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Do Drug Courts Save Money?

Incarceration of drug-using offenders cost a minimum of $25,000 per year (and as much as $50,000). The capital costs to build a prison cell is $80-$90,000. In contrast, the most comprehensive Drug Court System costs an average of $3,000 annually for each offender.

The savings to the community from a reduction of property crime and reduced public health costs are immense. The California Drug and Alcohol Treatment Assessment (CALDATA) estimated a cost of less than $8 per day for outpatient treatment which compares with estimates of $50 to $70 per day associated with jail time.

The outpatient treatment program utilized by drug court is relatively inexpensive when compared to incarceration costs.

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