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Measuring Drug Court Structure and Operations: Key Components and Beyond
Criminal Justice and Behavior, 37: 933-950

Link to Publication

Researcher(s): (Matthew Hiller) (Steven Belenko) (Faye S Taxman) (Douglas Young) (Matthew Perdoni) (Christine Saum)


In the past 20 years, drug courts have become a common part of criminal justice systems' responses to drug-related crime. However, systematic national research has been limited on how drug courts are specifically organized, limiting the ability of staff at individual programs to compare the structure and operations of their program to those from a nationally representative data set. Therefore, as a part of the eCourt project, a national sample of drug court coordinators was asked to rate the extent to which a set of guidelines, the "10 key components," was implemented using a 43-item self-administered questionnaire. Psychometric analyses indicated that a seven-factor solution (with 27 items) provided the best and most interpretable fit. Composite indices included eligibility and program components, therapeutic and individualized jurisprudence, team collaboration and communication, community support, data-driven program development, graduated sanctions, and defense and prosecution collaboration. Suggested uses for the findings are discussed.

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