Urban Institute National Drug Court Evaluation 2011
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Chapter 4 THE MULTI-SITE ADULT DRUG COURT EVALUATION: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY JUNE 2011 Shelli B. Rossman, The Urban Institute John K. Roman, The Urban Institute Janine M. Zweig, The Urban Institute Michael Rempel, Center for Court Innovation Christine H. Lindquist, RTI International FINAL REPORT: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Pre-Production Version Contributors: The Urban Institute Janeen Buck Willison P. Mitchell Downey Jennifer Yahner Center for Court Innovation Dana Kralstein Mia Green Kelli Henry RTI International Kristine Fahrney With Avinash S. Bhati, Donald J. Farole Jr., Erica Lagerson, Joshua Markman, and Courtney Schafer URBAN INSTITUTE Justice Policy Center Pre-Production Version URBAN INSTITUTE Justice Policy Center 2100 M STREET, NW The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders. WASHINGTON, DC 20037 www.urban.org © 2011 Urban Institute This project was supported by Award No. 2003-DC-BX-1001, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice. Pre-Production Version Acknowledgments The National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) Multi-Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation (MADCE) entailed multi-site, multi-year process, impact, and cost-benefit data collection, analysis, and reporting that required the collaboration of numerous individuals and organizations to whom we extend our appreciation for their contributions to the successful completion of this study. In particular, we thank the Office of Justice Programs for its support through the Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program, and for other support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. We also are deeply indebted to the judges, drug court coordinators, and staff of drug courts, as well as the administrators and staff of the comparison jurisdictions, whose efforts form the foundation without which this research would not have been possible: Florida Osceola County Drug Court⎯Kissimmee, FL Volusia County Adult Drug Court Program⎯Deland, FL Georgia Fulton County Drug Court⎯Atlanta, Georgia Hall County Drug Court⎯Gainesville, GA Illinois Cook County Drug Court Rehabilitation Alternative Program (R.A.P.)⎯Chicago, IL Kane County Rehabilitation Court⎯St. Charles, IL New York Auburn Drug and Alcohol Treatment Court⎯Auburn, NY Batavia City Drug Treatment Court⎯Batavia, NY City of Niagara Falls Drug Treatment Court⎯Niagara Falls, NY Finger Lakes Drug Court (Canandaigua City)⎯Canandaigua, NY Finger Lakes Drug Court, Felony Division (Ontario County)⎯Canandaigua, NY Lackawanna City Drug Court⎯Lackawanna, NY Syracuse Community Treatment Court⎯Syracuse, NY Wayne County Drug Treatment Court⎯Lyons, NY Pennsylvania Chester County Drug Court⎯West Chester, PA Philadelphia Treatment Court⎯Philadelphia, PA South Carolina York County Drug Treatment Court⎯York, SC Acknowledgments i Pre-Production Version Washington CHART Court (Snohomish County)⎯Everett, WA King County Drug Diversion Court⎯Seattle, WA Kitsap County Adult Drug Court⎯Port Orchard, WA Pierce County Felony Drug Court⎯Tacoma, WA Thurston County Drug Court Program⎯Olympia, WA Comparison Sites Human Services Associates, Inc.⎯Orlando, FL Stewart-Marchman Center for Chemical Independence⎯Daytona Beach, FL Illinois TASC⎯Chicago, IL Judicial Division 3, North Carolina Probation⎯NC Judicial Division 4, North Carolina Probation⎯NC Pierce County Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative and Breaking the Cycle⎯Tacoma, WA We further acknowledge the contributions and assistance of the National Crime Information Center at the Federal Bureau of Investigation for providing data from the Interstate Identification Index (III) System. Similarly, we thank the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ILCJIA), New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), North Carolina Department of Justice, North Carolina Department of Correction, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, South Carolina Office of Research and Statistics (SCORS), Washington Department of Corrections, and the State of Washington Administrative Office of the Courts for the provision of state-level official records data. We are also grateful to the county jails and state departments of corrections and their staffs that facilitated our ability to perform follow-up survey data collection with respondents who were incarcerated at the time their interviews were scheduled. The authors are solely responsible for any errors in the use of these data. During the course of this study, we had the good fortune to be guided by Janice Munsterman, our initial NIJ technical monitor and subsequently Director of the State Justice Institute; Christopher Innes, former Chief