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Final report on the South East Queensland Drug Court

Technical and background paper no. 6

Toni Makkai and Keenan Veraar
ISBN 0 642 53814 X ISSN 1445-7261
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, July 2003

Abstract

The final report on the South East Queensland Drug Court is the second of three reports that will form the basis of the evaluation of the South East Queensland Drug Court, and represents the final report of the operational period of the pilot program. The report discusses referrals to the Drug Court; court processes; the question of whether the Drug Court makes a difference to recidivism; and predicting Drug Court graduates. The report finds, among other things, that recidivism is significantly reduced for those who successfully complete the Drug Court program; few of the graduates reoffend once they complete the program; and reductions in offending pre and post program are greater for the Drug Court graduates than the comparison groups. There is a significant termination effect, with those who were terminated reoffending sooner than both the graduates and the comparison groups. Early risk assessment tools thus need to be developed that can ensure that offenders who have a low probability of survival in the Drug Court are provided with more intensive supervision or are deemed unsuitable either at referral or within a relatively short time of the intensive drug rehabilitation order being issued. In view of the lack of systematic health and drug use measures post program, the report notes the need for appropriate integrated systems across government and the non government sector in order to provide an evidence base for effective drug treatment interventions with offenders.