Hillsborough County - Southern District Adult Drug Court Evaluation

State: New Hampshire

Client(s): SAMHSA - CSAT

Service: Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Substance Use, Behavioral Health


The Hillsborough County Superior Court – Southern District, Nashua, NH, opened 847 new felony cases in 2014. 40% of those cases were for the sale, possession or manufacturing of drugs. This does not take into account the number of cases that are drug related, such as theft or burglary where the offender has committed crimes to support their addiction. Estimates are that those cases account for 10-20% of the remaining caseload, which puts the percent of cases relating to drugs well over 50%. There were 4,000+ arrests made by the Nashua Police Department in 2014 and 503 of them were for drugs, representing a 39% increase from the average of 2005-2013. The police indicate that while total arrests have actually decreased over the years, arrests for drugs have increased.

In response to this trend, the Hillsborough County Drug Court Program (HCDC) is expanding and further developing the HCDC with 3-year funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment Capacity in Adult and Family Drug Courts. The goals of the HCDC are the following:

  • Reduce recidivism and substance abuse among high risk/high need non-violent offenders
  • Increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation by breaking the criminogenic patterns of behavior related to addiction and substance abuse.
This is achieved through early, continuous, and intense treatment; mandatory random drug testing; community supervision; appropriate sanctions and incentives; and other rehabilitation services, all of which are supervised by the HCDC.

JSI will provide program monitoring and evaluation services. The HCDC will utilize a range of evidence-based practices during screening, assessment, and treatment. Because the HCDC recognizes that most offenders do not have a single targeted problem and that it is the responsibility of treatment and rehabilitation programs to adapt to and meet the specific needs of individuals, these evidence-based tools are used since together they provide a comprehensive picture of each offender’s criminogenic, substance use, and mental health risks and needs.

Once offenders are accepted into the program, they engage in a more thorough bio-psycho-social assessment with a clinician familiar with both addiction and mental health evaluation and treatment. The treatment interventions and therapeutic approach of treatment will also be evidenced-based. All participation activities, including engagement in treatment and compliance with drug court requirements, will be documented using the Drug Court Tracking Database, and MS Access database developed by JSI specifically for Adult Treatment Drug Courts.

HCDC will increase treatment access to the target population as well as provide services to a larger number of clients. This funding will support the expansion of the drug court treatment and case management staff so that a broad array of services may be offered to, initially, 45 and ultimately 50 participants per year.