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CJB122

Author Stephen Goodall, Richard Norman and Marion Haas
Published September 2008
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 122
Subject Costs of crime; Drugs and Drug Courts; Prisons and prisoners; Evaluation reports
Keywords Drug Court, prison, cost-effectiveness, coerced treatment, substance abuse

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Summary

Aim

The aim of this report was to estimate (1) whether changes have increased or decreased total costs to the NSW Drug Court and what these changes tell us about the likely cost-effectiveness of the NSW Drug Court, and (2) whether the Drug Court is likely to be cost-effective relative to conventional sanctions in terms of reducing future offending.

Abstract

An initial evaluation of the NSW Drug Court found that it was more effective than prison in reducing recidivism but only marginally more cost-effective than prison (Lind et al. 2002). Several changes have since been made to improve its cost efficiency. The aim of this report was to estimate (1) whether these changes have increased or decreased total costs to the NSW Drug Court and what these changes tell us about the likely cost-effectiveness of the NSW Drug Court, and (2) whether the Drug Court is likely to be cost-effective relative to conventional sanctions in terms of reducing future offending. While the methodology employed could not unequivocally determine whether the overall cost of the court had changed, the NSW Drug Court program does appear to be a cost-effective use of resources. The current findings estimate that the Drug Court program provides a net saving of $1.758 million per year when compared with conventional sanctions.

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