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WASHINGTON -- Since 1994, federal and state governments have invested more than a billion dollars in drug courts, specialized programs that supervise substance-abuse treatment for certain nonviolent offenders. The courts give offenders an opportunity to change their behavior and stop using illegal drugs before becoming enmeshed in the legal and penal systems.
Starting in the mid-1990s, state and local jurisdictions began to establish juvenile drug courts, and by November 2003 there were 294 such courts in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Plans for another 112 are afoot. Yet, without more program evaluation data, whether adult drug courts work -- …