Drug courts were established for criminal offenders whose primary offense is related to drug use. As an alternative to incarceration, the drug court incorporates drug treatment with close judicial supervision. A team approach includes the judge, public defender, case workers and/or treatment providers, and a coordinator. Traditional drug court treatment programs offer therapeutic approaches that include mandatory counseling, 12-step (self-help) group meetings, attendance at regular court sessions, random drug testing, and, in some cases, life skills training (Nolan 2003). Some drug courts place particular emphasis on furthering participants' education and their job skills. In these examples, employment and education are seen as important treatment outcomes (Leukefield 2007; Deschenes 2009). Adding services to drug court programs such as employment and educational resources and increasing the number of residential treatment beds also improves retention rates for participation and helps contain recidivism rates (Deschenes 2009). Most studies find drug court participants to have substantially lower re-arrest rates than comparison samples, with recidivism as low as 27 percent compared to 70 percent for drug offenders who did not participate in a drug court program (Belenko 1998; May 2008).

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