The Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court: One-Year Results from a Randomized Study
Group: University of Maryland Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
This evaluation of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court randomly assigned 235 eligible clients to either drug treatment court or “treatment as usual.” The program provides an alternative to incarceration for drug-involved, nonviolent offenders. Drug court judges imposed harsher sentences but suspended these sentences conditional on compliance with the drug court regimen. Drug court clients were more likely than controls to participate in drug testing and treatment and to attend status hearings. During the 12 months following the date of randomization into the study, 48 percent of drug treatment court clients and 64 percent of controls were arrested for new offenses. Among the more serious cases heard in the circuit court, 32 percent of drug court clients versus 57 percent of controls were rearrested. When differences in the opportunity to reoffend are taken into consideration, controls were arrested at a rate nearly three times that of drug treatment court clients.
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