If Drug Treatment Works So Well, Why Are So Many Drug Users in Prison?
This paper examines the effectiveness of drug courts to reduce the size of the incarcerated drug-offending population using data from the Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities and the Survey of Inmates in Local Jails. We find that very few of those entering state prison in 2004 or jail in 2002 would have been eligible for drug diversion through state drug courts. The policy implication is that drug courts and other diversion programs require substantial redesign if they are to contribute to a reduction in the incarcerated population.
We thank Holly Nguyen for capable research assistance. We thank Jonathan Caulkins, Steven Raphael, and the conference organizers for excellent comments. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
If Drug Treatment Works So Well, Why Are So Many Drug Users in Prison?, Harold Pollack, Peter Reuter, Eric Sevigny. in Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, Cook, Ludwig, and McCrary. 2011