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NCJ Number: NCJ 203587     Find in a Library
Title: Implementing a Drug Court in Queens County: A Process Evaluation
Author(s): Rachael Porter
Corporate Author: Vera Institute of Justice
United States of America
Date Published: 08/2000
Page Count: 31
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Drug Courts Program Office
United States of America
Sale Source: Vera Institute of Justice
233 Broadway, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10279
United States of America

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Document: PDF 
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report presents findings of an evaluation and implementation study of the Queens Treatment Court.
Abstract: In May of 1998, the Queens Treatment Court began providing drug treatment sentences for substance abusers charged with their first nonviolent drug felony offense. In exchange for engaging in at least 1 year of substance abuse treatment, eligible drug offenders have their criminal charges dismissed. However, the court imposes a minimum of a one year jail sentence on offenders who fail in their treatment. In lieu of plea negotiations, the judge, assistant district attorney, and defense attorney collectively decide the eligibility of defendants based on their current charges and criminal history. Those who are found eligible are screened for substance abuse problems by treatment specialists. Professionals of the court and treatment practitioners continue to work together with the defendant to reward positive behavior and punish misbehavior. The current evaluation examined the Court’s first 18 months of operation. Evaluators observed court and treatment operations; interviewed court stakeholders and treatment providers; reviewed relevant documents; and analyzed demographic, educational, vocational, and criminal history data, as well as court outcomes for 307 people who were served by the Court between May 1998 and March 2000. Overall, the evaluation revealed that, despite some weaknesses, the Queens Treatment Court is an effective drug court that emulates the national model of a drug court. Specifically, the evaluation showed that the court has effectively implemented a nonadversarial, team approach; that the court serves primarily an underprivileged clientele; and that the treatment court judge provides defendants with the authority and support they need to succeed. Challenges include the fact that court and treatment providers need to tailor services for offenders with different patterns of drug use. Furthermore, there is some evidence that the drug court casts too wide of a net and is unduly burdening individuals who have minor drug problems and would not have ended up in jail based on their current charges. Despite these challenges, the court has successfully utilized an extensive network of local programs to offer a range of drug treatment services to participants. Tables
Main Term(s): Criminal justice evaluation ; Drug Courts
Index Term(s): Program evaluation ; Drug treatment programs ; Drug offenders ; New York
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