Peter French has worked as a police officer and chief inspector for over 30 years. His experience in dealing with drug‐related crimes and a recent visit to the States has convinced him that the UK needs more, not less, criminal justice interventions. Drug Courts, he argues, increase treatment retention and offer greater flexibility to help people stay the course. Though they work for the US, with up to 75% success rates, will they work for the UK? Find out why Peter French thinks they will, with bells on.
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine how staff contributes to the operations of an adult drug court and, more critically, how staff produces client failure. Previous drug court researchers often attribute outcomes to the characteristics or the behaviors of the clients or to the program design, not to the actions of the staff.
Methodology – This study is based on extensive field research in three drug courts over a 4-year period. We observed both public and less public drug court events from the court event to staff meetings.
Findings – The key finding is that staff produces program failures. Within the policies and procedures of their programs, using their professional belief systems, and in interaction with a range of others to manage the demands of their position, staff produces the outcomes.
Limitations – As with other ethnographies, the generalizability of the exact processes may be limited. The core finding that the staff actively creates outcome decisions is a fundamental process that we believe occurs in any drug court or, more widely, problem-solving courts.
Implications – The practical implications of this research are in the illustrations of how staff matter, which we hope will spur others into examinations of staff actions.
Originality – Previous research ignores staff or treats them as mere extension program policies. The in-depth examination of staff behavior provides a unique and valuable examination of how much is lost by ignoring the staff judgments, perceptions, and actions.
Purpose – This study tracks the legal control of the problem of substance abuse.Methodology/Approach – The chapter explores the “natural history” of the evolution of the…
Purpose – This study tracks the legal control of the problem of substance abuse.
Methodology/Approach – The chapter explores the “natural history” of the evolution of the social construction of drug use and our collective response to it. Over the past 100 years, our understanding of drug use/abuse and the system for handling drug problems have gone through a series of changes. In the past 20 years or so, provision of treatment for drug offenders within the criminal justice system has rapidly expanded. California's recently enacted Proposition 36 (Prop 36) initiates for the first time on a mass basis the court-supervised drug treatment that began a decade earlier on a much smaller scale with the original drug courts. This chapter compares the Prop 36 program for diverting nonviolent drug offenders into court-supervised treatment with the original drug courts.
Findings – The research shows how court-supervised drug treatment has evolved from a personalized care program in the original drug courts to a mass processing operation under Prop 36. The research finds that the social problem solution of offering treatment to more drug defendants created its own unanticipated consequences and problems, including significant standardization in the operations of the court and a dilution of many useful features that defined the early drug courts.
Practical implications – “Farming out” drug defendants to probation and treatment makes case-processing and treatment potentially less effective therapeutically. The chapter raises questions about how social control can extend its domain without “breaking the bank” and what the consequences are for how social problems are handled.
One of the greatest challenges for drug regulation is valid, comprehensive surveillance of drugs after they reach the pharmaceutical market. The purpose of this paper is…
One of the greatest challenges for drug regulation is valid, comprehensive surveillance of drugs after they reach the pharmaceutical market. The purpose of this paper is to propose a new method of individual and aggregate-level postmarket surveillance using data previously (and continuously) collected by drug courts, which are in operation in nearly every geographic corner of the USA.
To determine the feasibility of such an undertaking, data were obtained from an urban, southern county drug court. Intake data included all participants from September 2012 to November 2013. The final sample included 532 drug court participants.
Intake data were found to include various demographic variables, measures of drug use, and various sociological/criminological variables such as familial and social support, church attendance, and other pertinent variables for studying drug use and crime trends generally.
By using intake data from drug courts in a manner similar to Uniform Crime Report or National Incident-Based Reporting System, this could add greatly to the understanding of crime and drug use.
The authors purport that a data management system of drug court intake data could provide a cost-efficient and generalizable representation of drug use of those within the criminal justice system.
Many efforts have been employed in an attempt to better ascertain where high rates of drug use occur. By using drug courts as more than just a system of treatment, postmarketing surveillance could be improved.
This article seeks to provide an insight into the work of an expert witness working in drug trials in Crown courts.
This article seeks to provide an insight into the work of an expert witness working in drug trials in Crown courts.
The approach is a case study of a single expert witness, drawing on experiences over several years.
The evidence produced in court is subject to the personal limitations and organisational constraints of the experts involved. Prosecution often relies on unreliable and secretive sources. It is important to increase transparency and for a robust challenge to be made to some claims. Many experts are former police officers who are rarely objective or neutral, hence the need for independent experts from within the field.
Personal experience cannot always be generalised so limits the information presented in this case study.
The role of expert witness is a career development opportunity for people working in the drugs and alcohol field.
It is important to understand the subjective way in which testimony and evidence is produced.
This paper gives a rare insight into a key aspect of the legal process.
Purpose – This chapter considers the consequences on liberty in relationship to the development of the international problem-solving court movement.…
Purpose – This chapter considers the consequences on liberty in relationship to the development of the international problem-solving court movement.
