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This essay will be discussing how successful the prison system has been in achieving a balance between disciplinary and therapeutic strategies when dealing with drug abusers. Prison is believed to be an institution where dangerous and troublesome individuals are placed in order to protect society and the public. There is a link between crime and drug use and the majority of individuals who are in prison are there due to drugs and drug use. Drug use can lead to criminal activities, especially when the drug users are trying to feed their habit. Because there is a high link between drugs and crime, the prison system has a correlation between disciplinary measures and drug rehabilitation services that are therapeutic. Although the prison systems aim is to punish criminals and offer rehabilitation, it can been criticised for not being able to reform offenders and rehabilitate them back into society. Firstly the link between drugs and crime will be discussed, then the prison system as a disciplinary strategy will be discussed and finally the prison system as a therapeutic strategy will be discussed.
This section will discuss the link between drugs and crime. Statistics show that there is a significant relationship between drug use and crime in the United Kingdom (Bean, 2004). The definition of drug related crimes includes violations of drug laws and acts of crimes that are committed by individuals who are drug users or those who are selling drugs (Stevens et al, 2005). The relationship between crime and drug use was proposed by Goldstein (1985). Goldstein believed that the relationship between drugs and crime can be classified into three categories which are Psycho - pharmalogical which is where the physical properties of the drug affect the individuals mind and leads them to engage in violent behaviour. The second category is systematic; this is where the violent behaviour is normal and is the expected behaviour of an individual within the drug scene culture. And finally Economic - compulsive, which is where the addictive nature of the drug leads the individual to engage in violent behaviour such as robberies, in order to fund their drug habit. This final category is the most accepted link between drugs and crime (Stevens et al, 2005).
Two schemes have been created in order to support the concept that a lot of crime is committed by drug users. The schemes are Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring scheme and the treatment studies scheme. The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring programme (ADAM) has been created in England and wales. This scheme tests offenders who have been caught for drug use. The findings of ADAM, show that a high number of individuals that have been arrested tested positive for illegal drugs, for example Urine tests of arrestees revealed that 69% of arrestees tested positive for one or more illegal drugs, and 36% tested positive for two or more such substances. (ADAM, 2004). Alongside these statistics Singleton (1999) stated that 51% male and 54% female prisoners were assessed as drug dependant. Also Ahmad and Mwenda (2004) stated that 113,500 people in 2002 were dealt with by means of a conviction or caution for drug use. Treatment studies have supported the notion that drug use leads to crime. The treatment studies assess the criminal activity of drug users who are having treatment for their drug use problem. Best et al (2001) interviewed 100 drug users who were receiving treatment and found that 56% of the drug users had committed criminal acts in order to feed their addiction habit. Both schemes have been heavily criticised by Bean (2004) who states that not all offenders are dependent on drugs and not all dependent offenders commit crimes. Treatment studies have been criticised because this scheme relies on the self-assessment of offenders, and it is likely that the offenders may exaggerate or minimise their drug use. Also the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring scheme has been criticised because the urinalysis compares different drugs that are detectable in the urine, it is believed that the results may be bias.
Knowing whether or not individuals commit crime before or after they have started taking drugs is an important fact that can help establish whether drugs leads to crime. Allen et al (2005) has addressed this issue by creating sequence studies, which are set out to establish the pattern of drug use and criminal behaviour in individuals who are receiving drug treatment. Allen et al (2005) also discovered that out of 26 individuals 23 had been arrested for criminal offences before they had used drugs and therefore this meant that there was no evidence that drug leads to crime. Another study by Nurco (1987) found that even though criminals have stopped their drug use, they still engage in criminal activity. During his drug dependency investigation Allen et al (2005) found that the development of drug dependency can occur due to the individual having experienced traumatic events in their life. Also another reason could be because of the normality of drugs and crime.
In 2002 the government created a street crime initiative scheme, which included making drug treatments available 24 hours for drug users who had been arrested for street crime offences. The government believed that by creating this scheme and treating offenders for their drug addiction, it would break the cycle of them engaging in criminal activity to feed their drug habits and it would also get rid of the link between drug use and crime.
There is a high prevalence of crimes that are drugs related. These are inclusive of offences to which the effects of drugs contribute, offences which are related to the need of money in financing the use and offences related to the distribution of the drugs. There is a proportion that is significant of the prisoners who go through the systems that are criminal who are dependent on drugs. Where possible there should be the treatment of drug related problems in systems that are dedicated in health care provision instead of the justice system that is criminal being left to deal with the matter. Although there is the recognition of the need for the therapeutic services, the justice system dealing with criminal behaviour lays emphasis on the process that is disciplinary (Ministry of justice, 2010: 1). There is a need to shift the paradigms in the thought and policy implementation process and involve more of medical services expertise to offer services that are curative in nature and also go the extra mile in tapping expertise that can provide preventive services in the community that is affected by drug usage by offenders. Interventions in cases of people who are dependent on drugs when it comes to the criminal system of justice should focus on addressing therapeutic strategies as incarceration's alternative and the provision of treatment on the dependence of drugs during prison term and after the release. The prison system should also reconsider disciplinary measures that might be overemphasized but not equally effective. There should be effective coordination between the treatment system and the system in criminal justice to address the balance needed in enhancing strategies that are pro treatment and the care of these people who have been affected by drugs in the society. This should go away in reducing the dependence on drugs and also in crime reduction. The threat of relapse may be attributed to prison outlooks and entrenched policies that enhance discipline at a cost of treatment services and social integration can be enhanced more if proper research and application of therapeutic strategies was given more weight (United Nation office on drugs and crime & WHO, 2008 :14).
