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Program Profile: Multnomah County (Ore.) Sanction Treatment Opportunity Progress (STOP) Drug Diversion Program

Evidence Rating: Effective - One study Effective - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 07, 2011

Program Summary

A drug court in Multnomah County, Ore., that focuses on providing treatment services for offenders facing first-offense drug charges. This is the second-oldest drug court in the country. The program is rated Effective. The results found a statistically significant differences between the treatment group and the comparison group. There were fewer subsequent arrests, convictions, felony arrests, drug arrests, and parole and probation violations.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population

The Sanction Treatment Opportunity Progress (STOP) Drug Diversion Program is a drug court program that was designed to reduce the increasing backlog of cases involving drug offenders in Oregon’s Multnomah County. The program focuses on providing treatment services for offenders facing first-offense drug charges. Implemented in 1991, the STOP Drug Diversion Program is the second-oldest drug court in the country.


The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office determines if a defendant is eligible for participation based on arrest charge, criminal history, probation status, additional charges, status at other jurisdictions (holds or retainers), and previous participation in the program. The STOP Program targets defendants charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of more than an ounce of marijuana as well as other drug-related charges, such as tampering with drug records (i.e., forging prescriptions for pharmaceutical drugs). A defendant may still be eligible for the program if they face additional, non–drug related criminal charges, as long as participation in the diversion program does not interfere with conditions of probation for those other charges.


However, defendants are ineligible if they face distribution of controlled substance or manufacture of controlled substance charges, if they have any prior convictions for violent offenses, or if they have previously participated in the STOP Program but failed to complete the requirements.


Program Components

The STOP Program uses a postplea model, meaning participants agree to plead guilty to the eligible drug charge before entering the program. If participants successfully complete the program, the charges can be dropped and the participants can apply to have them removed from their criminal history record. After a defendant is found eligible to participate in the program, they attend an orientation session at the Metropolitan Public Defender’s office. It is ultimately up to the defendant to decide to participate in the diversion program or take the case to trial.


Defendants who decide to participate in the STOP Program attend another orientation session at InAct, a private, not-for-profit agency that provides all outpatient treatment services to program participants (referrals to inpatient and methadone maintenance clinics are made to other service providers when necessary). Participants meet with admission counselors to create a treatment schedule, where they are assigned to a group for group counseling and to a counselor for individual therapy sessions. Admission counselors also schedule appointments for acupuncture treatments, an intake assessment with the participant’s counselor, and a physical examination with a naturopathic doctor. After 2 weeks, participants appear in the drug court to officially declare if they wish to continue treatment or if they decline participation.


For those that continue in the program, participants are required to make court appearances before the drug court judge. During court appearances, the judge is informed of the participant’s progress through reports from the participant, the treatment liaison from InAct, and the District Attorney's Office. The judge provides encouragement for program participants who comply with treatment requirements and imposes sanctions against those who are not in compliance. If a participant does not appear before court as required, a bench warrant is issued by the judge.


Drug court judges can use a variety of graduated sanctions, which include the sit sanction (participants are required to sit in court and observe the day’s proceedings), the forest work camp (participants still receive treatment while they do 2 to 3 weeks of conservation work at a local camp), a jail sanction (where a sentence can range from 1 day to 7 days), and community service (an alternative for women to the forest work camp because there is no camp for females). One option that judges use is called the “impose but suspend” rule. Under this rule, the judge imposes a certain sanction but it is suspended until the participant’s next court date. If the participant is doing better or completed specific tasks required by the judge, the sanction is not imposed. If the participant has not done better, the sanction is imposed.


The program uses what is known as a “STOP clock,” which is the amount of treatment days a participant has been in the program. To graduate, participants must spend 365 days in the program, but if the participant absconds or a bench warrant is issued, the STOP clock is stopped. When a participant returns to the program, the STOP clock starts again.


