Study looks at recidivism in therapeutic courts

The Alaska Judicial Council released a study this week that indicates felons benefit from participating in therapeutic court programs.

The study found that all participants had lower rearrest and reconviction rates compared to offenders who didn’t participate in similar programs.

Participants who graduated from the programs benefitted the most — the rearrest rate for felon graduates was about one-third lower than the comparison group, and the re-conviction rate was about half than that of the comparison group.

“Misdemeanant success depended on graduation,” a press release from the Anchorage-based council states. “The rearrest and reconviction rates for graduates were about one-third lower than those of the comparison offenders. Non-graduate misdemeanants had substantially higher rearrest and reconviction rates than comparison offenders, but the rearrest and reconviction rates for graduates and non-graduates combined were about the same as the rates for the comparison offenders.”

The Alaska Judicial Council, which conducts studies and makes recommendations to improve the administration of justice, conducted the study with the Institute of Social and Economic Research when they were asked by the Alaska Criminal Justice Working Group to review outcomes for evidence-based programs in the adult criminal justice system.

The study, called “Recidivism in Alaska’s Therapeutic Courts for Addictions and Department of Corrections Institutional Substance Abuse Programs,” also looked at Department of Corrections substance abuse programs and found they were most effective for graduates.

“Felons were 50 percent more likely to complete a program than misdemeanants, probably because it was less likely they would be transferred or released prior to completion,” the release states.

Misdemeanor offenders who completed programs had the most success — their rearrest rate was about one-third lower than the comparison group, and the re-conviction rate was about half than that of the comparison group.

To view the entire report, visit


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