Date: June 13, 2005
Contact: Michael Hopkins
Phone: (708) 534-7090
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, June 13, 2005 – The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit Court has selected Governors State University to perform an independent process evaluation of the DuPage County Drug Court, an alternative sentencing program that provides substance abuse treatment to drug-addicted offenders. A contract between the university and the court was approved by the DuPage County Board last month.
The county cited Governors State’s expertise and experience in its decision to award the contract to the university, noting the investigators have conducted five previous Drug Court evaluations.
The evaluation will be conducted through August of this year.
Tony Tymkow, project coordinator for the university, said the evaluation is required by a U.S. Department of Justice Drug Court Enhancement Grant that the court received in 2003.
“The contract for the evaluation was very competitive,” Tymkow said. “But the bottom line is that we have the evaluation and research expertise to make a comprehensive assessment.”
Dr. James “Chip” Coldren, Jr., academic program coordinator for the Criminal Justice Department at Governors State, serves as the project director for the university. He said the evaluation will be comprehensive in scope. “We’ll assess the Drug Court’s various components, from compliance with mandatory reporting and testing to community support and court procedures.”
He added, “Our team adopts a utilization approach to criminal justice program evaluations. In other words, we want to provide critical feedback that the client can use to improve its processes.”
Coldren said one of the keys to success in programs like Drug Court is collaboration and partnership. “The collaborative aspect is often overlooked in evaluations of this kind. Our evaluation will pay particular attention to the characteristics of healthy collaboration.”
Tymkow said collaboration is one of Governors State’s own strengths in projects like the Drug Court evaluation. “We’ve partnered with Dr. Jacqueline Mullany, who will be the principal investigator on our team.” Mullany is a former GSU professor and experienced drug court evaluator. She is currently a professor of criminal justice at Indiana University Northwest.
Coldren, who came to GSU in January to head up the university’s Criminal Justice program, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
He has served as director for several institutes and departments, including the Center for Research in Law and Justice and the Institute for Public Safety Partnerships at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
He also served as deputy director for the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, conducted by the Harvard University School of Public Health.
He is currently President of the John Howard Association for Prison Reform in Chicago.