Aim: To evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the NSW Drug Court in reducing recidivism.
Method: Offenders referred to the NSW Drug Court and accepted onto the program (the treatment group) were compared with offenders referred to but not accepted onto the program (the control group). Cox regression analyses were conducted to assess the impact of the NSW Drug Court on four outcomes: (1) time to the next proven offence (of any type); (2) time to the next proven person offence; (3) time to the next proven property offence; (4) time to the next proven drug offence. Negative Binomial regression was used to assess the effect of the NSW Drug Court on the total number of re-convictions. All analyses controlled for age, sex, Aboriginality, the principal offence associated with each case, whether the offender was previously convicted of a violent offence, number of concurrent offences, the number of prior convictions and time spent in custody.
Results: Net of controls, offenders in the treatment group took 22 per cent longer to re-offend for a person offence than offenders in the control group. Offenders in the treatment group also had a 17 per cent lower re-offending rate than offenders in the control group. No differences between groups were found in relation to time to the next offence of any kind, time to the next property offence or time to the next drug offence.
Conclusion: The Drug Court appears to have long term beneficial effects on the total number of re-convictions and the risk of another person offence.