In Memoriam: James A. Inciardi, Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice and Director of the Center for Drug & Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware

By Wechsberg, Wendee M.; McBride, Duane C. et al. | Journal of Drug Issues, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

In Memoriam: James A. Inciardi, Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice and Director of the Center for Drug & Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware


Wechsberg, Wendee M., McBride, Duane C., Surratt, Hilary L., Journal of Drug Issues


Introduction

Dr. James A. Inciardi was an esteemed and prolific scholar who left an indelible mark on the drug research and substance abuse treatment field. For those of us who knew him well, we were honored by his friendship, his generous nature, and the impressive diversity of his contributions to the field. He was a giant among us whose scholarly impact spanned 40 years and over 500 published works encompassing not only substance use and abuse, criminology and criminal justice, but also public policy, HIV/AIDS, medicine, and law. Several of his seminal papers and books set the stage for ongoing research into crack cocaine use, drug policy, HIV risk among vulnerable populations, and the effectiveness of prison-based substance abuse treatment for drug-involved offenders. This special issue of the Journal of Drug Issues is dedicated to his unparalleled work in the substance abuse field and to the memory of this exceptional man.

Jim's professional body of work reflects his dedication to building scientific knowledge in the field, and his deeply held belief that this knowledge be applied to improve the lives of individuals impacted by substance abuse. The breadth of original work in Jim's portfolio included 21 projects on which he served as the Principal Investigator. The scope of this work is a testament to his long standing commitment to the field of drug research, including the complex contextual and structural relationships to institutions and cultures.

In recognition of his extraordinary contributions, Jim received numerous awards, including those from the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Drug and Alcohol Section of the American Sociological Association. He was an active member of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, and a former member of the President's Advisory Committee for Office of National Drug Control Policy. In 1 994, he received the Outstanding Scholar Award from the University of Delaware, and in 1995 he was made a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology. For his ground-breaking work in correctionsbased therapeutic community treatment, Jim was honored with a prestigious Merit Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1995.

The original papers developed for this special issue of Journal of Drug Issues reflect Jim's diverse research interests ranging from drug treatment impact, corrections-based treatment, international HIV prevention interventions, substance use epidemiology, prescription drug diversion, and drug policy.

Two of the papers focus on one of Jim's major contributions to the field: breaking the drugs-crime relationship through treatment interventions with offender populations. Steve Martin and colleagues extend Jim's research on the therapeutic community (TC) continuum of treatment for drug-involved offenders by conducting analyses to examine the effects of TC treatment on the long-term success of offenders up to 18 years after release from prison. Michele Staton-Tindall and colleagues present outcomes following prison- and jail-based treatment among reentering women offenders from the Criminal Justice Kentucky Treatment Outcome Study and provide an exploratory look at differences in sustained abstinence, community treatment utilization, and recidivism by geographic location (metropolitan vs. nonmetropo litan) and treatment program (jail or prison). Together, these two papers support the work Jim began by documenting the feasibility of offering treatment services to criminal justice populations and the effectiveness of treatment in reducing both relapse to drug use and criminal recidivism among this population.

Jim was one of the first drug abuse researchers to understand that drug use patterns in the United States were inexorably related to global drug policy and drug use patterns. Two papers present outcomes from international settings, which reflect Jim's interest and commitment to international research. …

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