Drug Courts Work

By increasing direct supervision of offenders, coordinating public resources, and expediting case processing, Problem Solving Courts help to break the cycle of repeated criminal behavior, alcohol and drug use, and incarceration.

Nationally, financial returns range from $2.00 to $27.00 for every dollar invested in Drug Courts.

The Ada County Problem Solving Courts Program produces the following benefits:

1. Measurable Increases in Economic Activity

  • 96% Employment for Graduation Class (DC Grad 7/18/17)
  • $16 Million added to the County’s economy
  • $15,140 added to participant’s income

2. Dramatic Decreases in Re-Arrest and Conviction Rates

3.Significant Savings in Cost per Offender

According to a 2010 study, the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) spends approximately $19,545 to incarcerate each inmate per year. By comparison, Ada County's cost to provide rehabilitation services to each Problem Solving Court participant is only around one-quarter of this amount. In addition, the program generates considerable savings in court costs and legal defense fees by streamlining adjudication of substance abuse related felonies and misdemeanors.

  • Annual spending on inmate: $19,545
  • Annual spending on Drug Court participants, who continue to work and contribute to the community: $4,800 (based on the 1/4 statistic presented in the webpage currently)
  • Streamlines adjudication of substance abuse related felonies and misdemeanors

4. Building a Stronger Community

  • 117 drug-free Babies born to Women in Drug Court
  • 1,106 Graduates living and working in the local community, living drug and alcohol free
  • 39,000 total hours of community service
  • $143,599 kept from drug dealers, per day
  • Strengthened ties between communities, participants, and the criminal justice system

According to a 2010 NADCP report, numerous studies have analyzed the costs and benefits of Drug Court programs, and “studies have reported economic benefits ranging from approximately $2.00 to $27.00 for every $1.00 invested... The result has been net economic benefits to local communities ranging from approximately $3,000 to $13,000 per Drug Court participant.”

The above benefits notwithstanding, the most important difference between the traditional incarceration approach and the rehabilitation approach is in the participants themselves. Going through the program restores individual dignity and self-worth, and graduates—once drug-addicted offenders with limited job prospects and skills—return to society as drug-free and productive members of the community.