Methods for Monitoring Drug Offenders
One of the major problems facing today's correctional system is overpopulation. Considering that more than 30% of the prisoners confined are drug users, and those users have a high rate of recidivism upon release. New methods are being implemented to deal with these offenders in lieu of incarceration. Rather than housing the offender in prison, many treatment options are now being offered as sentence. One such method is intense supervision, which involves frequent visits by the supervising agent, or house arrest and electronic monitoring, where the offender is, confined to a specific location usually the home.
Another option being used is medical treatment, where the offender attends in or out patient treatment for a certain period of time. According to the Drug Court Clearinghouse and the Technical Assistance Program (DCCTAP) who claim, "Incarceration alone does not break the cycle of illegal drug use and crime, offenders sentenced to incarceration for substance related offenses exhibit a high rate of recidivism once they are released."
(National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1996)
The main method of monitoring offenders in lieu of incarceration is probation.
"Probation, in combination with counseling, support, and surveillance, is the most common type of treatment used as an alternative to incarceration (Lipton, 1995).
As the population numbers of drug users in the prison system increase, drug-using offenders will require more attention from the prison system causing these methods to be re-defined to handle the burden. Technology is sure to guide this redefinition and help in all aspects of the criminal justice system.
Drug Court Clearinghouse and Technical Assistance Project (1997)
Drug Courts: Overview of Operational Characteristics and Implementation Issues.
Technical Report. Washington DC: American University.
Lipton, D.S. (1995). Effectiveness of treatment of Drug Abusers Under Criminal Justice Supervision. National Institute of Justice...