Source: (2005) Washington, DC: US. Department of Justice. National Institute of Justice.

This report presents the methodology, findings, and recommendations of an evaluation of the drug court of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, located in southwestern Alabama near the Florida border. The outcome component of the evaluation found no statistically significant relationship between completion status and recidivism; graduates were as likely to reoffend as the terminated participants; however, graduates were slower to reoffend than terminated participants. Although the pre-drug court recidivism rate of participants is not known, the recidivism rate of 50 percent after 3 years for those no longer in the program indicates that not all participants reoffended. The positive changes - increases in self-esteem and decreases in substance abuse behavior - seen in many of the participants indicates successful rehabilitation was achieved for some. The drug court’s strengths were determined to outweigh the weaknesses. Strengths included a core team with stability, compassion, and commitment to the program; the integration of a cultural program with the drug court; treatment incorporated as a structure in participants’ lives; intensive monitoring during the first phase; and the combining of the roles of counselor and probation officer. Improvement in the court could be achieved by integrating treatment with a steering committee that would include tribal and community leaders. This would extend the ownership of the court to the community. Some program weaknesses were poor communication between treatment providers and the team; irregular scheduling of staff meetings; the absence of tribal leaders or elders on the team; lack of enforcement of program requirements; and no individualized, is currently a mature drug court. At the time of the evaluation (2005), it had admitted 28 participants with alcohol and drug-related offenses. Fifteen of the participants graduated, 8 were terminated, and 5 were current participants. (abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, www.ncjrs.gov).


Read Full Article