The New South Wales Youth Drug and Alcohol Court Program: A Decade of Development

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In 2010, the NSW Youth Drug and Alcohol Court (‘YDAC’) Program celebrated
its 10th year of continual operation, but despite a promising early evaluation of
the Program,1 it remains an indefinite pilot. In 2000, the year the YDAC program commenced as a pilot, Freiberg remarked that, ‘[o]n balance, Australia is right in experimenting with drug courts, providing that they are rigorously and carefully evaluated and carefully targeted at those who are most likely to benefit.’2 Notably, the ‘NSW Drug Summit 1999 — Government Plan of Action’, declared that‘[a]s with the adult Drug Court program, the Youth Drug Court will be carefully evaluated.’3 However, to date there is only one published evaluation of the YDAC Program4 and very limited available information that describes or analyses its development and current structure and characteristics. This paper attempts to redress this gap in the literature somewhat, by providing a descriptive overview of the YDAC Program based on publicly available information about the program and the author’s own experiences as the former manager of this program. This is then critically compared to research evidence about criminal justice programs and services that work to reduce young offenders’ rates of recidivism and harmful substance misuse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-297
Number of pages18
JournalMonash University Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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