Excerpts from Adaweb.net:
The Ada County Drug Court Program was established in February of 1999 and is designed to emphasize treatment instead of incarceration. Although Drug Court is completely voluntary, offenders must plead guilty and undergo a substance abuse assessment in order to be accepted into the program. The Drug Court target population is Ada County residents who are charged with felony possession of a controlled substance; or charged with a property crime, which is drug related; or felony probationer with substance abuse problems. Program participants plead guilty to a felony charge and then enter an intensive four-phase treatment program lasting a minimum of one year. The typical graduate completes the program in about 18.15 months. Upon successful completion of treatment, the defendant will graduate from the program; the guilty plea will be set aside, and the criminal charges dismissed.
As of May 14th, 813 participants have successfully completed the program and graduated from Ada County Drug Court. Graduates have shown a 58% increase in employment and the economic impact of program graduates as of May 2013, is over 10 million dollars per year. A study completed April 2003 by Edward J. Latessa, Ph.D. of the University of Cincinnati showed the recidivism rate for Ada County Drug Court graduates followed for 820 days (2 years 3 months) at 18.7 percent. The comparison group was followed for 677 days (1 year 10 months) or 143 days less than drug court graduates and showed a recidivism rate of 62.8%.
According to Judge Karen Freeman-Wilson (ret.), Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), Drug courts are an alternative to enforcement/interdiction and legalization. They provide judicial monitoring and drug testing which have proven to be the keys to success in treating and rehabilitating defendants, increasing public safety and restoring individual dignity. Several requirements and factors lead to the successful treatment and rehabilitation of defendants and ultimately reduce drug abuse and its concomitant crime within communities across the country, thereby returning the once drug-addicted offender to society as a drug-free and productive member of the community. Drug courts are so successful in fact, that the recidivism rates for those who participate in the nearly 1,200 drug courts throughout the United States are between 4 and 25%, as compared to 60-80% of the general prison population. They are the original form of therapeutic jurisprudence and drug reform policy.