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Benefits of Drug Court

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King County Drug Diversion Court

Compassion + Accountability = Recovery

Data shows significant reductions in 36-month recidivism, decreased homelessness, reduced substance use, and increased employment for all program participants (not just graduates).


  • Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) reports a beneficial impact on recidivism for all KCDDC participants, even those who do not graduate, with 81% having no new felonies at 36-month follow-up.
  • DSHS data also shows a sustained increase in employment and earnings for all KCDDC participants.
  • King County MIDD data also demonstrates the specific benefits of KCDDC participation, including a sustained reduction in jail bookings, decreased substance use, and a successful focus on helping participants obtain housing, (a key to supporting their long-term recovery).

The Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) classifies drug courts as evidence-based, concluding they significantly reduce crime/recidivism and produce a return on investment 100% of the time. Read more about the “Evidence for Washington State Drug Courts”: OUTCOMES – Washington State Association of Drug Court Professionals and Washington Association of Drug Courts ( 

KCDDC supports success for people with the most significant challenges.  Most participants who enter KCDDC are experiencing homelessness, are unemployed, and are using substances daily. Although participants must demonstrate a period of abstinence from drugs and alcohol in order to successfully complete the program, participants are not expected to stop using right away – if they were able to do that, they would not need the intervention of a drug court. Instead, the initial focus is on treatment engagement, peer support, relationship building, and providing comprehensive resources to remove barriers. KCDDC is data driven, based on over three decades of research about what makes an effective drug court and is continuously evolving as more information and resources become available. The majority of participants who opt in to KCDDC graduate, resulting in a felony dismissal.

From day one, KCDDC participants gain access to services and resources to remove barriers to treatment engagement, such as transitional housing, an ORCA pass, a cell phone, basic clothing and hygiene supplies, emergency food bags, WA State ID, eyeglasses, education and employment support, substance use disorder treatment including inpatient, outpatient, and medications for opioid use disorder, Narcan for opioid overdose reversal, case management, mental health counseling, family and couples counseling, parenting support, Medicaid enrollment, medical and dental referrals, driver relicensing assistance, and drop-in peer support available 365 days a year.

KCDDC works to change behavior that is harming others in the community. By receiving the right combination of treatment, resources, support, structure, and accountability, participants are able to stop using and stop financing their addiction through crimes that are negatively impacting others in the community (i.e. vehicle theft, residential burglary, organized retail theft, drug delivery, identity theft, etc). As a condition of KCDDC graduation, victims receive the restitution they are owed.

When individuals participate in KCDDC, there is a benefit to the whole community in the form of crime reductions, economic savings, family reunification, and the many positive ripple effects that occur when individuals begin to transform their lives and give back to their communities.

Since the program's inception in 1994, thousands of individuals have graduated from KCDDC. We invite you to listen to a few of their remarkable stories of transformation and resilience by viewing "Stories of Recovery", attending a monthly graduation ceremony, or watching our March 2023 graduation celebration here: Drug Court Graduation March 2023 on Vimeo

Community Benefits

community safety - addresses root causes of behavior

Click on the image above to learn how Drug Court benefits the community.

Participant Benefits

A better future - support to achieve your goals

Click on the image above to learn about the benefits to Drug Court participants.