Treatment Based Courts Significantly Reduce Criminal Recidivism Rates
Even with these courts gaining significant momentum and popularity within the justice system of the US, their ability to decrease repeat offenders has not been sufficiently studied. Although various assessments for these drug courts have established that participants are less likely to re-offend as compared to non-participants, methodological weaknesses have been noted in these assessments/studies (Belenko, 2001). Some of these weaknesses would be discussed below. Previous studies also indicate that the efficacy of drug courts in decreasing recidivism is considered the lowest among those with methodologically rigid processes (Belenko, 2001, Shafer, 2011. Wilson, Mitchell amp. MacKenzie, 2006). Also unresolved is the issue of drug courts’ duration and their impact on recidivism. Previous studies imply that the majority of the assessments evaluate recidivism within the period of involvement in drug courts or after their enrollment in the program (Wilson, et.al., 2006). In effect, the long-term effect of drug courts is not clear. Another matter of concern relates to the efficacy of non-traditional drug courts including the DWI courts and juvenile drug courts. Previous studies have not differentiated these courts and their impact on recidivism in relation to traditional and adult drug courts. Finally, it is also not clear what qualities of drug courts translate to better efficacy in terms of decreasing incidents of re-offending.Drug treatment courts are courts that specifically seek to decrease crimes arising from illicit drug dependency, using court-evaluated and monitored treatment, including community service for offenders with drug-related and other substance issues (Shaffer, 2011). The offenders, in this case, are managed under the court programs with the aid of prosecutors and defense lawyers who may recommend their enrolment into the program. They must, however, be eligibleto be placed under these programs. Some of the requirements include drug abuse and non-violent offenses (Shaffer, 2011). Their treatment also includes attendance of counseling sessions using a specifically structured outpatient program. Some participants are also included in the in-patient programs and are usually subjected to random drug tests while under the program (Shaffer, 2011).