of the Justice Systems Research Division at NIJ and currently Chief of Research and Evaluation at the National Institute of Corrections; and Linda Truitt, who ably served as our NIJ technical monitor throughout most years of MADCE. We convened three working group meetings with public and private substantive and technical experts in April 2004, February 2006, and May 2009. We greatly appreciate the assistance and support we received from ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ Jennifer Columbel, formerly with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and currently at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Donald J. Farole, Jr., Bureau of Justice Statistics Michael Finigan, NPC Research Gerald Gaes, Florida State University Acknowledgments ii Pre-Production Version ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ Adele Harrell, former director of the Justice Policy Center at The Urban Institute Pamela Lattimore, RTI International Akiva Liberman, formerly with NIJ and currently at The Urban Institute Douglas Marlowe, Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania Antonio-Morgan Lopez, RTI International Ruby Qazilbash, Bureau of Justice Assistance David B. Wilson, Criminology, Law, and Society at George Mason University Philip Wirtz, School of Business and Public Management at The George Washington University Douglas Wissoker, The Urban Institute Aside from the authors, many staff of UI, RTI, and CCI supported this effort. We thank Nancy LaVigne, Director of the UI Justice Policy Center, and Terry Dunworth, former center director, for supporting this project from initiation through completion of the final report. We thank Ritahdi Chakravarti, Aaron Chalfin, Dionne Davis, Douglas Gilchrist-Scott, Rayanne Hawkins, Shalyn Johnson, Michael Kane, Carly Knight, Aaron Morrissey, Kevin Roland, and David D’Orio for their respective contributions in providing data collection, analytic, and administrative assistance to this effort. Lastly, we extend our thanks to the field coordinators and field supervisors, whose dedication to conducting baseline and follow-up interviews was critical to the research effort. Acknowledgments iii Pre-Production Version The Multi‐Site Adult Drug Court Evaluation: Executive Summary Introduction Drug courts emerged spontaneously during the late 1980s and early 1990s in response to burgeoning drug offender arrests and prosecutions that overwhelmed the capacity of numerous courts to expeditiously process such cases. In 2002, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) commissioned the first adult drug court evaluation that would select multiple sites from across the country. In 2003, researchers from the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center (UI-JPC), RTI International (RTI), and the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) teamed to conduct NIJ’s MultiSite Adult Drug Court Evaluation. The main objectives were as follows: • Test whether drug courts reduce drug use, crime, and multiple other problems associated with drug abuse, in comparison with similar offenders not exposed to drug courts. • Address how drug courts work and for whom by isolating key individual and program factors that make drug courts more or less effective in achieving their desired outcomes. • Explain how offender attitudes and behaviors change when they are exposed to drug courts and how these changes help explain the effectiveness of drug court programs. • Examine whether drug courts generate cost savings. This report provides an overview of the research design and key findings from the impact and cost-benefit evaluations, and identifies implications for policy and practice. The MADCE Research Design Despite the centrality of reducing drug use, most prior drug court evaluations relied on recidivism as the sole measure of impact. The MADCE, however, was planned to measure multiple outcomes (crime, drug use, socioeconomic outcomes, family functioning, and mental health) and to capture the intervening role of court policies and practices, offender perceptions, and interim compliance with program requirements (see Figure ES-1). The MADCE used a quasi-experimental design for which we conducted an extensive site selection process to identify drug court and comparison sites that met basic evaluability criteria and collectively reflected substantial variation in key drug court policies and practices. MADCE Executive Summary 1 Pre-Production Version Figure ES-1. MADCE Conceptual Framework Drug Court Context Target Population Severity Drug Court Practices Community Setting Drug Use Use of Legal Pressure -Demographics -Addiction severity -Severity of consequences for failure -Urbanicity -Drugs of abuse -Drug arrest rate -Drug use history -Poverty / economics Drug Laws -Mandatory sentences -Drug law severity Court Characteristics -Court