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Interesting issue at work

Old 01-30-2013, 08:52 PM
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Interesting issue at work

The non-profit I work for, which provides training and research support, etc., to professionals working on issues involving violence against women, periodically reports on important issues we are seeing and our ideas for ways to improve law enforcement and other agencies' responses to these cases. We have been updating our latest report.

Had a very interesting discussion with couple of colleagues as we added a recommendation to be sure that criminal defendants who are referred to specialized "treatment courts"--courts that handle cases where the defendant has substance abuse, mental health, veteran (e.g., PTSD) issues--are also evaluated for issues involving violence against women. The point being that we don't want to be shipping alcoholic or mentally ill DV offenders off for treatment of those issues, while ignoring the abuse issues (which may be related but are separate problems requiring separate treatment protocols). I think it's a GREAT idea.

One of my colleagues expressed the belief that such defendants should ALWAYS be referred to DV courts, rather than some other treatment court. I disagreed, because even if someone is an abuser, he may not respond to any treatment as readily if his alcohol, substance abuse, or mental health issue is not addressed at the same time. Both need to be addressed. Of course, some of them need long prison sentences, first and foremost. But where they are people who would be getting probation anyway, getting them channeled into programs that MIGHT help (as always, they have to be willing) is important.

This is another reason I love my job--getting to work for changes in the system that can do some real good.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:59 AM
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I sure like the idea of treatment courts. 65 percent of inmates are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Many of them are real criminals but many are there because they are addicts. My best friend has a son who is an addict looking at a felony right now. Good person, can't kick alcoholism and heroin.. Then he started making his own meth - brilliant guy, made his own pharma grade stash because heroin killed him once (paramedics got him back with dad watching).

It's ridiculous that we spend what we do in this country locking up addicts. My DD, all of 17, was discussing this one with me and said "Dad, why not legalize drugs, tax the hell out of them and use that money, the money we'd save on prisons and the money we'd save on chasing drug dealers on prevention programs and treatment facilities?"

17... seems one hell of a lot smarter than a lot of smart people who are running the world.

I.m wondering what percentage of abusers who are also alcoholics would stop being abusers if they were sober? Sure seems worth finding out.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:07 AM
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I tend to agree with your daughter. Not a popular position to take publicly when you work in law enforcement as I once did, but the war on drugs isn't working the way it has been conducted.

The thing to remember is that alcohol and abuse are two different issues. SOME alcoholics become generally violent people when they drink--their violence is taken out on others generally. DV issues generally stem from attitudes of entitlement (power and control) and violence is used to control the victim. So those underlying attitudes have to be addressed, as well, which is what batterers' programs do. But no alcoholic who is actively drinking or not recovered is likely to respond to batterers' treatment. BOTH issues have to be addressed if the abuse is to stop.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:32 AM
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But when a alcoholic/addict commits crimes against society shouldn't they be "locked away" to protect society?? An armed robbery for drug money is still a armed robbery that hurts society. Tax drugs & make narcotics legal, send'em to treatment ect... are probably good ideas but the problem is too complex in this country. IMO the US government can be the addicts biggest enabler. SSI, food stamps, section 8, methadone clinics, free rehabs ect... are all examples of catering rules to a selected minority of the population.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:39 AM
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Lexie and Poh, I'm with you. After trying to navigate the treatment world in Podunk, Midwest, with a really, really good insurance plan, I realized just how difficult it is trying to get good, reliable, consistent, long-term treatment for someone with addiction issues. Jail is absolutely not a reasonable alternative to rehabs, sober living houses, and sane drug laws.

But when a alcoholic/addict commits crimes against society shouldn't they be "locked away" to protect society??
A big part of the problem is that drug offenders are in jail because drugs are illegal, not because of any violent crimes. Drug classifications are a big part of this (is pot or pot possession really on the same level as meth, or, say, meth manufacturing?). And a lot of these folks can't get out of the legal system because there is no real addiction treatment infrastructure in the US.

It's so frustrating.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:47 AM
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I agree with all this also. The problem that I had after my ex hit me, was that the court did make him go to a batterer's program. ACT (Abuse ceases Today), in Morristown NJ. He had to go, I think it was once a week for 26 weeks. He got abusive to me during this period of time, and I called this program to tell them. They told me that they could listen to me, but they can't do anything about it, or question him about it. That he was covered by the Privacy Act.

So I really don't understand how these treatment programs work. I thought I read that in some other places, that the treatment center would actually called the abused while the abuser was at their place, to ask how the person was acting, and if the abuse had stopped. My ex also came back from his treatment program worse then when he went. I know this probably had to do with him dealing with realizing that things that he did was abusive.


He was also mandated to attend an alcohol program. He had to attend this 3 times a week for 6 weeks. So he got his days to be consecutive days. Mon - Wed. It was for 90 minutes each night. So then he only drank from Wednesday night to Saturday night. They did take a urine test each time he went.

None of these programs ever contacted me to see how he was acting outside of the program. I think this is something that needs some attention.

I guess what I am saying is that the courts can mandate people to these programs, but the problem that I see is that there is no accountability except for what the offender says.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Justfor1 View Post
But when a alcoholic/addict commits crimes against society shouldn't they be "locked away" to protect society?? An armed robbery for drug money is still a armed robbery that hurts society. Tax drugs & make narcotics legal, send'em to treatment ect... are probably good ideas but the problem is too complex in this country. IMO the US government can be the addicts biggest enabler. SSI, food stamps, section 8, methadone clinics, free rehabs ect... are all examples of catering rules to a selected minority of the population.
No argument there.... commit armed robbery and yo arse belongs in a cage on the charge of armed robbery.

