New Drug Court Research Findings


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Release date: 14 December 2011

New research by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has shown that more intensive judicial supervision of offenders by the Parramatta Drug Court reduces the risk of relapse among drug dependent offenders.

All participants accepted onto the Parramatta Drug Court program between March 2010 and March 2011 were randomly allocated into either an intensive judicial supervision (IJS) group or a supervision as usual (SAU) group.

The 70 offenders in the SAU group met with the Drug Court judge once a week during the first phase of treatment. The 66 offenders in the IJS group met with the Drug Court judge two times a week during the first phase of treatment.

Performance on the Drug Court program was assessed through the results of regular urine tests designed to detect illicit drug use and through the number of sanctions for non-compliance with the program accrued by the two groups.

Participants in the IJS group were significantly less likely to return positive urinalysis tests and had a significantly greater number of episodes of abstinence than participants in the SAU group.

IJS participants were also less likely to accrue sanctions than participants in the SAU group. There was no significant difference in the odds of having sanctions waived or having to serve sanctions in prison between the two groups.

Commenting on the findings, the Director of the Bureau, Dr Don Weatherburn, said that they provided further evidence of the effectiveness of the NSW Drug Court in reducing drug-related crime.

"The NSW Drug Court is the benchmark against which all other offender rehabilitation programs in NSW should be assessed. The success of the Drug Court is due in no small measure to the Court's ongoing commitment to research and development."

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 9231-9190, 0419-494-408