This study uses an experimental design comparing 235 offenders assigned either to drug treatment court or treatment as usual. It extends prior analyses of this study sample to examine whether differences observed between drug treatment court subjects and control subjects at one and two years after the start of the program persist after three years, when many of the subjects had ceased active treatment. Further, it extends earlier analyses that showed that the quantity of drug treatment court services received was related to lower recidivism rates by using an instrumental variables approach to handle the endogeneity problem that sometimes arises when subjects self-select into different levels of service. Results show a sustained treatment effect on recidivism, controlling for time at risk. This effect is not limited to the period during which services are delivered. Rather, it persists even after participation in the drug court program ceases. Results also show that the recidivism is lowest among subjects who participate at higher levels in certified drug treatment, status hearings, and drug testing. These positive findings are tempered with findings that more than three-fourths of clients are re-arrested within three years, regardless of participation in the drug treatment court, and that drug treatment court cases spend approximately the same number of days incarcerated as do control cases. Implications for strengthening drug treatment courts are discussed.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Anglin, D. M. & Hser, Y. (1990). Legal coercion and drug abuse treatment: Research findings and social policy implications. In J. A. Inciardi (Ed.), Handbook of drug control in the United States. Westport, CT: Greenwood.
Angrist, J. D. (2005). Instrumental variable methods in experimental criminological research: What, why and how. Available at http://www.nber.org/papers/t0314.
Banks, D. & Gottfredson, D. C. (2003). The effects of drug treatment and supervision on time to re-arrest among drug treatment court participants. Journal of Drug Issues 33(2), 385–412.
Banks, D. & Gottfredson, D. C. (2004). Participation in drug treatment court and time to re-arrest. Justice Quarterly 21(3), 637–658.
Bar Association of Baltimore City (1990). The drug crisis and underfunding of the justice system in Baltimore city. Report of the Russell Committee 9.
Belenko, S. (1993). Crack and the evolution of anti-drug policy. Contributions in Criminology and Penology 42(10), 13–15.
Belenko, S. (1998). Research on drug courts: A critical review. National Drug Court Institute Review I(1), 1–42.
Belenko, S. (1999). Research on drug courts: A critical review, 1999 update. National Drug Court Institute Review II(2), 1–58.
Belenko, S. (2001). Research on drug courts: A critical review, 2001 update. New York: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
Collins, J. J. & Allison, B. (1983). Legal coercion and retention in drug abuse treatment. Hospital Community Psychiatry 34, 1145–1149.
Cooper, C. S. (1997). Drug court survey report: Executive summary. Available Online: http://www.american.edu/academic.depts/spa/justice/publications/exec1.htm.
Deschenes, E. P., Turner, S. & Greenwood, P. W. (1995). Drug court or probation? An experimental evaluation of Maricopa County's drug court. The Justice System Journal 18, 55–73.
Drug Courts Program Office (1997). Defining drug courts: The key components. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.
Finigan, M. W. (1999). Assessing cost off-sets in a drug court setting. National Drug Court Institute Review 15(1), 41–51.
Foster, E. M. & McLanahan, S. (1996). An illustration of the use of instrumental variables: Do neighborhood conditions affect a young person's chance of finishing high school? Psychological Methods 1, 249–260.
Goldkamp, J. S. & Weiland, D. (1993). Assessing the impact of Dade County's felony drug court: Research in brief. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.
Goldkamp, J. S., White, M. D. & Robinson, J. B. (2001a). Context and change: The evolution of pioneering drug courts in Portland and Las Vegas (1991–1998). Law & Policy 23(2), 143–170.
Goldkamp, J. S., White, M. D. & Robinson, J. B. (2001b). Do drug courts work? Getting inside the drug court black box. Journal of Drug Issues 31, 27–72.
Gottfredson, D. C. & Exum, L. M. (2002). The Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court: One-year results from a randomized study. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 39, 337–356.
Gottfredson, D. C., Coblentz, K., & Harmon, M. A. (1997). A short-term outcome evaluation of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court program. Perspectives, Winter: 33–38.
Gottfredson, D. C., Kearley, B. W., Najaka, S. S. & Rocha, C. M. (2003a). The Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court: Three-year self-report outcome study. Evaluation Review 29(1), 42–64.
Gottfredson, D. C., Kearley, B., Najaka, S. S. & Rocha, C. (2003b). Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court: Evaluation of client self-reports at three-year follow-up. Technical report available from the authors.
