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CJB131

Author Rohan Lulham
Published July 2009
Report Type Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 131
Subject Offenders; Recidivism / Re-offending; Statistical methods and modelling; Evaluation reports
Keywords drug diversion, adult offenders, re-offending outcomes, selection bias, treatment effects modelis

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Summary

Aim

This bulletin reports on the evaluation of re-offending outcomes for the Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) drug diversion program.

Abstract

This bulletin reports on the evaluation of re-offending outcomes for the Magistrates Early Referral Into Treatment (MERIT) drug diversion program. MERIT provides defendants in NSW Local Courts with the option of undertaking formal drug treatment while on bail. Re-offending outcomes for a cohort of 2,396 defendants who participated in the MERIT program were compared with a comparison group of defendants who did not participate in the MERIT program but who broadly met the eligibility criteria. To estimate the impact of the program we used a treatment effects model with correction for selection bias. Acceptance into the MERIT program, regardless of completion, was found to significantly reduce the number of defendants committing any theft re-offence by an estimated four percentage points. Acceptance and completion of the MERIT program significantly reduced the number of defendants committing any type of offence by an estimated 12 percentage points, and any theft re-offence by four percentage points. This evaluation provides strong support that participation in the MERIT program reduces defendants’ propensity to commit theft offences and, for those who complete the program, substantially reduces their propensity to commit any type of re-offence.

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