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NCJ Number: 153910 Find in a Library
Title: Prosecutorial Immunity: The Response to Prenatal Drug Use
Journal: Connecticut Law Review  Volume:25  Issue:2  Dated:(Winter 1993)  Pages:393-426
Author(s): M P Spencer
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 34
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines ways to address the problem of pregnant women who use drugs and thus threaten the health of their unborn child.
Abstract: The author first describes the effects of prenatal drug use, including the harm to the infant and the economic cost to society. She then outlines a proposed solution that provides the pregnant drug user with both the resources and the incentive to stop using drugs. This solution includes criminal sanctions, under existing drug-use statutes, as a "last resort" for mothers who refuse to participate in available treatment programs. The constitutionality of these criminal sanctions is then assessed. The author argues that governmental intervention is appropriate to address both the motivation to seek treatment and the availability of treatment programs. This intervention should involve the criminal justice system and the social services system. The criminal justice system, which is currently a disincentive to prenatal care and drug treatment, could become an incentive for the drug user to seek care and treatment. This transformation is possible through the use of prosecutorial immunity. Such immunity should be granted to prenatal drug users for all offenses based on the evidence of a drug-affected infant when the drug users participate in treatment programs. The social services system should provide the user the means by which to obtain this immunity by expanding and establishing prenatal and postpartum drug treatment facilities. 147 footnotes
Main Term(s): Drug abuse
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child victims; Court procedures; Female offenders; Prenatal biological influences
Note: DCC
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