Gottfredson, D. C., Najaka, S. S. & Kearley, B. (2003c). Effectiveness of drug treatment courts: Evidence from a randomized trial. Criminology and Public Policy 2(2), 171–196.
Hare, R. D., Harpur, T. J., Hakstian, A. R., Forth, A. E., Hart, S. D. & Newman, J. P. (1990). The revised Psychopathy Checklist: Reliability and factor structure. Psychological Assessment 2, 338–341.
Harrell, A., Cavanagh, S. & Roman, J. (1998). Findings from the evaluation of the D.C. Superior Court Drug Intervention Program: Final report. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute.
Harrison, L. D. & Scarpitti, F. R. (2002). Drug treatment courts: Progress and issues. Substance Use and Misuse 37, 1441–1467.
Hora, P. F., Schma, W. G. & Rosenthal, J. T. (1999). Therapeutic jurisprudence and the drug treatment court movement: Revolutionizing the criminal justice system's response to drug abuse and crime in America. Notre Dame Law Review 74(2), 439–538.
Lipsey, M. W. (1992). Juvenile delinquency treatment: A meta-analytic inquiry into the variability of effects. In T. D. Cook, H. Cooper, D. S. Cordray, H. Hartmann, L. V. Hedges, R. J. Light, T. A. Louis & F. Mosteller (Eds.), Meta-analysis for explanation (pp. 83–127). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Lipsey, M. W. & Wilson, D. B. (2001). Practical meta-analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Longshore, D., Turner, S., Wenzel, S., Morral, A., Harrell, A., McBride, D., Deschenes, E. & Iguchi, M. (2001). Drug courts: A conceptual framework. Journal of Drug Issues 31, 7–26.
McColl, W. D. (1996). Baltimore City's Drug Treatment Court: Theory and practice in an emerging field. Maryland Law Review 55(2), 467–518.
McLellan, A. T., Kushner, H., Metzger, D., Peters, R., Smith, I., Grissom, G., Pettinati, H. & Argeriou, M. (1992). The fifth edition of the Addiction Severity Index. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 9, 199–213.
Office of Justice Programs Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project (2001). Drug court activity update: Summary information on all programs and detailed information on adult drug courts, June, 2001. Available Online: http://www.american. edu/academic.depts/spa/justice/publications/allcourtactivity.pdf.
Office of Justice Programs Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project (2004). Summary of drug court activity by state and county, May, 2004. Available Online: http://www.american.edu/academic.depts/spa/justice/publications/drugchart2k.pdf.
Peters, R. H. & Murrin, M. R. (1998). Evaluation of Treatment-Based Drug Courts in Florida's First Judicial Circuit. Tampa, FL: Department of Mental Health, Law and Policy, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida.
Sechrest, D. K., Shichor, D., Artist, K. & Briceno, G. (1998). The Riverside County Drug Court: Final research report for the Riverside County Probation Department. Riverside County, CA: California State University, Criminal Justice Department, San Bernardino, CA.
Spohn, C., Piper, R. K., Martin, T. & Frenzel, E. D. (2001). Drug courts and recidivism: The results of an evaluation using two comparison groups and multiple indicators of recidivism. Journal of Drug Issues 31, 149–196.
Tonry, M. (1995). Malign neglect: Race, crime, and punishment in America. New York: Oxford University Press.
U.S. Department of Justice (1998). Looking at a decade of drug courts. NCJ 171140. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice.
U.S. General Accounting Office (1997). Drug courts: Overview of growth, characteristics, and results. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office.
U.S. General Accounting Office (2002). Drug courts: Better DOJ data collection and evaluation efforts needed to measure impact of drug court programs. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office.
Wilson, D. B., Mitchell, O. & MacKenzie, D. (2002). A systematic review of drug court effects on recidivism. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Chicago, IL.
Wish, E. D. & Johnson, B. D. (1986). The impact of substance abuse on criminal careers. In A. Blumstein, J. Cohen, J. A. Roth & C. A. Visher (Eds.), Criminal careers and “career criminals” (Vol. 2). Washington, D.C.: National Academy.
Wooldridge, J. M. (2002). Econometric analysis of cross-section and panel data. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
About this article
Cite this article
Gottfredson, D.C., Najaka, S.S., Kearley, B.W. et al. Long-term effects of participation in the Baltimore City drug treatment court: Results from an experimental study. J Exp Criminol 2, 67–98 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11292-005-5128-8
- drug treatment courts
- randomized experiment