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NCJ Number: 50719 Find in a Library
Title: DRUG ABUSE AND NEW JERSEY'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ALTERNATIVES TO EXISTING MODES OF TREATMENT
Journal: JOURNAL OF DRUG ISSUES  Volume:8  Issue:3  Dated:(SUMMER 1978)  Pages:271-283
Author(s): W F HYLAND
Corporate Author: Journal of Drug Issues
Editor
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Journal of Drug Issues
Tallahassee, FL 32315
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PROBLEMS WITH PROVISIONS OF THE NEW JERSEY CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE ACT REGARDING THE DISPOSITION OF DRUG OFFENDERS AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS FOR USE OF MARIHUANA OR HASHISH ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: THE STATUTE'S PENALTY SCHEME APPEARS TO BE SOMEWHAT UNREALISTIC. LARGE-SCALE TRAFFICKERS OFTEN ARE TREATED TOO LENIENTLY, WHILE ADDICTS AND PERSONS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION ARE SENTENCED TO UNDULY LENGTHY PRISON TERMS. THE LAW PROVIDES PROCEDURES FOR DIVERTING DRUG OFFENDERS FROM THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND PLACING THEM IN REHABILITATIVE PROGRAMS SUITED TO THEIR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS. THE LAW ALSO PROVIDES FOR DISCHARGE OF FIRST OFFENDERS CONDITIONAL UPON THEIR SUBMISSION TO TREATMENT. IT APPEARS THAT DIVERSION AFTER ARREST AND BEFORE TRIAL SELDOM OCCURS. PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES SEEM TO FEEL THAT THE CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE PROVIDES THEM WITH A NEEDED LEVER TO ASSURE SUBMISSION TO TREATMENT. THE STATE OF N.J. SHOULD AMEND ITS DRUG LAW TO MAKE VIOLATION OF A CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE TO A TREATMENT PROGRAM A DISTINCT, PUNISHABLE OFFENSE. SUCH A PROVISION WOULD ARM PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES WITH AN ADEQUATE MEANS OF ENSURING COMPLIANCE WITH TREATMENT, WITHOUT NECESSITATING A PLEA OF GUILTY TO THE UNDERLYING OFFENSE. ANOTHER DEFICIENCY OF THE STATUTE IS THAT THE BURDEN OF DECIDING THE APPROPRIATE MEDICAL RESPONSE FOR A GIVEN DRUG OFFENDER RESTS WITH THE JUDGE. THE CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE PROVISION SHOULD BE CHANGED SO AS TO INTRODUCE A MEDICAL JUDGMENT INTO THE PROCESS AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE POINT. GREATER FLEXIBILITY COULD BE OBTAINED BY NOT AUTOMATICALLY EXCLUDING ALL NONFIRST OFFENDERS FROM CONSIDERATION FOR CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE. THERE IS EVIDENCE TO INDICATE THAT IT IS THE OLDER, HARDCORE USER WHO IS MOST READY FOR REHABILITATION. A STATEWIDE DRUG DEPENDENCE TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION PROGRAM, INCLUDING INTEGRATED MEDICAL, PSYCHIATRIC, PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, AND VOCATIONAL SERVICES, IS NEEDED IF ANY RESTRUCTURING OF THE CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE PROVISIONS OF THE LAW IS TO BE MEANINGFUL. UNIFORMITY IN THE TREATMENT OF DRUG OFFENDERS COULD BE IMPROVED BY DESIGNATING ONE JUDGE IN EACH JURISDICTION TO HANDLE THE DISPOSITION OF ALL DRUG OFFENDERS. THE EXTENSIVE USE OF MARIHUANA AND HASHISH INDICATES A NEED TO REEVALUATE LAWS MAKING THE USE OF THESE DRUGS A CRIME. SUCH A REEVALUATION SHOULD TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THAT THE CRIMINAL LAW IS NOT THE SOLE METHOD OF INSURING COMPLIANCE WITH SOCIETY'S RULES, AND THAT GOVERNMENT IS NOT ULTIMATELY REPONSIBLE FOR EVERY INDIVIDUAL EVIL. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Dispositions; Drug law offenses; Drug laws; Drug offenders; Law reform; New Jersey; State laws
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50719

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