Get caught with one gram too many of coke or meth and go to prison??? The cost for a prisoner is around 120-130 per day... about what some inpatient rehabs cost. Thing is, while in prison the addict is attending graduate school for criminals.

DD's plan is better than mine. Mine was to quit screwing around in the war on drugs... talk about a Charlie Foxtrot.

My Plan: Catch someone with drugs and they have two options:
A. Firing Squad - today
B. Reveal your supplier and testify

It would be messy at first but that's how I'd get to the real criminals - the folks who bring it in, terrorize their own countries, intimidate judges etcetera.
Selling illegal drugs? Crime
Using illegal drugs? Stupid or insane (addiction == insanity)

We don't lock up crazy people unless they represent a danger to society.

To your point about government enablement I am right there with you. I find it unfathomable that anyone objects to making government aid contingent upon passing a drug test. ...Those paying taxes usually have to pass one to get their job. I'm not saying to allow those who fail to starve, but providing a means by which an addict can receive passive income so that they can use in peace without hitting rock bottom? Duh. I have heard many alcohlics say that the only instinct they had strong enough to get them into recovery was their survival instinct. If they could have remained safe and warm and fed while using they never would have gotten well.

...The current POTUS has vowed to stop treating drugs as a criminal issue and start treating it as a public health issue focused on treatment and prevention rather than enforcement and incarceration. Oh crap, I just had the terrifying realization that he and I agree on something. Must call Pshrink.
Who would believe our folks in DC would question a program that has cost a trillion dollars, increased drug related violence and achieved none of it's goals... you'd think that would be memorialized with a staue or something ;-)

No worries, once I become king, this problem and others will go away ;-)
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:46 PM
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Just to throw out another angle. What should happen to the drug dealer who is not a user? Isn't that a crime distributing poison to low income communities?? Are they sick people like the addicts themselves? Another question to ask if we send them to treatment is what is the success rate? Is it not less expensive to house a person in prison than a failed rehab attempt? Perhaps, the Prohibition Era should back seeing as alcohol is usually a gateway to harder drugs? Seeing how tough States are getting on drunk drivers maybe they should start charging drunk drivers with "attempted murder?" Something drastic, must be done because it is clearly not working.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:28 PM
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I sure like the idea of treatment courts. 65 percent of inmates are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
And living in Alaska, I often wonder what percentage of inmates suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. It's a significant number, that I know.

The idea of legalizing drugs and taxing them is a whole other ball of wax. I personally find it an utterly immoral idea, the government making money from people's addictions. There is a point where these taxes cease to be "sin taxes" (intended to discourage behavior) and turn into "addiction taxes" because the taxes aren't aimed at ending usage of these substances; they're aimed at creating a new revenue stream for government.

And I think government will be just as successful in getting addicts into recovery as I was with my AXH.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:08 PM
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lilamy I agree that the government would be making money off people's addictions, but isn't that what the government already does with cigs and alcohol?

If someone wants to use, they will use no matter what. Instead of putting the money into a drug dealers hands, at least it could go to something else. Also, if drugs were legal it would make drugs consistent. For example, someone buying heroin or cocaine get a different product each time. 3 bags could be not very potent or 3 bags could make you over dose. Nevermind the the drug dealers that fill the bags with fake drugs. In a way, legalizing drugs could make it safer for those who would be doing drugs no matter what.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:25 PM
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If they legalized drugs where would they sell it? Would 7-11 and the corner store be allowed to sell crack cocaine next to the cigarettes? How old would a person have to be to purchase it? What would happen when those people who bought & smoked "legal crack" ran out? I mean to say just legalize it is too simple for a complex problem.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by amy55 View Post
None of these programs ever contacted me to see how he was acting outside of the program. I think this is something that needs some attention.
Exactly right. There is a wide range in how programs are run. The best ones DO contact the victims to get their take on how things are going. They all should, I believe. I think you might have misunderstood what the counselor was saying about the privacy issue, though. The counselor might have meant that he couldn't tell you how he was doing in the group, or he may have meant that he could not directly confront your ex with what you said happened for YOUR protection. Your ex's privacy would not be impacted by the counselor's asking him about it, but yours would.

In any event, this is one of the things we are working on, to get everyone on the same page. Safety plus accountability. That's our mantra.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:58 PM
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JF1, there is a big difference between locking someone up for possession (or even distribution of small amounts or nonviolent crimes arising from addiction), and locking people up for crimes of violence. Violent offenders definitely need to be off the street. i know people who have recovered while in prison serving time for violent offenses, and they would be the first to agree they had forfeited the right to be walking around.

De-criminalizing drugs isn't the same as legalizing them. But I don't see any point in refusing to legalize marijuana. A substantial portion of the population at this point seems to favor it, or at least not be strongly opposed to it.

And I get your point about government programs "enabling" people to continue to use drugs and alcohol, but I still think that the current "war on drugs" is more costly than effective. I don't believe most people who use drugs are deterred by their illegality. I don't believe more people would use them if they were not criminalized. The illegality is what drives up the price, makes it lucrative for dealers, which in turn contributes to the violence and corruption driven by the illegal drug trade. I would rather have addicts able to get their drugs legally than to have little kids getting shot on their way to school by warring drug dealers (a common occurrence in the city where I was working).

If the money being used to fight the "war on drugs" was instead put into rehab facilities and prevention and treatment efforts, I think society as a whole would suffer less.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by richmacseo View Post
In work i have workmates that i hated most,hopefully he will be fired..
Um, I don't know who/what you are talking about.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Um, I don't know who/what you are talking about.
Now, THAT was weird... the post I replied to completely disappeared. And ALL of the post-er's 17 or so posts disappeared.

Really, folks, I am not hallucinating or talking to myself.
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