|Author||Passey, Megan; Northern Rivers University Department of Rural Health|
|Source/Publisher||NSW Attorney General's Department|
|Subjects||Courts and sentencing, Drugs and alcohol, Evaluation|
The Lismore Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment (MERIT) Pilot Program, a pre-plea early court intervention, was planned by the NSW Government in response to recommendations from the Drug Summit held in May 1999. It was run as a pilot program for two years from July 2000, with an evaluation commissioned by the Attorney General’s Department. This report is the final report from that evaluation. The target population of the Lismore MERIT Pilot Program was adult defendants at Lismore and surrounding Local Courts, who had a demonstrable drug problem, were eligible for bail, and who were motivated to engage in treatment for their illicit drug problems. The aim of the research project was to formally evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the LMPP. The intended outcomes of the program were: decreased drug-related crime, decreased illicit drug use, as well as improved health and social functioning among participants, both during the program and following completion, plus reduced sentences due to better rehabilitation prospects. The concluding remarks state that the LMPP appears to have been successfully implemented, with the evaluation findings suggesting that it has achieved its intended outcomes.
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