Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type



Criminology and Criminal Justice

Director of Thesis

John Burrow, M.A., J.D., Ph.D.

First Reader

Sara Corwin, M.P.H., Ph.D.

Second Reader

Sara Corwin, M.P.H., Ph.D.


The purpose of this thesis is to examine a piece of drug court legislation currently being considered by the South Carolina Legislature, H. 3322 § 302. An overview of drug criminalization in the United States, its impact, and drug courts are provided. This is followed by a review of the literature on the key programmatic components of drug court best practices, including: target population, incentives and sanctions, management team, and duration. An example analysis of Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Drug Court Program policies proceeds the analysis of H. 3322. Parameters of successful drug court legislation and program outcomes are defined and the current landscape of South Carolina drug courts as well as the legislative history of H. 3322 are outlined. Analysis of drug court best practices in H. 3322 § 302 are supplemented by stakeholder interviews. The legislative analysis also includes the impacts of H. 3322 on long-term outcomes such as recidivism, drug dependency, and socioeconomic costs. Finally, the likelihood of passage of H. 3322 and alternate policy intervention frameworks are discussed. Policy frameworks included in the discussion are: reentry courts, community-based treatment and criminal justice system diversion, and decriminalization of illicit substances.

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© 2019, Mae Chinnes