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Program Profile: Ada County (Idaho) Drug Court

Evidence Rating: Promising - More than one study Promising - More than one study

Date: This profile was posted on March 21, 2016

Program Summary

Provides court-supervised, community-based outpatient drug treatment and case management services to felony drug offenders. The goals are to increase offender accountability, decrease the likelihood of recidivism, and reduce drug dependency. The program is rated Promising. The program was shown to significantly reduce a participant’s likelihood of recidivating.

Program Description

Program Goals
The Ada County Drug Court in Idaho is a pre-adjudication drug court program that provides court-supervised, community-based outpatient drug treatment and case management services to felony drug offenders. The goals of the drug court program are to increase offender accountability, decrease the likelihood of recidivism, and reduce drug dependency. The court has been accepting clients since 1999.
 
Target Population
To be eligible for the drug treatment program, offenders must have been charged with a felony drug or drug-related offense. Offenders are ineligible if they a) have more than one prior felony conviction or felony drug possession charge; b) were convicted of sex, dealing/distribution, or a violent crime; c) have not admitted guilt; d) were assessed low risk; or e) lived outside of the county.
 
Program Components
The Ada County Drug Court program consists of four phases of outpatient treatment for a minimum of 1 year. Each treatment phase is about 3 months, depending on an individual's progress. Throughout the four phases, participants are assisted or provided with referrals for educational services, skills assessments, vocational training, and job placements. Participants also attend group sessions, individual therapy, drug abuse education classes, and other rehabilitative activities.
 
Phase 1 requires twice-weekly urine testing and participation in cognitive self-change, drug abuse education, and process groups. Phase 2 requires weekly urine testing, attending individual treatment sessions, and completion of cognitive and drug abuse relapse packets. Phase 3 requires weekly urine testing and personalized treatment, which is focused on living in recovery. Finally, Phase 4 requires weekly urine testing and completion of a relapse prevention treatment plan, using the skills learned in treatment.

In addition to the community-based drug treatment services and regular drug tests, drug court program participants have occasional status review hearings with the drug court judge, and are subject to home visits. Graduates of the program are able to participate in alumni activities, relapse prevention, and other treatment services. To graduate from the drug court, program participants must a) successfully complete all treatment requirements; b) have 6 months of negative drug tests, c) obtain full-time employment or enroll in school full time; d) repay any restitution owed in full; and e) obtain, or initiate steps to obtain, a GED (if not already a high school graduate).
 
Program Theory
According to Shaffer (2010), drug court programs are based on the theoretical perspective of therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ). In applying TJ to drug courts, interactions between judicial staff and defendants, the structure and organization of the court proceedings, and legal rules and policies are all dealt with in a manner that encourages health and positive growth. TJ is applicable to drug court programs because the aim is to improve the lives of drug users. However, Shaffer cautions that while TJ is relevant to drug court programs, it does not prescribe what types of treatment should be provided to offenders outside of the courtroom setting.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Recidivism
Shaffer, Hartman, and Listwan (2009) found that female participants of the Ada County Drug Court were significantly less likely to recidivate (i.e., have a new court filing), as compared with the comparison group. Specifically, 26 percent of the treatment group was charged with a new offense, as compared with 63 percent of the comparison group. In addition, the analysis that controlled for baseline differences between the groups also showed that the comparison group was eight times more likely than the treatment group to recidivate.

Study 2

Recidivism
Koetzle and colleagues (2015) also found that high-risk male and female drug offenders who participated in the Ada County Drug Court were significantly less likely to recidivate (i.e., have a new court filing), as compared with high-risk probationers in the comparison group. Specifically, 46 percent of the treatment group was charged with a new offense, as compared with 56 percent of the comparison group. In addition, the analysis that controlled for baseline differences between the groups also showed that the likelihood of recidivism increased almost 80 percent for high-risk probationers in the comparison group.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Shaffer, Hartman, and Listwan (2009) used a quasi-experimental study design to assess the impact of the Ada County Drug Court in Boise, Idaho, on the recidivism of female drug-abusing offenders. The data for this study was taken from a multisite evaluation of drug courts in Idaho. Data in this study was limited to the women residing in the county with the largest court operating in the state (Ada County). Study participants (N=171) comprised women who were arrested for a drug-related charge between January 2002 and June 2005, reported a substance abuse problem, and were eligible for the drug court program.
 
The treatment group (n=91) consisted of women accepted into the drug court program; they received drug court services that included drug treatment and court supervision. The treatment group participants were mainly white (95.1 percent), high school graduates (71.4 percent), not married (71.6 percent), identified as chemically dependent (78.0 percent), and on average 29 years old. The comparison group (n=80) consisted of a sample of adults arrested during the same time frame who were eligible for the drug court program, but were instead placed on probation. The comparison group participants were mainly white (87.5 percent), high school graduates (57.5 percent), not married (85 percent), identified as chemically dependent (78.2), and on average 31 years old. The treatment and comparison groups were matched on indicators of risk for recidivism and severity of drug abuse. Significant differences were found between the treatment and comparison groups at intake. The treatment group comprised significantly more married individuals and high school graduates, whereas the comparison group comprised significantly more minority women. The analyses controlled for a number of demographic characteristics, including race, education, and marital status.
 
