A Melding of Justice and Treatmen t: Recidivism Rates of Kalamazoo’s Sobriety Court Program
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Drug courts have become a promising and humane solution to treating America’s addiction problem. Although the drug court model for rehabilitation has been widely praised, researchers must continually evaluate these programs by monitoring participants beyond their graduations. 600 drunk driving offenders (450 male, 150 female, Mage = 31.57 years, SD = 10.697 years) from Kalamazoo’s drug court program were analyzed for recidivism rates and compared to 355 similar offenders (269 male, 86 female, Mage = 32.14 years, SD = 10.238 years) who did not participate in the program and maintained a general probation. It was hypothesized that offenders in the program would have lower rates of reconviction, or recidivism, for various categories of offenses: any offenses, drug offenses, drunk driving offenses, and felony offenses. Results showed that participants of the court program had lower total recidivism and lower drug recidivism than the comparison sample from general probation, but did not support a difference in drunk driving or felony recidivism. Between participants who successfully completed the court program and those who successfully completed their general probation, program participants had significantly lower recidivism rates among all categories as compared to general probationers. Among those in the drug court program, successful participants also had significantly lower recidivism rates across all categories than participants who were unsuccessful terminated from the program. Future researchers should seek to analyze factors that attribute to success both in these drug court programs as well as in recidivism rates beyond graduation.