This article published in The Atlantic last month, "How Treatment Courts Can Reduce Crime," emphasizes the need for treatment courts to expand eligibility criteria do what they do best: "routing people away from prison as opposed to sending people whose criminality is treatable behind bars."
"Research shows that treatment courts significantly reduce crime, and the best treatment courts reduce crime by up to 40 percent. One study showed that this drop lasts up to 14 years. Moreover, these courts diminish drug and alcohol abuse, improve family relationships, raise employment rates and incomes—all positive changes reaching far beyond the rap sheet alone.
"Better yet, they’re a good investment – recent numbers show that for every dollar spent on drug courts, the state saves $2.21 in reduced criminal justice costs. When drug courts take on a bigger challenge, they get a greater reward—a $3.36 return on investment for every dollar invested in treatment for serious, high-risk offenders. The savings—after considering how much money is saved by reduced hospital visits and costs of future victimization—go up to $27 for every $1 invested in treatment court. Looking at it on a per-person basis, every person treated in a drug treatment court saves the state between $3,000 and $13,000 going forward. Some research suggests that 75 percent of drug court graduates never get arrested again.