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Courts Service: Final Evaluation of the Pilot Drug Court

NCJ Number
Michael Farrell
Date Published
October 2002
123 pages
This report presents the findings from the final evaluation of the Irish Pilot Drug Court.
The evaluation study of the Irish Pilot Drug Court was conducted during the period January 16, 2001, through January 31, 2002. Section 1 details the three main components of the final evaluation, which included a process evaluation, an outcomes evaluation, and a cost effectiveness evaluation. Data consist of observations of pre-court meetings and sittings of the drug court, observations of team meetings, interviews with key stakeholders, questionnaire data from drug court participants and drug court team members, recidivism information, and financial information of the drug court. Section 2 describes the origins of the Irish Drug Court and the parameters under which it operates. Section 3 describes the operation of the Irish Drug Court, including its structural elements and the operational changes that have evolved over the course of the pilot project. The drug court offers a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to treatment and justice, incorporating an education coordinator, a Community Welfare Officer, and a wide array of service providers. Section 4 examines drug courts from other countries, while section 5 discusses the rationale for the establishment of the drug court system in Ireland. Section 6 presents the results of the process evaluation, which concludes that the mission and objectives of the drug court need to be better communicated and more referrals to the drug court should be made. The most important finding concerns the difficulty in providing participants with a full range of treatment services. Section 7 discusses the results of the outcome evaluation, which indicates that the longer participants remained in the drug court program, the less likely they were to be arrested for another drug offense. At the close of the evaluation period, 30 percent of participants showed clean urinalysis results. Section 8 overviews the results of the cost effectiveness evaluation, which reveals several areas where efficiency could be improved. Finally, sections 9 and 10 set out the general conclusions and recommendations of the final evaluation. The Irish Drug Court has implemented all the key components associated with international best practices of drug courts. Weaknesses and challenges of the drug court have already begun to be addressed by the stakeholders. Tables, figures