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NCJ Number: 48563 Find in a Library
Title: TASC (TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES TO STREET CRIME) HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE AND FUTURE IMPLICATIONS
Journal: OFFENDER REHABILITATION  Volume:2  Issue:3  Dated:(SPRING 1978)  Pages:279-294
Author(s): A M MECCA
Corporate Author: Haworth Press, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Haworth Press, Inc
Binghamton, NY 13904
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE EMERGENCE OF TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES TO STREET CRIME (TASC) AS A FEDERAL STRATEGY FOR EFFECTING A CRIMINAL JUSTICE/HEALTH CARE INTERFACE FOR DEALING WITH DRUG ABUSERS IS REVIEWED WITHIN A HISTORICAL CONTEXT.
Abstract: THE GROWTH OF THE MENTAL ILLNESS CONCEPT WITHIN CRIMINAL JUSTICE WAS A MAJOR FACTOR IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES FOR DRUG ABUSERS. THE FIRST CONCEPT GIVING SERIOUS LEGAL RECOGNITION TO THE MENTAL ILLNESS CONSIDERATION WAS THAT OF MENS REA (CRIMINAL INTENT) WHICH, COUPLED WITH CENTURIES OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS, LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR THE USE OF TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION. IN BOTH PENNSYLVANIA VERSUS WARNER AND NEW JERSEY VERSUS REED, THE COURTS HELD THAT INCARCERATION OF SICK PERSONS, SUCH AS ADDICTS, CONSTITUTED CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT. IN ROBINSON VERSUS CALIFORNIA, THE SUPREME COURT HELD THAT ADDICTION MUST BE MEDICALLY TREATED RATHER THAN PENALIZED. THESE DECISIONS AND OTHERS RESULTED IN AN EMPHASIS ON INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT AND TREATMENT PRACTICES FOR NARCOTICS ADDICTS IN LIEU OF INCARCERATION. MOREOVER, INCREASING AWARENESS BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND THE GOVERNMENT, INCREASINGLY SOPHISTICATED INTERVENTION STRATEGIES PROPOUNDED BY THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, AND A GROWING REALIZATION THAT TRADITIONAL PENAL SANCTIONS WERE INEFFECTIVE IN DEALING WITH THE REHABILITATION OF ADDICTS LED TO GREATER ACCEPTANCE OF AND EMPHASIS ON TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES. ONE OF THE PROGRAMS ARISING FROM THIS CONCERN IS TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES TO STREET CRIME (TASC), A FEDERAL EFFORT DESIGNED TO REDUCE DRUG-RELATED CRIMES AND DRUG-RELATED COURT CASELOAD AND DETENTION PROBLEMS, AND TO INTERRUPT THE STREET CRIME/DRUG ABUSE CYCLE BY CHANNELING OFFENDERS FROM THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TO APPROPRIATE REHABILITATIVE TREATMENT PROGRAMS. TASC PROGRAMS ARE OPERATING IN 43 CITIES, AND ALTHOUGH TREATMENT AND PROGRAM DESIGNS VARY WIDELY, ALL FOCUS ON PRETRIAL DIVERSION AND SENTENCING ALTERNATIVES FOR DRUG-DEPENDENT INDIVIDUALS. THE RATIONALE BEHIND THESE PROGRAMS IS THAT DRUG OFFENDERS MAY BE MORE ACCEPTING OF INTERVENTION AT A PERIOD OF CRISIS SUCH AS ARREST OR IMPENDING IMPRISONMENT. FURTHER, COMPARED TO THE COSTS OF COURT AND CORRECTIONAL PROCEDURES AND THE SOCIAL COST OF BOTH CRIME AND OFFENDER UNEMPLOYMENT, TREATMENT COSTS ARE RELATIVELY MODEST. A REVIEW OF EVALUATIVE STUDIES OF TASC PROGRAMS DOES PROVIDE A NUMBER OF POSITIVE INDICATORS OF POTENTIAL BENEFITS FOR THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, THE TREATMENT PROGRAMS THEMSELVES, THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, AND THE COMMUNITY. FUTURE TRENDS IN TASC ARE BRIEFLY EXPLORED. A CASE FLOW CHART AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Crime Control Programs; Criminal responsibility; Cruel and unusual punishment; Diversion programs; Drug abuse; Drug dependence; Drug offenders; Drug Related Crime; Drug treatment; Drug treatment programs; Involuntary treatment; Judicial decisions; Mentally ill offenders; Right to treatment
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