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Audit Finds Utah Drug Courts Could be Improved

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The Office of the Utah State Auditor has completed a performance audit of the state’s Adult Felony Drug Courts.

Felony drug courts are for those who have multiple charges of substance abuse and are deemed to pose a high risk to society.   

“Utah is ahead of the curve in drug courts. We do a lot of things really well,” says audit director David Pulsipher, but he says the program is very lean in terms of resources and that can hurt outcomes. “This audit addresses things that we believe will increase the ability of drug courts to accomplish its mission, which is ultimately to rehabilitate people and help them to become contributing members to society.”

The audit finds that the agencies responsible for drug court have not collected the data that is needed to determine the program’s effectiveness. It recommends coordination with job specialists at the Department of Workforce Services. Drug court participants are up to 30 percent more likely to complete the program if they’re employed at the time of discharge.

The audit also found that enrolling eligible clients in Medicaid would have saved the state 3.1 million dollars in a year. It recommends a risk assessment for all non-violent offenders at the time of arrest for better outcomes and decreased incarceration costs.

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