size Criminality -Felony / misdemeanor charge -Recidivism risk — prior arrests / convictions -Opportunity to offend (street days) -Court resources Other Risk Factors -Health problems -Mental health problems -Employment problems -Housing instability -Family conflict -Family support -Close ties to drug users -Close ties to lawbreakers Individual Court Experiences -Drug Court participation -Age, gender, race -Marital status, children -Education, income In-Program Behavior Post-Program Outcomes Perceived Legal Pressure Compliance with Drug Intervention Reduced Drug Use -Severity and likelihood of termination and alternative sentence -Likelihood of entry -# and type of drug test violations -Drug testing requirements, practices Motivations -% treatment days attended -Sanctions rules, practices -Readiness to change stage -Treatment duration & retention -Supervision requirements/practices -Prosecution involvement -Interactions with judge and supervising officers Understanding of Rules -Court appearances -Received expected sanctions & rewards Drug Court Practices -Understood expected behavior -Leverage -Program intensity -Treatment graduation & termination -Reduction in health and mental health problems -Admission requirements -Certainty/severity of sanctions -Certainty & value of rewards -Drug Court graduation -Treatment requirements -Procedural justice -Support services by type – offered and used -Distributive justice -Personal involvement of judge & supervising officer -Any, type, and number of arrests / convictions post program -Case management FTAs – % of scheduled -Violations of supervision requirements Perceptions of Court Fairness -Any, type, and frequency of self-reported offending post-program Improved Functioning - General deterrence -Days of treatment by type Reduced Recidivism -Court FTAs – % of scheduled -Timeliness of intervention Drug Treatment -Results of saliva test -Decrease in postintervention incarceration -Rehabilitation focus -Completion requirements -Any, type, and frequency of self-reported use postprogram Compliance with Supervision Perceived Risk of Sanctions & Rewards -Predictability -Treatment history Demographics Offender Perceptions -Increase in likelihood and days of employment -Gains in economic self-sufficiency -Reductions in family problems Post-Program Use of Services -Type and amount of drug treatment/aftercare -Type and amount of other support services Between February and June 2004, we administered a web-based survey to every active adult drug court in operation for at least one year at that time (593), of which 380 courts (64 percent) responded (see Final Report, Volume 2). We used the survey data to choose 23 drug courts and 6 “comparison” sites from the same geographic areas in 8 states. Rather than including strict “no treatment” conditions, we sought comparison sites that reflect the diverse array of activities that are employed to assist drug-involved offenders in jurisdictions without drug courts. These sites included several Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC) programs, a Breaking the Cycle program, and standard probation supervision with referral to treatment. Figure ES-2 presents the locations of the 29 total sites. The research comprises three major components: process and impact evaluations, and a costbenefit analysis. The process evaluation describes how the 23 drug court sites vary in program eligibility, supervision, treatment, team collaboration, and other key policies and practices (see Final Report, Volume 3). The impact evaluation examines whether drug courts produce better outcomes than comparison sites and tests which court policies and offender attitudes might explain those effects (see Volume 4). The cost-benefit analysis (Final Report, Volume 4) evaluates drug court costs and benefits. MADCE Executive Summary 2 Pre-Production Version Figure ES-2. MADCE Drug Court Clusters and Comparison Sites The MADCE research used a variety of data sources, including: • Field Visits. We conducted multiple site visits to all 29 drug court and comparison locations to document program characteristics and operations. These visits included interviews with key stakeholders and structured observations of courtroom proceedings. • Self-Report Surveys. A sample of 1,781 offenders (1,156 drug court participants and 625 comparison group members) were interviewed at three intervals: (1) baseline, (2) 6 months after baseline, and (3) 18 months after baseline. The interviews lasted between 1.5 and 2 hours and covered a wealth of domains spanning background characteristics, offender perceptions, in-program experiences and compliance, and outcomes. • Oral Fluids Test. A Buccal swab oral fluids drug test was administered during the 18month interview for respondents who were not incarcerated or in residential treatment at that time. Ninety-five percent of eligible