Law enfercement & Alternative Sentence for drug offenders
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Law enfercement & Alternative Sentence for drug offenders

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Law enfercement & Alternative Sentence for drug offenders Law enfercement & Alternative Sentence for drug offenders Presentation Transcript

  • Alternative Sentences for drug offenders MA. Erlind Plaku Albania Sally Shamas Lebanon
    • “ No matter how much we do, there's more of it seeming to pop back up. At some point, one of our real challenges is not just simply busting the bad guys, but keeping them from becoming bad guys.”
      • Arkansas Governor “Mike Huckabee”
  • Issue
    • Getting tough on crime has been a favorite drug war weapon.
    • Arrests for increasingly smaller amounts of drugs and mandatory, longer prison sentences have been used in an effort to threaten drug users and to punish those who get caught.
    • Instead, the result has been a nation where states spend more money building prisons than building colleges.
    • Substance abuse problems continue to increase.
  • Reducing incarceration
    • Reducing incarceration rates through decriminalisation, depenalisation, and/or alternative mechanisms of diversion is a cost-effective way to reduce the harms associated with the overcrowding of prisons and the criminal justice system, and to promote the social reintegration of drug offenders.
  • Why is it important?
    • Concerns have grown that the widespread incarceration of drug users has been expensive, ineffective and has increased health and social problems, while failing to prevent and deter drug use
    • One way to address substance abuse and the problems it causes for individuals, their families, and society in general, is to help individuals gain more control over their lives.
    • With alternative sentencing, persons charged with nonviolent drug crimes who might benefit from treatment are identified by prosecutors, assessed by counselors, and brought into a special court where they are offered the opportunity to enter into treatment.
    • These special courts are called drug courts. The defendant agrees to enter into treatment, counseling, education, job training, and other activities that provide the tools for building a better life. If the defendant completes the program, his or her criminal charges are dropped and the individual is released to try life with better health, an improved outlook, and marketable job skills.
    • Other types of alternative sentencing might include more traditional approaches, such as work release, education, counseling and other efforts which help someone move toward a more constructive lifestyle.
  • Alternative strategies to incarceration
    • A change of focus is needed from drug use as a crime to drug use as a health problem, and from punishment to treatment for dependent drug users.
    • This approach entails a reduction in incarceration, and the development of alternative mechanisms to deal with arrested drug users.
  • Alternative strategies to incarceration
    • Reviewing criminal laws
    • Depenalisation and decriminalisation
    • Diverting drug offenders at arrest
    • Diverting drug offenders at sentence
  • Alternative strategies to incarceration
    • Reviewing criminal laws
    • National drug laws need to be reformed so that priority is given to the seriousness of the crime and the impact of the sanction on the overall illegal drug market. In addition, pre-trial detentions and mandatory minimum penalties should be avoided for low-level drug offenders who do not seem to constitute a danger to society, so as to reduce prison overcrowding
  • Alternative strategies to incarceration
    • Depenalisation and decriminalisation
    • Recently, several countries, such as Portugal, Mexico, Argentine, or the Czech Republic, have turned to the decriminalisation of drug use as a new strategy to combat drug-related crime and avoid a prison crisis and its negative consequences.
    • Decriminalisation usually applies to offences related to drug consumption and involves the imposition of civil sanctions (administrative ones for example) or the abolition of all sanctions, rather than processing minor drug offences through the criminal justice system. So far these strategies seem to have been effective in reducing the criminal justice system and prisons overload, and have not led to an increase in drug use.
    • Other countries have turned to depenalisation, a process by which the level of penalties associated with drug offences is reduced, so that imprisonment is used more sparingly. This is notably the case for the UK when dealing with those caught in possession of cannabis.
  • Alternative strategies to incarceration
    • Diverting drug offenders at arrest
    • Diversion at arrest aims to minimise the use of traditional criminal justice resources and provide treatment and health services to drug users.
    • The UK’s arrest referral scheme, whilst not an alternative to incarceration, is based on a system whereby those arrested for drug offences, or for offences motivated by problem drug use (such as theft), will be referred to a drug treatment provider.
    • This policy is premised on the idea that engagement with treatment will lead to a reduction or cessation of illicit drug use and will thus reduce or bring to an end further drug-related offending by the drug user.
  • Alternative strategies to incarceration
    • Diverting drug offenders at sentence
    • Non-violent drug offenders who do not represent a danger to society are referred to treatment services and/or imposed other penalties as an alternative to imprisonment.