The STOP Program has three phases of treatment that vary in length, depending on the needs of the participant. During phase 1, participants are required to attend three group counseling sessions and three acupuncture treatments per week, as well as monthly individual meetings with their personal counselor. During phase 2, participants are typically required to attend two group counseling sessions per week. They may stop attending acupuncture treatment but they must still meet weekly with their counselors. By phase 3, participants must attend one group counseling session per week as well as one individual counseling session per month. In addition to treatment requirements, participants are randomly given a urinalysis (UA) drug testing at least once a week (participants are required to call the “UA line” to see if their number has been chosen for the day).


To graduate from the program, participants need to complete 365 days in treatment, have six consecutive clean UA tests, and get a recommendation from their individual counselor. Graduation proceedings take place at the drug court. Aftercare is not required, but is available to participants who have graduated from the program. Graduates may attend as many group counseling sessions as needed and continue to meet with their individual counselor. They can also attend educational classes and receive mental and physical health services, provided by InAct.


Key Personnel

The STOP Program’s team members include the judge, the treatment coordinator/court liaison, the public defender, the public defender’s legal assistant, and the District Attorney's Office.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Finigan (1998) found statistically significant differences between the treatment group that participated in the Sanction Treatment Opportunity Progress (STOP) Drug Diversion Program and the comparison group that were eligible for the program but did not participate.

Subsequent Arrests
STOP Program participants (graduates and non-graduates) had 61 percent fewer total subsequent arrests compared to the matched defendants. Compared to non-graduates, program graduates had 49 percent fewer total new arrests over the 2-year period and had 76 percent fewer arrests than comparison group members.

Subsequent Convictions
The analysis found a significant 57 percent difference between the treatment group and comparison group in total convictions over a 2-year period. There was a 51 percent difference between program graduates and non-graduates in total subsequent convictions and a 74 percent difference between graduates and comparison group members.

Subsequent Serious Felony Arrests
A separate analysis looked at the rearrest rates for serious crimes, including Felony Type A and B. Program participants (graduates and non-graduates) had 64 percent fewer subsequent felony arrests. Also, program graduates had 56 percent fewer total felony arrests than program participants that did not graduate and 80 percent fewer total felony arrests than the comparison group.

Subsequent Drug Arrests
There was a significant 72 percent difference in total subsequent drug-related arrests between STOP Program participants and comparison defendants. There was also a 56 percent difference in total drug arrests between program graduates and non-graduates, and an 85 percent difference between program graduates and comparison group members.

Subsequent Parole and Probation Violation Arrests
STOP Program participants also had significantly fewer parole or probation violation arrests. There was an 80 percent difference between all program participants and comparison group members in total subsequent violations. The results were exactly the same when looking at program graduates and comparison defendants. There was no difference in parole or probation violations between program graduates and non-graduates.

Positive Adjustment
The analysis also looked at whether study participants scored 1 or more on the Positive Adjustment Scale. More than half of STOP Program participants scored at least 1 on the scale, as evidenced in their supervision records. Just less than 40 percent of comparison group members scored as well (this was a significant difference). Twenty-seven percent of program participants scored 4 or more points on the scale, while just 10 percent of the comparison group scored as well (also a significant difference).
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Finigan (1998) evaluated the Sanction Treatment Opportunity Progress (STOP) Drug Diversion Program by comparing the outcome results of defendants that were diverted to the program to a comparison group of defendants that did not participate.

The treatment group included 300 participants who were randomly selected from defendants who had been diverted to the STOP Program from 1994 to 1995. The sample included 150 participants who successfully graduated and 150 participants who were diverted to the program but did not graduate. The comparison group was randomly sampled from the pool of defendants that were eligible to participate, but were not admitted to the program because of the limited number of treatment slots available. The primary reason most defendants did not enter the STOP Program was because of a bench warrant. The comparison group included 150 defendants who were matched to the treatment group based on gender, age, race/ethnicity, and prior criminal history. The treatment group was 72 percent male and 20 percent non-white, with an average age of 33 years. The comparison group was also 72 percent male and 20 percent non-white, with an average age of 32 years. There were no significant differences between the two groups on the control variables.

