The 15th Judicial District’s Drug Court program is receiving high marks in a new analysis conducted by the Supreme Court of Louisiana, which helps fund the program along with the federal government. Comprising Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes, the judicial district’s program is operated by Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Community Development Department. It diverts first-offense, non-violent drug offenders who are willing through a yearlong program of drug treatment, supervision, education and random drug testing. Successful completion of the program can lead to the drug charge being expunged from the offender’s record.

“The most rigorous evaluations of drug court programs compare drug offenders who enter the program to those who qualified but chose not to enter the program,” the study’s authors write.

The purpose of the analysis was to compare recidivism rates among graduates of drug court, those who declined to participate in drug court and instead chose probation (Tract 3), and those who chose a program of education, drug treatment and probation (Prevention Plus/Tract 1). In all cases, drug court graduates were less likely to be rearrested than either Tract 1 or Tract 3 participants.

Among the findings:

— Drug court graduates are six times less likely to be rearrested within six months of completion of the program than are Tract 3 probationers and half as likely to be rearrested than offenders who complete Tract 1/Prevention Plus.

— After a year following completion of the program, drug court graduates are less likely to rearrested for any kind of crime than are those who complete either of the two other programs.

Read the full report here.

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