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NCJ Number: 77802 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Supreme Court and Alcohol - Case Study of a Shift in Systems of Social Control
Author(s): J E Brown
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 290
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 78-NI-AX-0052
Type: Thesis/Dissertation
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This dissertation analyzes a landmark Supreme Court case involving an indigent alcoholic and examines the shift in social control policies related to the redefinition of alcoholism as a disease rather than a crime.
Abstract: Interviews were conducted with all the major parties involved in Powell vs. Texas, 392 U.S. 514, 1968. A reason analysis was used to model the factors underlying the social control shift from the criminal model to the medical model. Those favoring the shift were influenced by the philosophy and research of the Center of Alcohol Studies. Although the legal and medical communities agreed that the criminal system was unable to handle the alcoholic effectively, the question of individual moral responsibility seemed to keep the Court from endorsing an idea which might be extended to absolve a class of individuals from responsibility for the consequences of their behavior. In addition, environmental, social, and psychological dimensions of the issue were at stake. Thus, while the Court ruled that Powell could be punished for being drunk in public, they acknowledged that people like Powell needed help and directed that other institutions should be responsible for helping. Findings indicated that change in social policies occurs when the legal framework has been affected by pragmatism and/or idealism generated by the research or philosophies of the intellectual sphere. Extensive analyses, case references, and bibliographies are given for the development and subsequent amendments of the Federal Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act of 1970 (P.L. 91-616) and the recommended model State legislation in the 1971 Uniform Alcoholism and Intoxication Treatment Act. Other appendixes contain a list of 117 court cases in which the disease concept was used as a defense and a bibliography of 130 references.
Index Term(s): Alcoholics; Alcoholism; Criminal responsibility; Judicial decisions; Legislation; Model law; Social change; Social control theory; US Supreme Court
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