Design/methodology/approach – The research, which relies principally on ethnographic fieldwork in six different common law countries (England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Canada, and the United States), explores the development of local problem-solving courts in each jurisdiction. These include drug courts, community courts, domestic violence courts, and mental health courts. The ethnographic fieldwork was supplemented with data from various other sources, including government reports, parliamentary debates, evaluations of individual court programs, publications issued by various advocacy groups, media accounts, public statements and articles by problem-solving court judges, and analyses of specialty courts in law reviews and other academic journals.
Findings – The research reveal that the five countries outside of the United States demonstrate greater concern with protecting the dignity of the court, due process, and individual rights – or what the Australians refer to as open and natural justice.
Originality/value – It is the first large-scale comparative study of problem-solving courts in the common law countries where the movement is most advanced.
Problem solving courts are a result of the therapeutic jurisprudence movement. Drug treatment courts (DTCs), for instance, aim to divert substance using offenders away…
Problem solving courts are a result of the therapeutic jurisprudence movement. Drug treatment courts (DTCs), for instance, aim to divert substance using offenders away from the criminal justice system (CJS) to (drug) treatment services. DTCs are associated with reduced criminal offending and substance use. Psychosocial outcomes of DTCs, such as employment, health and family relations, received only little attention. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
This paper focuses on the outcomes regarding substance use and psychosocial variables of a Belgian DTC situated in the Ghent region, which were investigated by a naturalistic evaluation study with a pre- post-design using judicial files.
The results show that Ghent DTC clients were diverted to drug treatment and financial counselling services. Next the Ghent DTC produced beneficial outcomes regarding employment. Contrary to criminal offending (De Keulenaer and Thomaes, 2013), substance use was not significantly reduced in the Ghent DTC sample. Yet more compliance with opioid maintenance treatment was observed. Information on more client centred outcomes such as health and social relations was lacking, precluding a full outcome measurement of psychosocial variables.
Future DTC studies should address more client centreed outcomes by gathering information through DTC clients and treatment services instead of solely relying on judicial data sources. In addition, DTCs should develop a clear and uniform registration system regarding these outcomes.
Since the therapeutic jurisprudence movement continues to expand, discussion regarding the roles and tasks of the CJS as well as treatment and counselling services is vital. Each actor should maintain its own role and task, regarding monitoring and substantive work, to insure a “problem solving approach” that is in line with the recovery philosophy.
The United States has an uncomfortable relationship with pleasure. Cultural ambivalence is evident in discourses surrounding pleasure and the labeling and treatment of…
The United States has an uncomfortable relationship with pleasure. Cultural ambivalence is evident in discourses surrounding pleasure and the labeling and treatment of those who act on their desires. Pleasure seeking, generally understood in moral terms, is often medicalized and criminalized (as in the case of pregnancy prevention and drug use), placing questions of how to manage pleasure under the purview of medical and legal actors. At the macrolevel, institutions police pleasure via rules, patterns of action, and logics, while at the microlevel, frontline workers police pleasure via daily decisions about resource distribution. This chapter develops a sociolegal framework for understanding the social control of pleasure by analyzing how two institutions – medicine and criminal justice – police pleasure institutionally and interactionally. Conceptualizing medicine and criminal justice as paternalistic institutions acting as arbiters of morality, I demonstrate how these institutions address two cases of pleasure seeking – drug use and sex – by drawing examples from contemporary drug and reproductive health policy. Section one highlights shared institutional mechanisms of policing pleasure across medicine and criminal justice such as categorization, allocation of professional power, and the structuring of legitimate consequences for pleasure seeking. Section two demonstrates how frontline workers in each field act as moral gatekeepers as they interpret and construct institutional imperatives while exercising discretion about resource allocation in daily practice. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how understanding institutional and interactional policing of pleasure informs sociolegal scholarship about the relationships between medicine and criminal justice and the mechanisms by which institutions and frontline workers act as agents of social control.
The societal institutions for dealing with social problems are in a constant state of change. New problems are “discovered,” old problems are redefined, and new remedies are implemented (Peyrot, 1984). Each of these changes is worthy of attention in its own right, as are the larger trends within which these individual changes occur. Many of the contributions in this volume of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy address social problem solutions that are collaborative, interdisciplinary, and interinstitutional in nature. These contributions reflect a larger societal trend toward the medicalization of social control, especially the increasing role of mental health practitioners within the criminal justice system. Some contributions reflect an increasing social control function in institutions outside the criminal justice system, for example, the schools. In the latter situations, social control efforts can become routine features of institutional practice. Although such social control efforts may not increase the role of criminal justice agents per se in schools, they often employ school personnel in law enforcement and judicial capacities (e.g., campus police who enforce laws and campus regulations [especially related to students’ use of alcohol and drugs] and judicial administrators who adjudicate student (mis)behavior and mete out “appropriate” punishments [e.g., mandatory participation in campus alcohol intervention programs]).