Adult Drug Court Programs: Factors Related to Eligibility and Acceptance of Offers to Participate in DOJ Funded Adult Drug Courts

What GAO Identified

The Section of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Aid (BJA) supplies grants to apply and enrich adult drug court docket courses. Drug courts get the job done to divert folks with substance use conditions from the felony justice system by giving expert services for procedure and rehabilitation, and incentives to motivate participation, this sort of as dismissal of fees or reduction in jail time for successful completion. In administering the BJA grants, area and tribal grownup drug courtroom programs take into consideration a assortment of components when choosing irrespective of whether to deem an unique eligible for participation in their software. Among the other factors, many adult drug courts taking part in GAO’s concentration teams noted making use of risk assessment applications to establish and concentrate on their products and services to individuals who are addicted to illicit medicines or alcohol and at a sizeable danger for reoffending. Grownup drug courts may also consider individuals’ mental and cognitive health requirements, and may perhaps not acknowledge folks if their wants exceed the capacity of the court to tackle them. Ultimately, courts may possibly limit eligibility to men and women residing in the court’s jurisdiction. Stakeholders in GAO’s emphasis teams and situation studies also determined barriers to enrollment in grownup drug courts centered on the mother nature of individuals’ offenses. For instance, area adult drug courts might prohibit participation by persons with precise types of offenses these kinds of as, sexual assault or domestic violence. Even further, adult drug courts funded by DOJ grants are prohibited by legislation from applying grant funding to incorporate people today with prior or latest violent offenses in their systems.

Factors that Could be Employed by Nearby and Tribal Adult Drug Courts to Establish Eligibility

Factors that May be Used by Local and Tribal Adult Drug Courts to Determine Eligibility

A wide variety of aspects have an effect on qualified individuals’ selections to participate in adult drug court docket plans. Motives people might pick out to enroll in adult drug court docket include things like preventing jail time, obtaining a reduction or expungement of prices, and obtaining the determination to conquer compound use diseases. Stakeholders from adult drug courts collaborating in GAO’s concentrate groups stated that it is unusual that qualified people decline grownup drug courtroom presents. Nevertheless, some individuals might select not to take part mainly because more eye-catching options are available to them, this kind of as standard probation or other fewer arduous systems. In addition, obstacles these kinds of as accessibility to stable housing and transportation may perhaps outcome in people opting not to participate.

Why GAO Did This Study

In 2022, 107,477 Us residents died from drug overdoses, in accordance to Middle for Sickness Manage and Prevention’s provisional details. In March 2021, GAO additional countrywide efforts to protect against, reply to, and recuperate from drug misuse to its superior-chance listing. Drug courts are specialized courtroom applications that goal to provide offenders with substance use problems. The 2022 Nationwide Drug Management Technique states that alternatives to incarceration such as drug courts can enhance long-term general public basic safety, decrease recidivism, and preserve tax-payer dollars.

As of December 2019, there are almost 1,700 drug courts focused on grownups with material use ailments in the United States. Almost $60 million in federal grant funding supported these courts in fiscal yr 2020.

GAO was questioned to overview adult drug courtroom eligibility and scenarios in which individuals have declined to take part in grownup drug courts. This report describes (1) eligibility for participation in community and tribal grownup drug court courses supported by DOJ grants, and (2) variables that have an affect on individuals’ acceptance of delivers to take part in adult drug court programs.

GAO assessed BJA information, interviewed BJA officials and issue make any difference gurus, and conducted scenario experiments with 5 local and tribal grownup drug courts and target groups with 44 adult drug courts. The conclusions are not generalizable, but give insight into picked adult drug courtroom functions.

For additional information, make contact with Triana McNeil at (202) 512-8777 or [email protected].