Some interventions in the last two decades have shown success in reducing both drug‐related crime and incarceration. Drug treatment courts have relied on costly criminal justice interventions and have been overly circumscribed in eligibility requirements. The outcomes reported from evaluations suggest that they help a subset of drug‐involved offenders who typically do not have records of violent crimes or long histories of felony convictions (Sevigny, Pollack, and Reuter, 2013). Yet this is a product of their design as they often exclude the most problematic cases. Drug courts account for less than 10% of drug‐involved defendants and make only a modest contribution to crime control (Bhati, Roman, and Chalfin, 2008). The new commission would explore how the drug courts might responsibly expand their reach by experimenting with less rigid eligibility requirements and different monitoring and sanctioning regimes. Similarly, the new commission would push for more evaluations or pilots of “swift, certain, and fair” sanctions (e.g., HOPE and 24/7 Sobriety) or “pulling levers” (e.g., Drug Market Initiative). Evaluation results to date are mixed, but the underlying theoretical models are compelling and much will be learned with further experimentation and evaluation (Corsaro, Hunt, Hipple, and McGarrell, 2012; Hawken and Kleiman, 2009). Similarly, the new commission would recommend expanding research into community supervision and electronic monitoring for low‐level or nonviolent drug‐related offenders.
Posted on by Kelly Smith