NSW Drug Court evaluation: Program and participant profiles
|Karen Freeman, Ruth Lawrence Karski and Peter Doak
|Crime and Justice Bulletin No. 50
Drugs and Drug Courts; Evaluation reports
|New South Wales Drug Court, evaluation, drug use, legislative evaluation
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This bulletin describes the operation of the NSW Drug Court and the means by which it will be evaluated. Summary data from the first 12 months of the Court’s operation are presented.
The first Drug Court in New South Wales began operation on 8 February 1999. It was set up on a trial basis, initially for a period of two years. Modelled on US Drug Courts, the New South Wales Drug Court provides an intensively supervised program of treatment for drug-dependent offenders, with the aim of assisting them to overcome their drug dependence and end their involvement in criminal activity. This bulletin describes the operation of the Court and the means by which it will be evaluated. Summary data from the first 12 months of the Court’s operation are presented. The key findings to date are that 224 persons have been placed on the Drug Court Program and two-thirds of these were still on the Program as at 31 January 2000; progress through the Program has been somewhat slower than anticipated; urine testing has proved to be an unreliable indicator of program success; but only about 13 per cent of participants have been sentenced for new offences committed while on the Program. This last result is encouraging given the normally high level of recidivism of heroin-dependent property offenders.