The outcome variables of interest included subsequent arrests, convictions, incarcerations, and types of crimes committed. Positive readjustment into the community was also examined, using the Positive Adjustment Scale. The scale gives 1 point if there is evidence of study participants under supervision (probation or parole) becoming productive community members. The scale includes 10 items, including being employed, being enrolled in school, or participating in a training program; efforts toward financial stability; or stability in residency. Data was collected for a period of 2 years before and 2 years after the criteria date. The criteria data for treatment group members that graduated from the program was the graduation date. The criteria date for non-completers in the treatment group was the date they left the program, and the criteria date for the comparison group was the date they had the STOP appointment. Data was collected from the Law Enforcement Data System, the Department of Community Corrections supervision files, the Client Process Monitoring System, and the Adult and Family Services database.

The primary analysis strategy examined the outcome variables using an Analysis of Covariance model with prior arrests as the chief covariate. If statistical significance was gained for the model, the individual comparisons (e.g. program graduates vs. comparison group) were tested as well.
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There have been several cost analyses of the Multnomah County Sanction Treatment Opportunity Progress (STOP) Drug Diversion Program. The most recent analysis, by Finigan, Carey, and Cox (2007), looked at the impact of the drug court program over 10 years of operation (from 1991 to 2001). The study used a modified Transaction Cost Analysis Approach to conduct a cost–benefit analysis. This approach views an individual’s interaction with agencies that receive public funding as a set of transactions in which the individual uses resources contributed from multiple agencies. Transactions are those points in a system where resources are consumed and/or change hands. The analysis compared the outcome costs of STOP Program participants (n=6,502) and comparison group of defendants who were eligible but did not participate in the program (n=4,600). The analysis found that over a 5-year period, the outcome cost per program participant was $38,537 while the outcome cost per comparison group member was $50,755. This resulted in a difference of $12,218. Over a 10-year period, this would result in an outcome program savings of nearly $79.5 million. This translates into a cost–benefit ratio of 1:2.63, which means for every $1 invested in the STOP Program, the criminal justice system experiences a return of $2.63. The analysis also looked at the total costs of STOP Program participants and comparison group members. Over a 5-year period, the total cost per program participant was $43,705, while the total cost per comparison group member was $57,315, a difference of more than $13,000. Over a 10-year period, this would result in a total program savings of almost $88.5 million.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Finigan, Michael W. 1998. An Outcome Program Evaluation of the Multnomah County S.T.O.P. Drug Diversion Program. Portland, Ore.: NPC Research, Inc.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Carey, Shannon M., and Michael W. Finigan. 2004. “A Detailed Cost Analysis in a Mature Drug Court Setting.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 20(3):315–38.

Finigan, Michael W., Shannon M. Carey, and Anton Cox. 2007. The Impact of a Mature Drug Court Over 10 Years of Operation: Recidivism and Costs. Portland, Ore.: NPC Research, Inc.
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Related Practices

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Following are practices that are related to this program:

Adult Drug Courts
Drug courts are specialized courts that combine drug treatment with the legal and moral authority of the court in an effort to break the cycle of drug use and drug related crime. The practice was rated Promising for reducing recidivism; Promising for reducing alcohol and drug-related offenses (with a 13 percent lower rate compared to nonparticipants); but No Effects for reducing multiple substance use.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Drug and alcohol offenses
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Drugs & Substance Abuse - Multiple substances
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, White, Other

Geography: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting, Courts

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Aftercare/Reentry, Alternatives to Incarceration, Diversion, Drug Court, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy

Targeted Population: First Time Offenders, Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders

Current Program Status: Active

Shannon Carey
Vice President and Senior Research Associate
NPC Research, Inc.
5100 SW Macadam Avenue, Ste. 575
Portland OR 97239-3867
Phone: 503.243.2436 ext: 104