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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 52115 Find in a Library
Title: ISSUES IN THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF PUBLIC INTOXICATION
Journal: FEDERAL PROBATION  Volume:42  Issue:3  Dated:(SEPTEMBER 1978)  Pages:33-39
Author(s): P C FRIDAY
Corporate Author: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Administrative Office of the United States Courts
Washington, DC 20544
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Publisher: https://www.uscourts.gov 
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: CHANGES IN FINANCIAL COSTS, SOCIAL OBJECTIVES, AND THE POLICE ROLE IN THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF PUBLIC INTOXICATION ARE DISCUSSED, ALONG WITH POLICE WORK AFTER DECRIMINALIZATION AND EFECTIVENESS OF DETOXIFICATION.
Abstract: THE IMPETUS TOWARD THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF PUBLIC INTOXICATION IS SEEN TO LIE IN THE CHANGING VIEW OF ALCOHOL ABUSE AS A DISEASE RATHER THAN CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. IT IS NOTED THAT LAWS ARE BEGINNING TO REFLECT A COMMITMENT TO THE MEDICAL MODEL FOR DEALING WITH PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS, WHERE POLICE, RATHER THAN ARRESTING THOSE INTOXICATED IN PUBLIC, REFER THEM TO A MEDICAL FACILITY FOR DETOXIFICATION AND POSSIBLE TREATMENT. THIS SHIFT FROM A CRIMINAL JUSTICE MODEL TO A MEDICAL MODEL IN DEALING WITH PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS IS NOT VIEWED AS A MEANS OF REDUCING TAX DOLLARS SPENT IN THIS AREA OR EVEN CUTTING THE AMOUNT OF POLICE PATROL TIME SPENT IN ATTENTION TO THIS MATTER. EXPENDITURES ON DETOXIFICATION ARE SHIFTED TO SOCIAL OR MEDICAL AGENCIES AND THE POLICE ARE STILL MOST OFTEN DESIGNATED AS RESPONSIBLE FOR GETTING PUBLIC INEBRIATES TO DETOXIFICATION CENTERS. A MAIN FOCAL POINT IN DEALING WITH DECRIMINALIZATION IS SEEN TO BE THAT OF RETRAINING POLICE TO DEAL WITH PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS AS A SOCIAL PROBLEM RATHER THAN A CRIMINAL PROBLEM. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT A SPECIAL PROBLEM UNIT OF OFFICERS BE TRAINED TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE MEDICAL MODEL. DETOXIFICATION AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO CRIMINALIZATION IS VIEWED AS A QUESTIONABLE MEANS FOR REDUCING THE INCIDENCE OF PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS. IT SIMPLY OFFERS A CONTEXT WHERE TREATMENT MIGHT OCCUR, ALTHOUGH THE PERCENTAGE OF TREATMENT SUCCESSES HAS BEEN LOW IN MOST DETOXIFICATION PROGRAMS. DECRIMINALIZATION, THEREFORE, IS CONCLUDED TO BE NOT A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS, BUT THE SHIFTING OF THE PROBLEM TO MEDICAL AND SOCIAL AGENCIES, WHICH HAVE NO READY-MADE SOLUTIONS. IT IS BELIEVED THAT IN THE LONG RUN, MORE EMPHASIS SHOULD BE PLACED ON PREVENTIVE EFFORTS, ON CHANGE IN SOCIAL MILIEU, AND ON LONG-TERM CARE AND FOLLOWUP PROGRAMS. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Alcohol detoxification; Decriminalization; Drunkenness; Police responsibilities
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52115

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