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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Drug Courts Evaluation

The Nebraska Public Policy Center has conducted three evaluations of Nebraska’s Problem-Solving Courts. Two of the evaluations were for the Administrative Office of the Courts. The first evaluation was conducted from March – September of 2007 and covered eight probation problem-solving courts in Nebraska, including three adult drug courts (Midwest Nebraska, Northeast Nebraska, Sarpy County), four juvenile drug courts (Scottsbluff, Lancaster County, Douglas County, Sarpy County) and one young adult problem-solving court (Douglas County). The goal of the Nebraska’s Problem-solving (Drug) Court evaluation was to understand how well drug courts work, examine offender characteristics, examine current practices and procedures, and determine outcomes for offenders entering problem-solving courts.

The second evaluation for the Administrative Office of the Courts was conducted from March 2010 through December 2011 and included all 22 problem solving courts in Nebraska. The evaluation determined that Nebraska problem-solving courts are effectively operated, graduation rates match or exceed national rates, the programs are cost efficient, and serve a diversity of offenders with few disparities based on race, ethnicity, and gender. Recommendations for improvement include accepting higher risk offenders, enhancing training for teams, implementing culturally appropriate services, reducing the time between arrest and drug court admission, and implementing continuous quality improvement through ongoing program evaluation.

The third evaluation was a three year program evaluation of the Lancaster County Adult Drug Court. This evaluation was conducted from October 2010 through September 2013 and another evaluation is currently being conducted from October 2014 through September 2017. The purpose of the evaluation was to identify the characteristics of drug court participants, determine the outcomes produced by the drug court, and to understand how the court operates. The evaluation determined the Lancaster County Drug Court follows the guiding principles of drug courts, has highly qualified treatment staff, and offers evidence based treatment though community treatment providers.

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