This essay will now discuss the prison system as a disciplinary and therapeutic strategy. Drug use among offender's cause's major problems for the Prison Service, including illicit trading and bullying, as well as presenting public-health risks, for prisoners, staff and local communities. The Government and the Prison Service have developed strategies to address the issue of drug use among offenders in response to intense political pressure. The White Paper Tackling Drugs to build a Better Britain (Lord President of the Council, 1998) and the Prison Service Tackling Drugs in Prison set the objectives of increasing participation of problem drug users in drug treatment programmes, sustaining the use of Mandatory Drug Testing and improving security, by collaborating with community agencies to ensure continuity of care was linked to community provision. The Updated Drug Strategy stressed the continued importance of reducing the prevalence of drugs and drug-related crime, but also emphasised the need to reduce the demand for drugs, through extra investment in the number of treatment places available in high and low intensity programmes for problematic drug users and enhanced through care (Drugs Strategy Directorate, 2002).
Prison plays a critical role in the aim to punish individuals for their crimes. Garland (1990:17) defined punishment as a "legal process where individuals who violate criminal law are condemned and sanctioned in accordance with specified legal categories and procedures". Whereas Her Majesty's Prison Service (HMPS) defines punishment as, "keeping in custody those committed by the courts" (McGraw, 2005:39). Imprisonment is aimed to deprive the individuals from their freedom; some argue that prison is a shelter the ruthlessness and pressures of an individual's normal life, but for some prisoners being punished and imprisoned can be unbearable due to them being separated from their family. even though individuals are sent to prison for punishment, they are not the only ones that are being punished, the prisoner's family members also experience punishment due to the separation from loved ones. Hudson (1996) stated that if punishing individuals is effective in reducing crimes, the unhappiness that is caused to the family members and the offender maybe be outweighed by the unpleasantness that the offender may cause other people in the future. So therefore punishment is needed in order to prevent future crimes. Incarcerating criminals enables the prisons and government to protect the public from criminals and to also prevent offenders for committing more crimes. Another justification for prison is prevention; the two types of prevention are individual which prevents individuals who have already offended from reoffending, whereas the general prevention includes dissuading individuals who may be tempted to commit crimes.
Prison aim is to apply disciplinary strategies in order to punish individuals with regards to the levels of crimes they have committed. The Prison system ensures that offending individuals in society are disciplined and reformed into the standards required by society. There are suggestions that are ideologically associated with the use of drugs and the criminality of females which influence the policies adopted and the prison authorities. The prisons have made attempts to deal with drug users, through services and the development of strategies that make an attempt to combine the disciplinary measures and therapeutic resources that have been implemented by the prison staff. Even though prisons have made attempts to deal with drug users, there has been a general awareness that prison is a place for disciplinary action and the therapeutic measures should only be put into place to deal with drug problems after the individual has served their prison sentence. If the prison where to use therapeutic measures on the individuals after their sentence, the could lead to a perception by the prisoners that they are there to be disciplined and there could be a likelihood of the prisoner offending again and being unresponsive to therapeutic treatment (Malloch, 2000: 141).
The issue against drugs and the need for the prisoner system to discipline both criminal actions and drug use is an important aim for the prison system, but unfortunately the prison system has been criticised for abusing the prisoner's human rights. According to the Human Rights Watch (2009) prisoners who are drug dependent are locked away in treatment facilities for long periods of time, they are also placed in conditions that put them at risk of contracting serious diseases. The offenders are also subject to solitary confinement which can lead to them being physically and psychologically abused. It is believed that the police also tend to abuse the authority they have over the offenders by resorting to violence in order to extract confessions from the offender. The prison system and the government efforts to tackle and control drugs, drug addiction and to portray an image of discipline with the prison system are believed to be detrimental towards the health of the offenders (Human Rights Watch, 2009: 1).
