Juvenile Drug Courts and Recidivism

  1. Juvenile Justice

Key Findings

  • Nine juvenile drug courts examined in the United States were found to be ineffective in reducing recidivism.
  • Juvenile courts must improve the effectiveness of juvenile drug courts by increasing adherence to known principles of effective intervention.


This study reports examined nine juvenile drug courts (JDCs) from across the United States. A quasi-experimental design, with one-to-one matching on possible confounders and sociodemographics, was used for the outcome assessment (n = 1372), while baseline and outcome data were drawn from justice system records. Although there is variation across sites and, to some extent, outcomes, these JDCs were generally ineffective in reducing recidivism. Similar findings have emerged in other recent studies of JDCs.

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