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Program Profile: Guam Adult Drug Court

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 07, 2011

Program Summary

A drug court diversion program that aims to help participants become clean and sober, improve their lives, and reduce their involvement with the criminal justice system. The program focuses on getting participants into treatment as soon as possible after arrest. The program is rated Promising. The intervention group went back through the court system less often than comparison group members, recidivated less, and had no drug-related crimes. The graduation rate was 66% for the program.

Program Description

Program Goals/Eligibility

The Guam Adult Drug Court (GADC) is a drug court diversion program that has three main goals: to help participants become clean and sober, improve their lives, and reduce their involvement with the criminal justice system. The program focuses on getting participants into treatment as soon as possible after arrest.


To be eligible for the GADC program, a defendant must be at least 18 years of age; be a legal resident of the United States; have a means of transportation to get to the drug court program, treatment services, and other program activities; and show a measure of motivation for change. Eligible drug charges include felony possession and use of a controlled substance and felony driving under the influence. Defendants must demonstrate a drug use problem, and there can be no evidence of substantial drug dealing. Defendants cannot have a prior felony conviction or a pending felony charge of a violent and/or sex crime.


Most cases are referred by the attorney general and public defender immediately after the arrest, but potential participants can also be referred from the judge or the Department of Probation. Participants are admitted to GADC after they are screened for eligibility and suitability. Once admitted, participants are administered a clinical assessment to determine the extent of chemical dependency as well as mental status, which help to determine what services are necessary for treatment.


Program Theory

The GADC relies on the drug court model (see the National Association of Drug Court Professionals [1997] for the 10 key components of drug courts). In addition, the treatment providers rely on a treatment model that is adopted from a social cognitive–behavioral approach and a strengths-based multiagency approach, which can ensure participants’ compliance with program requirements. The materials and information used with participants during the therapeutic process are culturally sensitive to Guam’s multicultural background.


Program Components

The GADC is a deferred-plea program, which means that upon successfully completing the program, eligible charges are dismissed and the participant’s record is expunged. The program can be completed in 12 months (including 6 months of aftercare) but participants have up to 2 years to complete the program.


The GADC has four phases, each with corresponding treatment and probation requirements. The time spent in each phase depends on how quickly a participant can fulfill the requirements. Program requirements include attendance at weekly self-help groups, meetings with the case managers, attendance at family and individual counseling sessions, payment of fees, completion of community service hours, submission to random urinalyses each week, and participation in weekly or monthly drug court hearings. Other services provided by the program (though not required by participants) include employment skills training, education assistance, grief counseling, and family therapy. Participants also receive referrals for food stamps, welfare services, homeless shelters, mental health services, medical and dental services, anger management, and parenting classes.


Different criteria must be met to move from phase to phase. For example, to move from phase 1 to phase 2, a participant must have 5 clean drug tests, attend 20 group sessions, and spend at least 4 weeks in treatment. To move from phase 3 to the final phase, a participant must have 10 clean drug tests, attend 30 group sessions, and spend 10 weeks in treatment. The final phase includes aftercare and transition services that usually begin after completing 27 weeks of treatment and continues in intensity up until 36 weeks of treatment. After that, maintenance care is practiced at 6, 12, and 18 months following graduation from the program.


Key Personnel

The GADC team includes the judge, the drug court program coordinator, two case managers, a probation officer, treatment providers, the court psychologist, and representatives from the public defender and attorney general offices.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1


Carey and Waller (2007) found that the difference in the number of new court case filings was significantly lower for the treatment group that participated in the Guam Adult Drug Court (GADC) than the comparison group at each time point over the 3 years after program entry. The drug court group went back through the court system four times less often than comparison group members. Looking specifically at participants that graduated from GADC, they recidivated 15 times less often than individuals in the comparison group. Looking at recidivism rates, less than 2 percent of GADC graduates had a new case filing, compared to the 5 percent of all drug court participants and 25 percent of the comparison group.


Substance Abuse

Over a 12-month period, the number of positive drug tests starts out low (2 percent) and remains under 3 percent for the year after program entry; the number of positive drug tests never decreased for the treatment group.


Looking at the number of new court cases for drug-related crimes, over a 3-year period, GADC participants had significantly fewer new cases than the comparison group. There were no new drug-related case filings for drug court participants (regardless of whether they graduated or not) in the 3rd year after program entry. GADC graduates had no drug-related crimes in the 26 months following program entry.


These results must be interpreted with caution, however, due to the small number of positive drug tests. A single positive drug test can lead to what looks like a substantial increase.


Program Completion

The graduation rate was 66 percent (57 graduates out of 87 total participants). As of August 2006, the retention rate for all offenders who entered the program since the program’s inception was 72 percent.

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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1

Carey and Waller (2007) used a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the effectiveness of the Guam Adult Drug Court (GADC) to reduce recidivism and levels of substance abuse. The treatment group was identified from a sample of participants who entered the GADC from the program’s implementation in August 2003 through August 2005. The comparison group consisted of drug offenders who in the 2 years prior to GADC implementation had cases that would have been eligible for the drug court program had it existed at the time. The two groups were matched on variables, such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, number of dependents, and number of court cases filed in the 2 years prior to the date of the drug court–eligible case. The drug court group (n= 109) was 77 percent male, and 74 percent Chamorro (Guam native), 11 percent Filipino, 2 percent white, and 12 percent “other,” with an average age of 37 years. The comparison group (n= 112) was 78 percent male, and 75 percent Chamorro, 11 percent Filipino, 3 percent white, and 11 percent “other,” with an average age of 35 years. There were no significant differences between the groups.


The outcome variables of interest included recidivism, measured as new criminal court case filings, and levels of substance abuse, measured by the percent of positive drug tests out of the total number of drug tests over the 12-month period after drug court or probation entry, as well as the number of new court cases for drug-related crimes. Data was collected for a period up to 36 months from the date of drug court entry (for the treatment group) or the probation start date (for the comparison group). Data was assembled from two main sources: the Guam Adult Drug Court Database and a management information system that included data such as criminal history, demographic characteristics, and new court cases and charges (recidivism). Data was evaluated using univariate and multivariate analysis.


The evaluation also looked at the graduation and retention rate of the GADC. The program graduation rate is the percentage of participants who graduated from the program out of a cohort of participants who had left the program by either graduating or terminating unsuccessfully. The program retention rate is the percentage of individuals who have either graduated or are still active out of the total number who entered the program.

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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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
Carey, Shannon M. and Mark S. Waller. 2007. Guam Adult Drug Court Outcome Evaluation: Final Report. 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 Mark Waller. 2005. Guam Adult Drug Court Process Evaluation: Final Report. Portland, Ore: NPC Research, Inc.

National Association of Drug Court Professional Drug Court Standards Committee. 1997. Defining Drug Courts: The Key Components. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Drug Court Programs Office.
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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: Asian/Pacific Islander, White, Other

Geography: Rural, Suburban

Setting (Delivery): Inpatient/Outpatient, Other Community Setting, Courts

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Aftercare/Reentry, Diversion, Drug Court, Family Therapy, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Probation/Parole Services

Targeted Population: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders

Current Program Status: Active

Program Director:
Supreme Court of Guam
Ste 300 Guam Judicial Center, Adult Drug Court
120 West O’Brien Drive
Hagatna GU 96910
Phone: 671.475.3361

Shannon M. Carey
Vice President and Senior Research Associate
NPC Research
5100 SW Macadam Avenue, Ste. 575
Portland OR 97239
Phone: 503.243.2436