Improving the quality of drug court clinical screening: a call for performance measurement policy reform [2018]

Despite the widespread use of the drug court model, standardized performance measures for drug courts are not uniformly utilized, and rarely include process measures. To ensure that drug courts are being implemented in the most effective manner, the use of performance measurement tools should be considered for wide scale adoption. Drug court effectiveness is moderated by participant characteristics, and is most effective for individuals with the highest substance use needs. Therefore, having quality clinical screening processes is crucial to ensuring that drug courts are serving the population for which they are effective. This paper examines clinical screening in drug courts, to answer the following 1) what is the current state of screening, 2) what works, and 3) why measurement matters. It also proposes a clinical screening performance measure to improve fidelity and ensure appropriate participant enrollment. The creation of a performance measure would create opportunities to improve drug court outcomes, and leverage pay-for-performance models.

Brandy F Henry

Criminal Justice Studies: A Critical Journal of Crime, Law and Society, Volume 31, 2018 – Issue 3