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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 50803 Find in a Library
Title: DIVERSION OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE OFFENDERS - AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH FOR THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Journal: JOURNAL OF ALCOHOL AND DRUG EDUCATION  Volume:23  Dated:(WINTER 1978)  Pages:1-11
Author(s): P C TALAGRAND
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT JUDGES REFER ALL SUBSTANCE ABUSERS CHARGED WITH MISDEMEANORS TO A FORMAL DIVERSIONARY PROGRAM WHERE PROFESSIONALS WOULD PROVIDE EVALUATIVE AND EDUCATIVE SERVICES.
Abstract: ISSUES ARISING FROM COURT-ENFORCED THERAPEUTIC TREATMENT ARE RESOLVED BY CREATION OF A SUBSTANCE ABUSE INFORMATION AND REFERRAL PROGRAM, WHICH WOULD PROVIDE THE COURT WITH FEEDBACK FOR MAKING A FINAL DISPOSITION. THE PROGRAM WOULD FUNCTION INDEPENDENTLY OF THE COURTS AND THE SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES; ULTIMATE ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITY COULD RESIDE IN SOME ALREADY EXISTING AREAWIDE HEALTH OR LEGAL BUREAU IN THE LOCALITY. THE CONCERN THAT COURTS LACK THE EXPERTISE TO DETERMINE WHO NEEDS TREATMENT IS ALLEVIATED WHEN OFFENDERS THEMSELVES DECIDE THEY NEED THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTION AND WHEN THE REFERRAL PROGRAM DECIDES WHAT KIND OF INTERVENTION TO APPLY. COURT SUPPORT OF ENFORCED THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTION IS ADVOCATED. THE ISSUE OF CONFINING FORMAL COURT INTERVENTION TO A SMALL CLASS OF CHRONIC DRUG DEPENDENT PERSONS IS SETTLED BY MAKING THE PROPOSED AGENCY AVAILABLE TO THE LARGE NUMBERS OF OFFENDERS WHO ARE AT THE BEGINNING STAGES OF A SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEM, THUS BROADENING THE SCOPE OF THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTION AND USING THE COMMUNITY'S TREATMENT RESOURCES MORE COST-EFFECTIVELY. THE PROPOSAL IS DIRECTED TOWARD THE DISTRICT COURT LEVEL WHERE IT IS FELT THAT MANY JUDGES WILL ACCEPT THE CONCEPT OF SECONDARY PREVENTION; I.E., BRINGING REHABILITATIVE FORCES TO BEAR AFTER THE FIRST OFFENSE TO PREVENT RECIDIVISM. MINIMIZING AN OFFENDER'S PENETRATION INTO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS CONSIDERED AT LEAST AS EFFECTIVE AS CONVENTIONAL CRIMINAL PROCESSING AND IS LESS EXPENSIVE. THE CRIMINOGENIC POTENTIAL OF VARIOUS DRUG CATEGORIES IS DESCRIBED, AND STUDIES WHICH DEMONSTRATE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND CRIME ARE CITED. TWO REFERRAL PROGRAMS USING A FORMAL COMPULSION TO TREATMENT ARE DESCRIBED: THE NEW YORK STATE NARCOTIC ADDICTION CONTROL COMMISSION AND NEW YORK CITY'S COURT REFERRAL PROJECT. WHILE THE PROPOSED TREATMENT PROGRAM MIGHT CREATE A SPECIAL CLASS OF OFFENDER, IMPROVED TREATMENT SERVICES COULD BE EXTENDED TO OTHER GROUPS AS WELL. THE ROLE OF THE COURT WOULD BE THAT OF INTAKE FACILITATOR, WITH AUTHORITY TO INTERVENE IF THE OFFENDER FAILS TO PARTICIPATE; HOWEVER, DECISIONS ABOUT THE EXTENT AND NATURE OF THE TREATMENT SHOULD BE LEFT TO THE PROGRAM'S STAFF. STEPS TO IMPLEMENT THE PROPOSAL AT THE LOCAL LEVEL INCLUDE IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM AND DESIGNING THE PROJECT TO FIT LOCAL NEEDS. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Diversion programs; Drug treatment programs; Intervention; Involuntary treatment; Judicial diversion; Michigan; Misdemeanor; Referral services
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50803

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