CA's Prop 36 vs. Drug Courts

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Into Effectiveness of Drug Courts

"The policy in itiative was developed without the use of interventions deemed effective in other researched and evaluated initiatives such as the Drug Court model. For example, SACPA [Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000] did not use criminal justice leverage or sanctions found to be effective in Drug Courts. Consequently, retention in the SACPA and in treatment was lower than might have been anticipated. Nevertheless, on a large scale, California diverted many more people to treatment than the Drug Courts alone. In other words, treatment access was significantly increased. Further, it is likely that the total number of participants who entered recovery and did not recidivate exceeds the total number of Drug Court participants in recovery, even though the rates for Drug Court were higher.
"Therefore, the state-mandated treatment in California (SACPA) has succeeded in two important ways that were central to its initial logic. First, it has provided an enormous benefit in being able to reach nearly all eligible offenders and offer treatment for their substance use issues instead of incarceration. Second, it has allowed offenders to have more total treatment than Drug Court. In this sense, it has had a much greater impact on the total system of offenders than Drug Court that often serves only a small number of offenders."


Carey, Shannon M., Ph.D.; Pukstas, Kimberly Ph.D.; Waller, Mark S.; Mackin, Richard J.; Finigan, Michael W. Ph.D. "Drug Courts and State Mandated Drug Treatment Programs: Outcomes, Costs and Consequences," NPC Research (Portland, OR: March 2008), p. IX.