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MO Drug Courts - Drug Court Facts

Drug Court Facts


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Problems Drug Courts Can Help Address

  • In 2005, Missouri led the nation with 2,252 meth-lab incidents.
  • There were 10,273 persons admitted into state prisons in fiscal 2006. Of these, 1,545 had drug convictions; 2,731 had served probation for a drug offense but had their probation revoked; 412 were convicted for DWI and 416 had been on probation for DWI but had their probation revoked (Source: Dept. of Corrections)
  • During fiscal 2005, there were 1,862 children removed from their homes, by the Division of Children’s Services, as a result of parental drug or alcohol use.  

Why Drug Courts?

  • They are a proven cost-effective method for diverting non-violent offenders from incarceration in prisons.
  • Drug courts lower the recidivism rate of offenders when compared to either incarceration or probation.
  • They allow offenders to remain in their communities, to support their families and to pay taxes.
  • Drug courts reduce the number of babies born addicted.
  • They reduce crime and the need for foster care, and they help ensure that child support payments are made.

Current Status of Drug Courts in Missouri

  • As of January 9, 2008, there were 108 operational drug court programs. Of these, 75 are adult programs, 19 are juvenile programs and 14 are family programs.
  • These programs have over 3,200 active participants.
  • Since their inception, Missouri drug courts have had nearly 6,000 graduates with a 10-percent recidivism rate.
  • Since drug courts began, 326 drug-free babies have been born to drug court participants.
  • The retention rate for all programs is 60 percent.
  • In fiscal 2008, the state’s drug court programs request more than $9.7 million in funding while the commission has $5 million to spend.

Return on Investment in Drug Courts

  • Incarceration: Potential incarceration cost savings or cost avoidance for 2,495 adult offenders diverted from state prisons is about $20.8million. Fiscal 2007 incarceration costs are $14,538 per year per person, and drug courts costs are $6,190 per year per person. 
  • Probation: Initially, drug courts are more expensive than regular probation. However, due to the higher recidivism rate for probation, savings result in the second year. Based on a city of St. Louis cost-benefit analysis, after two years, the state gains $2.80 for each $1 spent on drug courts. After four years, the state gains $6.32 for each $1 spent on drug courts.
  • Foster Care: Potential foster care savings for 284 family drug court participants are more than $2.3 million. Foster care costs $7,220 per year per child.
  • Youth Services: Potential youth services savings for 209 juvenile offenders are more than $8.6 million. Youth services cost $47,348 per year per youth.

Missouri’s Commitment to Drug Courts

  • Fiscal 2008 marks the 15th anniversary of drug courts in Missouri – the first drug court started in 1993 in Jackson County. Missouri is a national leader, with more drug courts per capita than any other state in the nation.
  • This growth was due in part to legislative adoption of drug courts with the 1998 passage of HB 1147, codified at section 478.001, RSMo. In 2001, the general assembly and the governor enacted HB 471, codified at section 478.009, RSMo, to help ensure the coordination and allocation of drug court funding through the creation of the Drug Courts Coordinating Commission and the Drug Court Resources Fund. 

Drug Courts in the Fiscal 2008

  • The general assembly approved requested positions for drug courts including 2 drug court commissioners (in the 22nd and 12th Judicial Circuits) and 5 drug court administrators (in the 1st, 7th, 12th, 20th, and 31st)..