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Special Drug Courts

NCJ Number
S Belenko; T Dumanovsky
Date Published
November 1993
26 pages
This report describes the development, operation, and results of special drug courts established in several jurisdictions in recent years to process felony drug cases and sometimes to link defendants to community-based drug treatment programs to reduce drug abuse and drug-related crime.
These courts are designed to relieve crowded felony dockets, reduce case processing time, and establish more creative and effective dispositions. By increasing the use of nonincarcerative sentencing alternatives for certain drug offenders, these special drug courts can also result in substantial cost savings to the criminal justice system. The two main types of drug courts are (1) those that use court- monitored drug treatment under a diversion, deferred prosecution, or deferred sentencing arrangement and (2) those that use differentiated case management or other special case processing procedures to speed the disposition of drug cases. All drug courts require several critical elements, including program planning and support, specific procedural elements, and management information system support. With few exceptions, the operations of the drug courts have met or exceeded the expectations of those involved in their planning and operation. Several research studies and reports, including two recent reports by the American Bar Association, have focused on the operations, time to disposition, recidivism rates, and case processing costs. Program profiles, lists of contacts, and 15 references