Drug Courts May Reap Big Savings for Corrections and Taxpayers

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 67 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2005 Pages: 24-25,111
Date Published
July 2005
3 pages
This article presents and discusses findings from a federally funded study evaluating the effectiveness of the Multnomah County Drug Court program in Oregon.
A study supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice evaluating the Multnomah County Drug Court in Oregon showed that participating offenders were rearrested less frequently than offenders going through traditional court. Drug court participants cost local taxpayers $5,071 less on average over a 30-month period than those processed through traditional court. The savings were attributed to the reductions in jail time showing promise for drug courts in containing correctional costs, as well as achieving effective treatment for drug-abusing offenders. The article begins with a descriptive comparison of drug court versus traditional court in the processing of offenders followed with a brief examination of the cost savings, types of costs, treatment outcomes of drug court participants, and the average investment cost for a drug court participant and a traditional court participant. Overall, the drug courts saved Multnomah County more than $1.5 million per year or approximately $5,000 on average for each of the program participants in the study. The findings show that taxpayers may realize significant savings when drug courts are used as an alternative to incarceration for drug-involved offenders.

Date Published: July 1, 2005