PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to classify DWI courts on the basis of the mix of difficult cases participating in the court (casemix severity) and the amount of involvement between the court and participant (service intensity). Using our classification typology, we assessed how casemix severity and service intensity are associated with program outcomes. We expected that holding other factors constant, greater service intensity would improve program outcomes while a relatively severe casemix would result in worse program outcomes.
METHODS: The study used data from 8 DWI courts, 7 from Michigan and 1 from North Carolina. Using a 2-way classification system based on court casemix severity and program intensity, we selected participants in 1 of the courts, and alternatively 2 courts as reference groups. Reference group courts had relatively severe casemixes and high service intensity. We used propensity score matching to match participants in the other courts to participants in the reference group court programs. Program outcome measures were the probabilities of participants': failing to complete the court's program; increasing educational attainment; participants improving employment from time of program enrollment; and re-arrest.
RESULTS: For most outcomes, our main finding was that higher service intensity is associated with better outcomes for court participants, as anticipated, but a court's casemix severity was unrelated to study outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results imply that devoting more resources to increasing duration of treatment is productive in terms of better outcomes, irrespective of the mix of participants in the court's program.