A new cost-benefit analysis of the Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison program released by the Pima County Attorney’s Office showed that the program is saving the state $1 million.
The DTAP, is a three-year program initiated by the county in an effort to reduce drug addiction and drug-related crimes in Pima. It selects non-violent offenders convicted of drug-related crimes -other than possession for sale, production, manufacturing or transportation for sale- and enrolls them in a rehabilitation program instead of sending them to prison.
The analysis compares the program’s first year participants with a control group composed of drug offenders who share similar characteristics, but were incarcerated because they were arrested before the implementation of DTAP.
Data indicated it cost the state about one-third less for participants enrolled in DTAP than for the control group in prison. The average cost for a participant to complete the program was about $10,000, compared to $30,000 to send a similar offender to prison for an average sentence of two and a half years.
The attorney's office said DTAP facilitates psychological assessments, residential treatment, case management, medical services, review hearings and probations for participants as an alternative to time in prison.
Yoohyun Jung is a University of Arizona journalism student and an apprentice at Arizona Public Media