U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Effectiveness of Drug Treatment Courts: Evidence From A Randomized Trial

NCJ Number
Criminology & Public Policy Volume: 2 Issue: 2 Dated: 2003 Pages: 171-196
Date Published
26 pages

This article reports on an evaluation study that randomly assigned 235 offenders to drug treatment court (DTC) or “treatment as usual.” 


Analyses of official records collected over a 2-year follow-up period showed that DTC was reducing crime in a population of drug-addicted offenders. DTC subjects who participated in treatment were significantly less likely to recidivate than both untreated drug court subjects and control subjects. The evaluation concluded that enthusiasm for DTCs is warranted. Both sanctions and treatment are important elements of the DTC model; however, DTCs will not necessarily result in cost reductions, because DTC and control cases are incarcerated for approximately equal numbers of days. Implementation fidelity is important, and DTCs can be strengthened if they engage a higher percentage of their clients in drug treatment. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2003