Program success should be defined in terms of measurable impact as well as smooth operations. Independent researchers have confirmed the claims of DTAP’s effectiveness. For example, Doug Young, a researcher who was formerly affiliated with the Vera Institute of Justice and who has studied numerous alternative-to-incarceration programs in New York City, concluded in 1997:
Funded by New York State, Vera’s research on DTAP provides evidence of the model’s achievement: DTAP participants stay in treatment longer and have higher completion rates compared with people in similar programs; they are unlikely to commit crime during treatment – to date there have been no arrests for violent crimes among participants; and early data indicate low rates of recidivism among DTAP graduates.
More recently, a five-year evaluation sponsored by the federal government also reached that same conclusion. In March of 2003, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, issued a White Paper report, Crossing the Bridge: An Evaluation of the Drug Treatment Alternative-to-Prison (DTAP) Program. The White Paper was based on findings that are part of a long-term analysis of the DTAP program by CASA which has been funded by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The Principal Investigator on that project is Steven Belenko, Ph.D. Formerly a senior researcher at CASA, Dr. Belenko then became a Senior Scientist at the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, and he is now a Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University. CASA’s research partners for this study have been the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland; the Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City, New York. The White Paper was prepared under the direction of Susan E. Foster, M.S.W., CASA’s Vice President and Director of Policy Research and Analysis.
D.5.1. Retention and Graduation Rates: Using data from more than 1,400 DTAP participants, the CASA research team concluded that program participants remain in treatment a median of 17.8 months, six times the three-month median stay for long-term residential treatment reported in the most recent national study of the general drug treatment population, the Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies (DATOS). Data from over 1,000 DTAP participants who were admitted into the program before November 2000, revealed that more than half (52.6%) graduate from the program. 
D.5.2. Reduced Recidivism: CASA researchers compared a group of 280 DTAP participants (a group which included both dropouts and graduates) to a group of 130 defendants who went through the criminal justice process in New York City.
According to CASA’s findings, DTAP participants, two years after leaving the program, had re-arrest rates that were 26 percent lower (43% vs. 58%) and reconviction rates that were 36 percent lower (30% vs. 47%) than those of the offenders in the matched comparison group two years after leaving prison. DTAP participants were also 67 percent less likely to return to prison (5% vs. 15%) two years after leaving the program than were members of the matched comparison group two years after leaving prison. 
CASA’s analysis comparing just those who graduated from DTAP to those of the matched comparison group who served time in prison reveals findings that are even more dramatic. DTAP graduates had re-arrest rates that were 33 percent lower (39% vs. 58%), reconviction rates that were 45 percent lower (26% vs. 47%), and were 87 percent less likely to return to prison (2% vs. 15%) two years after completing the program than the matched comparison group two years after leaving prison.
D.5.3. Employment: CASA’s research revealed that DTAP graduates are three and one-half times likelier to be employed than they were before arrest and entrance into the program (92% vs. 26%). According to the report, “[r]econnecting ex-offenders to the world of legitimate employment is crucial to maintaining recovery and reducing future criminal behavior.” For example, CASA found, from an analysis of 117 employable graduates, that among those DTAP graduates who were working at the time of program completion, 13 percent were rearrested during the three-year follow-up. In contrast, 33 percent of those who were not working were rearrested during the same period.
D.5.4. Reduced Costs: The CASA team concluded that DTAP’s results were achieved at about half the average cost of incarceration. CASA calculated that the average cost for a DTAP participant was $32,975, and compared that to the average cost of $64,338, if that same person had been sent to prison.
The results of the CASA research as reported in the White Paper confirm DTAP’s own analyses of its data and validate District Attorney Hynes’ faith in the DTAP model as an effective means to reduce crime and drug use. DTAP joins in CASA’s recommendation that “courts and prosecutors’ offices across the Nation should consider this type of program as a possible cost-effective alternative to incarceration.”
 From page 43 Young, Douglas, 1997, “New York: Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison Program.” Pp. 37-44 in Improving the Nation’s Criminal Justice System: Findings and Results from State and Local Program Evaluations. Washington, DC: Office of Justice Assistance.
 CASA, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. 2003. Crossing the Bridge: An Evaluation of the Drug Treatment Alternative-to-Prison (DTAP) Program. A CASA White Paper, March 2003. The report can be downloaded for free from the publications list on CASA’s website: www.casacolumbia.org.