respondents consented to the oral fluids test. MADCE Executive Summary 3 Pre-Production Version • Administrative Records. Official criminal history and recidivism data were obtained from state administrative data sources and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at 24 months after study enrollment. • Costs and Benefits. The self-report surveys and official recidivism records were used to estimate the amount of each program activity in which each offender participated (quantities), which were then multiplied by the price of each activity (prices). The prices were developed from a combination of stakeholder interviews, review of official budget and other administrative records, and national estimates of prices. The Rationale for the MADCE Design The design described above has several advantages. First, it drew upon a conceptual framework spelling out the linkages between policies, practices, perceptions, and behavior change (see Figure ES-1). Second, although the study does not involve a random sample of drug courts nationwide, it does include multiple sites from across the country, making the results more generalizable than prior single-site studies or statewide evaluations that focus on multiple sites within a single state court system. Third, the large size of the pooled sample and collection of extensive offender attitudinal and process data allowed us to open the “black box” of effective drug court practices far beyond most prior studies. Fourth, we were able to include many smallto medium-sized courts among our sites; the resulting diverse range of community contexts is likely to yield more generalizable results than if we had only used courts in the largest urban centers, as has been the case in most prior drug court evaluations. Finally, we included many more drug courts—23 in total—than was originally planned given our ability to geographically cluster sites and pool data across them. Many of these advantages could not have been obtained had we instead conducted a randomized experiment in a small number of sites. Given the use of a quasi-experimental design, the impact study had to address three important threats to validity: (1) selection bias, (2) attrition bias, and (3) clustering of outcomes within sites. The first two problems—selection and attrition—were handled simultaneously with propensity score modeling and a strategy that we refer to as super weighting (adjusting simultaneously for baseline differences between drug court and comparison group members and between those who were retained and not retained at follow-up). We note there was relatively little attrition as 86 percent of the baseline sample was interviewed at the 6-month follow-up, and 83 percent was interviewed at the 18-month follow-up. We handled the third problem—site-level clustering—with hierarchical modeling (which adjusts statistically for differences in outcomes from community-specific contexts in our 23 drug court and 6 comparison sites). MADCE Executive Summary 4 Pre-Production Version Overview of the Impact and Cost‐Benefit Findings Do Drug Courts Reduce Substance Use, Crime, and Other Problems? • Substance Use: Drug courts produce significant reductions in drug relapse. In the year prior to the 18-month interview, drug court participants were significantly less likely than the comparison group to report using all drugs (56 vs. 76 percent) and also less likely to report using “serious” drugs (41 vs. 58 percent), which omit marijuana and “light” alcohol use (fewer than four drinks per day for women or less than five drinks per day for men). On the 18-month oral fluids drug test, significantly fewer drug court participants tested positive for illegal drugs (29 vs. 46 percent). Further, among those who tested positive or self-reported using drugs, drug court participants used drugs less frequently than the comparison group. • Crime: Drug courts produce significant reductions in criminal behavior. In the year prior to the 18-month interview, drug court participants were significantly less likely than the comparison group to report committing crimes (40 vs. 53 percent), and of those who committed any crime, drug court participants committed fewer. Thus, although both samples averaged large numbers of criminal acts at 18-month follow-up, drug courts reduced that number by half (43.0 vs. 88.2 criminal acts in the prior year). Among specific offenses, drug court participation reduced drug possession, drug sales offenses, driving while intoxicated, and property-related crime. Finally, drug courts reduced the probability of an official re-arrest over 24 months (52 vs. 62 percent), but this last effect was not statistically significant. • Other Psychosocial Outcomes: Drug court participants experience select benefits in other areas of their lives besides drug use and criminal behavior. At 18 months, drug court