The Complex Issues Of Dealing With Offenders Essay

The Complex Issues Of Dealing With Offenders Essay

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The complex issues of dealing with offenders in the criminal justice system has been a point of ongoing controversy, particularly in the arena of sentencing. In one camp there are those who believe offenders should be punished to the full extent of the law, while others advocate a more rehabilitative approach. The balancing act of max punishment for crimes committed, and rehabilitating the offender for reintegration into society has produced varying philosophies. With the emanation of drug-induced crimes over the past few decades, the concept of drug treatment courts has emerged. The premise of these courts is to offer a “treatment based alternative to prison,” which consist of intensive treatment services, random drug testing, incentives for progress, as well as sanctions for failure to meet obligations. The ideology behind drug courts has been challenged by opponents, who question the prognostication that these courts will lower offending, reduce substance abuse, all while reducing cost and ensuring the safety of the public.
The two-year study conducted by Gottfredson, Najaka, and Kearley (2003), Effectiveness of drug treatment courts: Evidence from a randomized trial, examined the effectiveness of the Baltimore City Drug Treatment Court (BCDTC). Their study was comprised of 235 drug court eligible arrestees, randomly assigned to either receive drug treatment court services, or treatment as usual in the traditional court. The studies source of data was provided by the Department of Maryland Public Safety and Correctional Services, and the Baltimore Substance Abuse Services (BSAS).
Gottfredson et al. analyses of their research support the BCDTC program objective of reducing criminal activities within th...

... middle of paper ...

...ue in Gottfredson et al. research is applying their sample (BCDTC program), and methodology to jurisdictions across the country, which have differing variables (e.g., varying program requirements, program availability, individual court procedure, state laws, etc.). Accounting for these variables would dramatically affect completion rates, although random assignment was incorporated in the Gottfredson et al. study. Since there is no definite number (percentage) as to what constitutes a drug courts success/failure, opponents and proponents alike will continue to debate the merits of drug courts place in our judicial system.
The article and subsequent reaction essays indicate that drug court programs are a “work-in-progress,” with some promising results, but further research is needed to further evaluate and measure their impact on the judicial system.

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