Patel (2010) stated that existing drug treatment funding, commissioning and delivery systems within the prisons have been subject to increasing criticism. The current government systems have helped to increase drug treatment within the prisons, but they are complex and characterised by a multitude if funding streams, commissioning and process targets. So therefore the prison system has become fragmented with the risk of a 'one- size- fits- all' approach with has led to limited choices in the type of treatment and social support available to the offenders (Patel, 2010: 6). There are many prisons institutions that are guilty of a failure in the adequate address of the drugs problem and giving it the due consideration which is combined with disciplinary measures that are deemed harsh. This gives a name and bad reputation that is not good to the services on prisons around the world. There are many efforts in the control of drugs that have the consequences of abuses in the rights of humans that are serious. There is an association of the drug control policies with torture and denial of medicines that are essential and services in health that are basically inflicting fear on the individual. These drug control policies give a bad view to the issue of fighting drugs usage. The disciplinary measures within the prison system when dealing with drugs can be extremely strict and due to them being strict it can prevent the essential need to provide therapeutic strategies to the drug dependent individual. The essential therapeutic strategies are often hidden by the prison system in order to maintain and instil discipline on the prisoners. Although the prison system tries to instil strategies to help the prisoner, the disciplinary strategies can have bad effects o the psychology of the prison as they do not offer remedies that can be supportive of future positive treatment (Human Rights Watch, 2010: 1).
There has been evidence that offenders tend to have higher rates of drug use than the general population. The United Kingdom Drug Policy Commission (2008) found that in the criminality survey 39% of male prisoners stated that they had experienced issue trying to stay off drugs, and during that time 23% of prisoners admitted they had injected themselves with drugs. This evidence shows that the prison system need to maintain therapeutic strategies in order to provide services for addicted prisoners as prisoners injecting themselves whilst in prison can lead to major health risks. The World Health Organisation (2005) stated that prisoners are extremely vulnerable to diseases such as HIV/Aids. They are at risk of contracting HIV through unsafe drug injecting. Michael Howard who is the home secretary stated that there is a hug worry from the public regarding the accessibility of drugs with the prisons. Due to this the prison officers and police officers will need to act tough and maintain security measures in order to insure that drugs and drug use is not available with the prisons. If this issue is not tackled then the therapeutic strategies that the prison systems provide will not be effective.
Politicians, government officials and prison governors are reluctant to acknowledge that there is a growing issue with drugs and also that drugs are being used in the prison system (Duke, 2003:3). In order to understand the extent of the issue with drugs, research has been conducted by Maden et al (1990) on the nature and extent of drug use amongst prison populations. In order to provide treatment to all prisoners, drug treatment agencies have extended their schemes to larger and more overcrowded prisons. Government initiatives have also aimed at reducing the prison population by introducing sanctions within the community and making changes in the delivery of health care to the prisoners and to also improve the drug treatment (Maden et al, 1991: 32).Analyses of drug policies with the prisons create a balance between the treatment and punishment. This balance has changed overtime due to the nature of drug addiction and problem as well as the social, political and institutional contexts. Also it is believed that there is a tension between whether the drug user should be 'termed as sick and fit for medicine or bad and a subject of penal control' (Duke, 2003:4).
A report on the criminal justice interventions was conducted by Roger Howard (2008), he stated that the argument for using the criminal justice system as an opportunity to tackle the problem during the offenders drug use is strengthened by the fact that there are so many problem drug users going through the drug addiction and at least one in eight people arrested are problem heroin or crack users and up to half of new prison receptions are problem drug users. It is difficult to know how successful the treatments are because there is little evidence to show that they are effective. In response to this the new drug strategy has promised across-government research plan to improve the overall evidence based on the effectiveness of treatments within prisons.
Although the prison system is seen dominantly by the members of the society as a way of disciplining errant members of the society, there should be efforts to provide special services especially to those afflicted by drugs. Towards this end, clinical and non-clinical needs of the prisoners are met by the government though much remains to be done. Prison services have seen the adjustment of the policies in foundations that deal with counselling, referral, advice, assessment and through care services. This foundation is known as CARATs (Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and through care services). CARATs is an initiative aimed at providing specialized treatment and care for drug users writing the prison system. It was first developed within an understanding that is theoretical of how there would be the working of the CARATs with a commitment of review and refining of the cases documented and the progress as to present a commitment to the best practices. There have been amendments and improvement of CARATs quality through consultations. It is important to incorporate these services fully in the prison service which should go hand in hand with other strategies in dealing with drugs like medication to ensure that there is a formidable force in dealing with the problem (HM prison service, 2002: 43-44).
Overall the prison system as a disciplinary is an excellent idea for punishing offenders who are a danger to the public and society. But the same time offenders who are dependent on drugs should be able to receive therapeutic treatment whilst they serve their sentence. If the offender is not given the opportunity to heal themselves for their addiction then just punishing them would be an ineffective strategy towards crime. Crime was once viewed as a social problem created by societies failure to provide for it members. Now society failures are not viewed as the cause for individuals to offend. It is believed that individuals make rational choices to engage in crime, and therefore the prison system aim is to instil discipline and to punish the individual for their actions. In cases where the individual is drug dependent the prison system should work towards providing therapeutic treatment to rehabilitate the offender. Harsh attitudes and disciplinary measures towards drugs and the drug dependent offender will not help them and this may lead to the offender repeating criminal behaviour when they are released from prison.