Maricopa County's Drug Court

An Innovative Program for First-Time Drug Offenders on Probation

Published in: The Justice System Journal, v. 17, no. 1, 1994, p. 99-115

Posted on on February 25, 2016

by Elizabeth Deschenes, Peter W. Greenwood

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The nationwide drug court movement represents one of the most recent innovations in our criminal justice system aimed at decreasing the number of drug-involved offenders by providing drug treatment and intensive court supervision. Although the majority of drug courts are diversion programs, the Maricopa County (Arizona) Drug Court is a postadjudication program for probationers with a first-time felony conviction for drug possession. Probationers are required to participate in an outpatient comprehensive drug treatment program, and their progress is monitored by the judge. The drug court emphasizes individual accountability through a system of rewards and sanctions. A total of 639 offenders sentenced in 1992 or 1993 were randomly assigned to the drug court or standard probation for RAND's experimental evaluation. Preliminary results show that 40 percent of drug court participants successfully completed the treatment program within twelve months.

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