  • Probation Service in Albania
    • The main topic of staff are preparation of assessment reports for the offenders, before and after the conviction. It also evaluates the social backgrounds, familiar conditions and concrete programs in order to accomplish the social integration.
    • It makes possible the surveillance of the offenders in order to protect public interests and avoidance of the offences in the community.
  • Probation Service in Albania
    • This service makes possible the control toward the offenders and protect the public interests. In the first of all gives the opportunity to the offenders to start earlier the process of rehabilitation and integration in the community.
    • And on the other hand it controls and surveys the offenders. In order to achieve successful results is neccessary the collaboration with social local services and the welfare to enhance and increase the inclusion in community.
    • According to this collaboration, Probation Service Office sends a reference letter with the offenders dates to the partners NGO-s who will be treated in daily centers with the appropriate integration, rehabilitation programs.
  • Network of Community Services for Offenders Project
    • This Project is financed by European Commission, European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
    • The overall objective of the Action is to support Probation Service on implementation of alternative sanctions in Albania offering treatment programs for the offenders in the community.
    • Probation Service is based in finding, enhancing and using effectively partnerships within the community and improves public confidence in the effectiveness of community sentences.
  • The main focus of this National Network is to help offenders benefit from
    • the new law about the implementation of alternative measures, accompanying these measures with integration, vocational and rehabilitation programs.
    • Network through its activities is helping the consolidation of democratization of punishment system in Albania and increasing the participation of civil society coalitions in execution of penal sentences.
  • Establishing the Network of Community Services for the Offenders
    • The implementation of Alternative Sentence in Albania is a step forward in the consolidation of Human Rights and Democracy. This Network through its activities, presentations, seminars, workshops, and awareness campaigns aims to:
    • Building capacities for the Network members and other associates.
    • Offering treatment, rehabilitation and counseling programs for the offenders in the community;
    • Increase the level of public confidence in Alternative Sentence Implementation.
    • Training and assistance for Probation Service
    • Advocacy for community sentencing; in collaboration with community actors and effective use of community resources.
  • Objectives
    • To gain a second chance for the offenders that are addictive to alcohol and drugs,   who have behavior and personality problems, anger management
    • The appropriate medical, psycho-social treatment aiming their rehabilitation
    • Their integration in the community will be achieved with the collaboration of institutions like Ministry of Labor and Social Issues of Equal Opportunities, Ministry of Education (vocational training course, education, employment and housing)
    • Increase the level of confidence in the effectiveness of the implementation of alternative sentence
    • Including the alternative sentence in an institutional frame-work in Albania
  • The advantages of the Alternative sentences
    • The alternative sentence diminish the probability of crimogenic needs.
    • are less expensive. 
    • offers the restitution of damages. 
    • make possible the disappearance of criminal tendency.
    • avoid the spreading of criminal tendency in prison.
    • helps in keeping the relationships. 
    • gives to the offender a second possibility in order to re-integrate in the society. 
    • allows the elimination of conviction shame that is so real and present that even the other members of the family suffers more that the offender does. 
  • The advantages of the Alternative sentences
    • The community obtain advantages from the rehabilitated people who have a clear purpose of their life abide the law.
    • This plan includes the participation in the economic life having a job and contributing like this in the development of the society in stead of creating problems. 
    • In the financial aspect alternative sentence are less expensive relating to the maintenance of the offender in prison.
  • Recommendations
    • Laws and penalties for drug offences need to be reviewed, with the objective of drawing a clear distinction between the different actors and their role in the illicit drug market. Law enforcement interventions and incarceration penalties should be focused on high-level or violent drug offenders, and governments should consider the introduction of de-penalisation or decriminalisation regimes for low-level and non-violent offenders.
    • Diversion mechanisms at arrest need to be introduced, and designed so that cases of low-level drug offenders do not overload and incapacitate criminal justice systems.
    • Incarceration penalties should be reduced or removed altogether for low-level drug offenders, who should be diverted instead to more appropriate forms of intervention. These can include administrative penalties for recreational users, or treatment services for drug dependent people. Any criminal procedure that increases the pressure on prison capacity, such as mandatory minimum sentences and pre-trial detention procedures, should only be used for the most serious offenders. 
    • More generally, a change of focus is needed from treating drug use as a crime to dealing with it as a health problem, and from punishment to treatment for dependent drug users who are not involved in serious or violent crime.
    • Thank you