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NCJ Number: 63955 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: DRUG OFFENDER DIVERSION - PERCEPTIONS OF LEGAL AND REHABILITATION PERSONNEL
Journal: CONTEMPORARY DRUG PROBLEMS  Volume:7  Dated:(WINTER 1978)  Pages:591-605
Author(s): E T MILLER; K S MILLER; W C SCHMIDT
Corporate Author: Federal Legal Publications, Inc
Managing Editor
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Federal Legal Publications, Inc
New York, NY 10007
National Institute of Mental Health
Rockville, MD 20857
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: P75-AS-45-A101; USPHS MH 14583
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE CLIENTS OF TREATMENT PROGRAMS FOR DRUG OFFENDERS IN DADE COUNTY, FLA., ARE DESCRIBED AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE DIVERSION PROGRAM IS EVALUATED BY LEGAL AND REHABILITATIVE PERSONNEL.
Abstract: PROPONENTS OF DIVERSION PROGRAMS CLAIM THEY ARE COST-EFFECTIVE, HUMANE, AND MORE SUCCESSFUL IN REHABILITATING DRUG OFFENDERS THAN INCARCERATION. OTHERS HAVE CRITICIZED THE COMPULSORY NATURE OF MOST PROGRAMS, THE POTENTIAL DENIAL OF CIVIL RIGHTS, AND THE TREND TOWARD LABELING ALL DEVIANT BEHAVIOR AS ILLNESS RATHER THAN CRIME. A 1973 FLORIDA STATUTE ENCOURAGED JUDGES TO REFER DRUG OFFENDERS TO REHABILITATION PROGRAMS INSTEAD OF, OR IN ADDITION TO, CRIMINAL PENALTIES. A SURVEY OF CLIENTS IN FLORIDA TREATMENT CLINICS FROM 1973 AND 1976 INDICATED THAT 40 PERCENT HAD ENTERED TREATMENT AFTER CONVICTION. ABOUT ONE-THIRD HAD BEEN CHARGED WITH VIOLATIONS OF DRUG LAWS WHILE THE REMAINDER HAD COMMITTED OFFENSES TO WHICH DRUG USE WAS RELATED. A 1975 SAMPLE OF 620 OFFENDERS IN TREATMENT PROGRAMS SHOWED THAT THE MAJORITY WERE MALES UNDER AGE 25 WHO WERE POORLY EDUCATED AND UNEMPLOYED. ONLY A MINORITY COMPLETED THE FULL PROGRAM, AND ABOUT HALF STAYED LESS THAN 3 MONTHS. KEY DECISIONMAKERS IN THE DADE COUNTY DIVERSION PROGRAM WERE IDENTIFIED AS JUDGES, PROSECUTORS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS, PROBATION OFFICERS, OFFICE OF YOUTH SERVICES COUNSELORS, AND DRUG ABUSE TREATMENT STAFF. THE FINAL SAMPLE SELECTED FROM THIS GROUP CONSISTED OF 90 INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE QUESTIONED ON GENERAL ISSUES AND INDIVIDUAL AREAS OF EXPERTISE. ABOUT 60 PERCENT OF THE RESPONDENTS SAW REHABILITATION AS THE PRINCIPAL BENEFIT OF DIVERSION. THE SECOND MOST FREQUENTLY MENTIONED BENEFIT WAS AVOIDANCE OF A CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION THAT COULD BE DAMAGING. REDUCTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS WAS MOST FREQUENTLY CITED AS THE MAJOR SYSTEM BENEFIT. DRAWBACKS INCLUDED MANIPULATION OF THE SYSTEM BY INDIVIDUALS TO AVOID PRISON, POOR CLIENT MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE, AND TREATMENT PROGRAM FAILURE. ALMOST HALF THE RESPONDENTS DID NOT KNOW OF ANYONE OPPOSED TO DIVERSION OF DRUG OFFENDERS. PROSECUTORS, PUBLIC DEFENDERS, AND JUDGES FELT THAT DIVERSION REDUCED THEIR CASELOADS, BUT THESE SAVINGS MAY MERELY BE TRANSFERRED TO DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAMS. RESPONSES TO A QUESTION CONCERNING THE DISPOSITION OF CASES IF THE 1973 LAW DID NOT EXIST INDICATED THAT MANY INDIVIDUALS IN DIVERSION PROGRAMS WOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED OR PLACED ON PAROLE IN ANY EVENT. TABLES ARE INCLUDED AND FOOTNOTES ARE APPENDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Diversion programs; Drug offenders; Drug treatment programs; Florida; Rehabilitation; TASC programs (street crime)
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63955

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