Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Therapeutic Approaches for the Drug Addicts from Penitentiaries

Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Therapeutic Approaches for the Drug Addicts from Penitentiaries

Article excerpt


Drug consumers can be integrated in a treatment program both in liberty, and in detention facilities, which requires, both generally, and specifically, working principles with the drug addicts, in terms of the strict observance of the human rights.

Drug addiction treatment is done within axiological matrices which determine the predictability that the drug addicts leaves the "drug circle".

The general working framework presents the principles for the efficient treatment of drug addicts, rules developed by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse in 1999 1999 (NIDA, 1999).

The process which provides treatment for the convicts has many preconceived ideas. Among them, an outstanding one refers to the opinion according to which it is outright pointless and useless to provide services to people convicted due to criminal acts, hence the difficulty to accept treatment as instrument to control the crime.

Since the treatment is a humane service, being thus considered much "simpler" than most of the traditional services of penal law of incarceration or parole (for instance, electronic monitors, house arrest), its connection with the reduction of the crime rate is unclear. For instance, Duffee and Carlson (1996) revealed the premises for facilitating the access to treatment services for addiction, considering that four principles of determination can be applied: the individual deserves to benefit of treatment; the individual is amendable for treatment; the individual can cause large social damages if not treated; the organisations with the best reputation for an efficient management must be involved. The two authors consider that these premises serve limiting the access of convicts to services, even though the application of these principles would support a better focusing to provide services for the people on parole or on probation.

Principles of the treatment for drug addicts spending time in penitentiaries

For the purpose of the comparative analysis of the advantages provided by the courts for drug addicts, the paper mentions the working principles for the treatment of convicted drug addicts, the operational framework being recommended in 2001 by the World Health Organization (Regional Bureau for Europe) and the Council of Europe (WHO, 2002).

These principles rely on the experience of the European countries which participated in the World Health Organization's projects in penitentiaries and to the activities of the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe.

General principles

1. The illicit consumption of drugs in penitentiaries reflects the illicit consumption of drugs within the whole society. For instance, in penitentiaries, as well as in the community, there is an increasing trend towards the varied use of drugs, of a wide range of substances (cannabis, drugs used to other purposes than their actual purpose, alcohol, etc.), which shows that any penitentiary program should be complementary to the one used within the community.

2. The clients commute between penitentiaries and community. This movement of people shows that the infections transmitted within penitentiaries are most often acquired within the community and will eventually return to the community. Public health protection within the community depends on the provision of adequate healthcare services within the penitentiaries.

3. Incarceration as punishment extends just to the deprivation of liberty. The penitentiaries should not make reference to the punishment simply as deprivation of the human rights, but as provision of access to healthcare similar to that available within the community or as exposure to lower health risks, than those that would confront them within the community.

4. The penitentiaries should be safe and decent places in which people live and work. The health, safety and welfare of all inmates and penitentiary staff depend on the clarity of rules, procedures and sanctions if going beyond these limits. …

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