Drug Offender Reform Act (DORA)

Drug addiction is a driving force behind many crimes

Approximately 85% of Utah's prison population has a substance abuse problem related to their criminal behavior. Unfortunately, we fail to identify these offenders before they get to prison, so we miss out on opportunities to provide treatment and break the criminal cycle. Currently, only 25% of inmates that need treatment can receive it due to limited resources.

The Drug Offender Reform Act (DORA) changes how Utah handles offenders with a drug-related problem. Offenders with a drug problem are identified so judges have more information at sentencing.

Judges are not required to mandate treatment, but more resources and options become available. Some offenders will be locked up and receive treatment. Others will receive community-based sanctions and treatment services, freeing up bed space for more dangerous criminals.

Drug Treatment is Effective

Drug treatment does work. Lives change when we treat the addiction driving the criminal behavior.

A 2004 study of Utah State Prison's Con-Quest Residential Substance Abuse program found that 95% of offenders who completed the program and were released from prison had not returned 18 months later.

In another study of Salt Lake County Drug Court graduates, 60% were arrest-free 18 months after completing the program. Only 22% of those who did not receive treatment were arrest-free.

DORA Key Points

  • Provides for smarter sentencing of offenders with substance abuse problems
  • Requires a drug screening and, if needed, a drug assessment
  • Does not mandate treatment, but provides judges with more information at sentencing
  • Creates more treatment slots in the community and in correctional facilities
  • Reduces, but does not eliminate, Utah’s future needs for prison and jail beds
  • Creates more taxpaying and law abiding citizens
  • Creates safer neighborhoods

DORA Reports

DORA Statewide Report (11/1/11 - Updated Mini-Report)

DORA Pilot 2010

DORA Statewide Evaluation 2010 - Legislative Brief

DORA Evaluations Conducted by the University of Utah Criminal Justice Center

DORA PowerPoint Presentation


Starting Tuesday, September 6, 2011, our agency hours will be 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

State Capitol Complex
Senate Building Suite 330
PO Box 142330
SLC UT 84114-2330
Office: 801-538-1031
Fax: 801-538-1024