participants were significantly less likely than comparison offenders to report a need for employment, educational, and financial services, suggesting that drug court participation addressed those needs. Further, drug court participants reported significantly less family conflict than comparison offenders. However, there were only modest, nonsignificant differences in 18-month employment rates, income, and family emotional support; and the samples did not differ in reported symptoms of depression or in experiencing homelessness. • Durability of the Drug Court Impact: With respect to substance use and crime, improved outcomes at the 6-month interviews were nearly identical to improvements reported at the 18-month interviews, which includes at least some post-program time for 72 percent of the drug court sample. For instance, drug court participants were significantly less likely to report drug use in the prior six months (41 percent) than the comparison group (62 percent), a gap that was then largely sustained in the six months prior to the subsequent 18-month interview (46 vs. 68 percent). MADCE Executive Summary 5 Pre-Production Version For Whom Do Drug Courts Have Their Greatest Effects? Since we found that drug courts produce substantial reductions in substance use and crime, we next tested whether these effects are especially pronounced among some, but not other categories of offenders, defined by demographics, social ties, prior drug use, criminality, or mental health. • Few Subgroup Differences: Across multiple categories of offenders, we found extremely few differences in the magnitude of the drug court impact. Our findings indicate that nearly all categories of offenders benefit comparably from the drug court intervention, suggesting that widespread drug court policies to restrict eligibility to a narrow subpopulation may be counterproductive. Specifically, there were not any subgroupbased differences in the rate of positive drug tests, and only 3 of 17 subgroups selfreported less drug use at 18 months. Drug courts also impacted criminal behavior similarly across most subgroups. • Exceptions: A small number of subgroups experienced differential effect. Relative to similar offenders in the comparison group, those reporting more frequent drug use at baseline showed a particularly large reduction in drug use at the 18-month follow-up. Concerning criminal behavior, offenders with violent histories showed a greater reduction in crime than others at follow-up. We also found that those showing symptoms of mental health problems (narcissism and depression, but not antisocial personality disorder) evidenced a smaller reduction in drug use and crime than those without these problems. What Are the Mechanisms Through Which Drug Courts Work? We used multiple methods to determine which drug court policies and practices, and which offender attitudes, explain the drug court impact on drug use and crime. Major findings include: • Role of the Judge: The primary mechanism by which drug courts reduce substance use and crime is through the judge. Drug court offenders believe that their judge treated them more fairly than the comparison group, including demonstrating greater respect and interest in them as individuals and greater opportunities to express their own voice during the proceedings. Furthermore, when offenders have more positive attitudes toward the judge, they have better outcomes. This was true across all offender subgroups when examining demographics, drug use history, criminality, and mental health. A separate analysis drawing upon the results of structured courtroom observations found, similarly, that drug courts whose judge was rated by members of the research team as exhibiting a more positive judicial demeanor (e.g., respectful, fair, attentive, enthusiastic, consistent/predictable, caring, and knowledgeable) produced better outcomes than other drug courts. Both analyses reaffirmed the central role of the judge. • Role of Other Offender Attitudes: Greater perceptions of legal leverage produced a reduction in substance use and crime, whereas perceptions related to sanctions did not have an effect. Among drug court offenders, those who perceived the consequences of MADCE Executive Summary 6 Pre-Production Version failing the program as more undesirable (“extremely bad”) engaged in fewer in-program infractions and demonstrated less substance use and crime at the 18-month follow-up. However, perceptions related to the certainty, severity, or undesirability of intermediate sanctions were not generally associated with outcomes across several analyses. Offender scores on several instruments designed to measure motivation to change also did not predict subsequent outcomes, suggesting that the construct of “motivation” may not necessarily be a good predictor of who will ultimately succeed in drug court. • Role