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NCJ Number: 122028 Find in a Library
Title: Sentenced to Get Better
Journal: Drug Link  Volume:5  Issue:1  Dated:(January/February 1990)  Pages:8-10
Author(s): P Haynes
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 3
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Government proposals in England will force courts and drug agencies to work closer together in order to implement treatment alternatives to custody for drug abusers, although such alternatives may not reduce the prison population.
Abstract: There is debate over whether new alternatives to custody will decrease the prison population. One explanation for the apparent contradiction is that many offenders will fail to meet more stringent requirements for noncustodial options and, when they reoffend, the court has little recourse but to impose a sometimes lengthy period of custody. Drug abuses who fail a strict court-imposed program are likely to be imprisoned as a sanction for failure, and drug abusers are not always capable of complying with structured programs. Another important issue is that the idea of punishment in the community does not satisfactorily address the policy issue of how inconsistency in sentencing decisions can be controlled. England already has a type of compulsory treatment for drug abusers; many drug offenders are placed on probation with the condition that they reside in a specified therapeutic community. If they abscond in the first few months of treatment, they will be rearrested and resentenced. This approach works with a few offenders, but many abscond and end up in custody. Further research is needed to compare the length of stay in rehabilitation for those on conditions of residence and those who are not. Even for juvenile drug offenders, there are philosophical doubts as to whether compulsory treatment will succeed. Sentencing options already available should be better researched and developed. For example, the recent trend toward placing probation liaison staff with community drug teams has the potential to increase positive client outcomes. 9 references.
Main Term(s): Drug offenders
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Drug treatment; England; Probation
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