This study aimed to determine whether being referred to the Court Referral of Eligible Defendants into Treatment (CREDIT) pilot program reduces re-offending.
Method: Using propensity score matching, adult defendants referred to the CREDIT program, who had their matter finalised in court by 30 June 2011, were matched to control defendants on a large number of socio-demographic, index offence and prior offence characteristics. Intention-to-treat analyses were conducted separately for the two CREDIT pilot sites of Tamworth (n = 261) and Burwood (n = 159). Re-offending was measured until 30 June 2012.
Results: No significant differences were found between defendants referred to CREDIT and their matched controls in the proportion re-offending within 12 months, the number of court re-appearances within 12 months or the time to the first proven re-offence.
Conclusion: These results suggest that defendants referred to the CREDIT program are as likely to re-offend as defendants who are dealt with through the normal court process. However, these results may reflect the very small number of defendants referred to the program over the study period, the short follow-up period involved and the inability to match treatment and control defendants on key variables related to offending (e.g. drug use, mental health issues).