of Court Policies and Practices: Practices that appear most related to reductions in crime and substance use are judicial status hearings, judicial praise, drug testing, substance abuse treatment, and greater leverage. Across multiple methods, among the most consistent findings were that offenders who received higher levels of judicial supervision and drug testing, and who attended more than a month of substance abuse treatment, reported fewer crimes and fewer days of drug use. Regarding leverage, individuals who rated the alternative sentence for drug court failure as more severe were more likely to have reduced days of drug use at 18 months. Also, courts rated by the research team as having high leverage over clients reduced crime at 18 months. As previously noted, where the judge exhibits a more positive judicial demeanor, outcomes are improved. Do Drug Courts Generate Cost Savings? • Program Investments: Drug courts invest more money than the comparison sites in community-based services and in court supervision. Drug courts costs are higher than business-as-usual case processing due to larger program investments, including significantly more drug tests, judicial status hearings, time with case managers, and substance abuse treatment. • Outcomes: Drug courts save money through improved outcomes. Drug courts save money through improved outcomes, primarily savings to victims from significantly fewer crimes, re-arrests, and days incarcerated (whereas a slight increase in participant wages relative to the comparison group was not statistically significant). • Net Impact: Drug courts save an average of $5,680 per participant, returning a net benefit of $2 for every $1 of cost, but these findings are not statistically significant. The net cost-benefit findings are comparable to previous multi-site studies, including statewide evaluations in California and Washington. However, in this study, the findings were driven by a reduction in the most serious offending by relatively few individuals, not by a widespread reduction of serious offending. Drug courts prevent a great deal of crime, but the majority of crimes have small costs to society. An important implication is that drug courts are especially likely to save money if they enroll serious offenders (who, in the absence of drug court, are particularly likely to engage in serious future offending). MADCE Executive Summary 7 Pre-Production Version Conclusions The MADCE has shown that drug courts prevent crime and substance use, work equally well for most subgroups of participant populations, are effective through the role of the judge, and can increase effectiveness if they implement program practices in particular ways (e.g., with high leverage; medium predictability of sanctions based on flexibility in applying sanctioning schedules known to participants; and enrolling participants either pre-plea or post-plea, but not mixing individuals drawn from both entry points in the same drug court population). Below is a brief summary of the most salient implications that have further explanation in Volume 4, Chapter 10 of the Final Report. Implications for Policy and Practice The Role of the Judge • Hold frequent judicial status hearings; in light of previous research on this topic, consider increasing the frequency of status hearings for “high risk” participants in particular. • If the jurisdiction allows it, choose drug court judges carefully. Drug courts will be best served if administrators intentionally assign judges to the drug court who are committed to the model and interested in serving in this role. • Monitor “client satisfaction” with the judge. • Train judges on best practices regarding judicial demeanor and regarding how to communicate effectively with program participants. Drug Court Eligibility Requirements • Consider broadening drug court eligibility requirements, since there is little evidence that drug courts work particularly well with one or another narrowly defined category of offenders. • Consider including violent offenders with substance use issues. Leverage • Increase participants’ perceptions of the court’s leverage (i.e., authority to impose undesirable consequences in the event of program failure). MADCE Executive Summary 8 Pre-Production Version Drug Testing • Provide drug tests frequently, more than once per week during the initial phase of the program. Federal and State Policy • Drug courts work, so ensure that provisions are made to fund their existence. • In keeping with the emphasis on evidence-based practices, develop standards to guide drug court practice. • Encourage programs to include more serious offenders to achieve greater returns on drug court investments. • Encourage programs to serve greater numbers of participants, so that positive impacts are not limited to small numbers of offenders. MADCE Executive Summary 9