Is the Drug Court Model Exportable?

The Cost-Effectiveness of a Driving-Under-The-Influence Court

Published in: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, v. 31, no. 1, July 2006, p. 75-85

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Christine Eibner, Andrew R. Morral, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, John MacDonald

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The authors assessed the cost-effectiveness of the Rio Hondo driving-under-the-influence (DUI) court, a therapeutic court intervention in Los Angeles County targeted to repeat DUI offenders. The effectiveness of this court intervention was determined through a randomized controlled field experiment. Although prior research does not identify differences in alcohol-related or criminal behavior between treated and control individuals at follow-up, the authors found improvements in behavior for all program participants regardless of treatment status. A cost-minimization analysis found that, on average, costs of the DUI court exceeded traditional court expenditures for second-time offenders but produced cost savings for third-time offenders. This suggests that implementing a DUI-specific court intervention for serious DUI recidivists is a worthwhile investment of public resources. The unique legal treatment of DUI offenders in California may hide additional cost savings that could be accrued in other jurisdictions through the adoption of DUI court programs.

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