Recidivism was measured by new court filings, or any new charge submitted to the court by the prosecutor. Recidivism data was collected in the fall of 2006 from the Idaho Dispositional Database, a statewide database of court filing records. The average follow-up period was 2.3 years for both the treatment and comparison groups. Chi-squared tests, independent sample t-tests, and discrete time event history analysis were used to assess the data.

Study 2

Koetzle and colleagues (2015) used a quasi-experimental study design to assess the impact of the Ada County Drug Court program on recidivism with high-risk, drug-abusing offenders. The data for this study was taken from a multisite evaluation of drug courts in Idaho. Data in this study was limited to high-risk drug offenders and high-risk probationers. Risk level was measured by the Level of Services Inventory-Revised (LSI-R), which is a risk and needs assessment. The study only included offenders who scored 34 and above on the LSI-R.
 
The treatment group (n=72) comprised male and female offenders accepted into the drug court program between July 2002 and July 2005. The comparison group (n=61) was selected through the Idaho Department of Corrections database and included a sample of male and female offenders who were eligible for the drug court, but received probation instead. The groups were matched by recidivism risk and substance abuse severity.

The treatment group was predominantly white (95.5 percent), female (61.1 percent), not married (81.2 percent), and age 28 years on average. The comparison group was predominantly white (80.3 percent), male (62.3 percent), not married (88.5 percent), and age 29 years on average. Significant differences were found between the treatment and comparison groups at intake. The treatment group included significantly more women, whereas the comparison group comprised significantly more minority offenders. However, the analyses controlled for a number of demographic characteristics (including gender, age, race, education, and marital status).
 
Recidivism was measured by court filings post-intake, or by any new charge submitted to the court by the prosecutor. Chi-squared tests and multivariate analyses were used to assess differences between the groups.

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Cost

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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
Shaffer, Deborah K., Jennifer L. Hartman, and Shelley J. Listwan. 2009. "Drug Abusing Women in the Community: The Impact of Drug Court Involvement on Recidivism." Journal of Drug Issues 39(4):803–27.

Study 2
Koetzle, Deborah, Shelley J. Listwan, Wendy P. Guastaferro, and Kara Kobus. 2015. "Treating High-Risk Offenders in the Community: The Potential of Drug Courts." International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 59(5):449–65.
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Additional References

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

Ada County Drug Court. "The Most Efficient Alternative to Incarceration."
http://www.adacountydrugcourt.org/

Fourth Judicial District Court, Idaho. 2009. Ada County Drug Court Participant Handbook. Boise, Idaho: Ada County Courthouse
http://www.adacountydrugcourt.org/wp-content/uploads/ParticipantHandbook.August2011.doc

Hartman, Jennifer L., Shelley J. Listwan, and Deborah K. Shaffer. 2007. "Methamphetamine Users in a Community-Based Drug Court: Does Gender Matter?" Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 45(3/4):109–30.

Listwan, Shelley J., James Borowiak, and Edward J. Latessa. 2008. An Examination of Idaho's Felony Drug Courts: Findings and Recommendations, Final Report.
https://www.isc.idaho.gov/psc/reports/Id_Felony_DC_Outcome_Eval_Report_2008.pdf

Listwan, Shelley J., and Edward J. Latessa. 2003. The Kootenai and Ada County Drug Courts: Outcome Evaluation Findings, Final Report. Cincinnati, Ohio: Center for Criminal Justice Research. (This study was reviewed but did not meet Crime Solutions' criteria for inclusion in the overall program rating.)
https://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/ccjr/docs/reports/project_reports/Final_report_Ada_and_Kootenai_Co.pdf

Listwan, Shelley J., Deborah Koetzle Shaffer, and Jennifer L. Hartman. 2009. "Combating Methamphetamine Use in the Community: The Efficacy of the Drug Court Model." Crime and Delinquency 55(4):627–44.

National Association of Drug Court Professionals. "What are Drug Courts?" Accessed March 20, 2013.
http://www.nadcp.org/learn/drug-courts-work/what-are-drug-courts

Shaffer, Deborah. 2010. Reconsidering Drug Court Effectiveness: A Meta-Analytic Review. Las Vegas, Nev.: University of Las Vegas Department of Criminal Justice.
http://dn2vfhykblonm.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/shaffer_executivesummary_2006.pdf
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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated 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 - 50

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: White, Other

Geography: Suburban

Setting (Delivery): Inpatient/Outpatient, Courts

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Alternatives to Incarceration, Drug Court, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Wraparound/Case Management

Targeted Population: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders, High Risk Offenders

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Campbell Collaboration

Program Director:
Ada County Drug Court
200 W. Front Street
Boise ID 83702
Phone: 208.287.7670
Fax: 208.287.7579
Website

Researcher:
Deborah Koetzle
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Doctoral Program in Criminal Justice
445 West 59th Street
New York NY 10019
Phone: 212.621.3758
Fax: 212.237.8940
Email

Researcher:
Shelley Listwan
Associate Professor
University of North Carolina Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte NC 28223
Phone: 704.687.0751
Fax: 704.687.5285
Website
Email