Cheshire County Drug Court Cost-Benefit Analysis



Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance


United States

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The County of Cheshire, New Hampshire, enhanced their Cheshire County Adult Drug Court Program (CCDC) with funding from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance. The CCDC sought to increase assessment, treatment, and recovery services offered by the Phoenix House Keene Center and Southwestern Community Services to high-risk/high-need adult offenders in a post-adjudication model. The primary goal of CCDC, which has been in operation since 2013, is to positively impact the lives of those committing non-violent felony offenses related to a diagnosed substance-use disorder. This goal is met through a collaborative drug court team that provides the rigorous structure needed for successful drug court participation. A total of 77 individuals were referred to the program. Through the expansion of evidence-based treatment and recovery services the drug court team was able develop individualized treatment and supervision plans to meet the needs of 51 participants over the course of the three-year grant.

JSI performed a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) using the Transactional and Institutional Cost Analysis (TICA) approach developed by NPC Research. The TICA approach can be used by adult drug courts to determine 1) the program costs of judicial diversion (e.g., drug court); 2) the differential cost between court ordered treatment and business-as-usual, non-treatment costs; and 3) estimate the long term cost impact of drug court on the criminal justice system based on 3-year recidivism rates. This CBA relied on a series of interviews with organizations and agencies involved in the drug court system as well as other agencies in the criminal justice system.

To complement the CBA, JSI conducted a process evaluation study to determine the level of fidelity to the national adult drug court standards and practices. These results helped inform the CCDC team determine if the program: was being implemented as intended; the associated costs; the effectiveness of the CCDC protocol; and to determine the extent to which the drug court model is a beneficial investment by the County.

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