Community corrections in criminal justice system
The criminal justice system interventions to deal with offenders have a primary goal of ensuring that the public is kept safe. Experts in criminal justice system are exploring on the best method to achieve the main goal and the effect that the modern strategies have in relation to the management of the offenders. Community corrections refer to restrictions imposed on convicted persons and are implemented in community setting without the offender being imprisoned. Community corrections are recognized for being effective in positively transforming the offenders and improving their lives. The corrections also take care of individuals who have finished serving their time in prison and have come back to their community under parole status. The most important aim of community corrections is making sure that the offenders can successfully be integrated back to the society and chances of reverting to criminal activities are reduced. To successfully reduce recidivism, players within the criminal justice system should work closely with community corrections to some level ( Hanser, 2010).
Drug abuse and addiction is highly related to crime. There are a number of drug related offenses that people are charged with in a court of law. The offenses range from possession and sale of illegal drugs, stealing money for buying drugs, violent behaviors associated with drugs and driving while intoxicated therefore causing accidents. The paper will focus on the best strategy to help the drug addicts’ deal with the problem and avoid being arrested in future. The best strategy for helping the offender deal with the drug problem is effective collaboration with various people and institutions in various capacities to assist the offender cope with the challenges. The strategy will utilize the strengths of community correction to change the behavior of the offender. According to Hoffler and Clark (2012), collaboration is the best strategy as it allows people and institutions that are specialized and with experience in many areas to guide the program so as to achieve maximum benefits.
The first step will be to perform needs assessment risks and needs assessment so as to determine the partners that will be involved in collaboration. It is after accurate determination of the offenders needs that planning an effective correction program for the offender becomes a reality. The risk assessment involves a critical analysis of the offender’s behavior including history to determine chances of the offender going back to drug abuse after the program is completed. Collaboration plays are critical role at this stage because; if an inaccurate risk analysis is conducted the offender the program will not reflect the needs of the offender. Experienced psychiatrists and psychologists will be involved so as to perform accurate clinical assessments. The collaboration also involves the local community members and the offender’s family members who can give a detailed on history on the offender’s drug and crime problems.
Collaboration with counselors is critical in community correction. Change in behavior is supposed to come voluntarily from the offender. If he/she does not see the benefits of the actively participating during the community correction process, then it would result to failure and higher chances of the offender going back to drug abuse. Counselling services are therefore important so as to convince the offender that it is possible to change for good and benefit the community. The strategy of collaboration will also be utilized after an accurate needs analysis has been performed. The local hospital will be involved the treatment of the offender and prevention of harmful physiological effects that are known to emerge from withdrawing from the use of drugs. The doctors also need to collaborate in implementing a detoxification. The health professionals will guide the long-term residential treatment by implementing the therapeutic community model. The model is important in ensuring that there is resocialization and the individual is accepted back to the society. TC compliments community correction by encouraging the individual to have personal accountability and lead a socially productive life in future(Hucklesby & Wincup ,2010).
The religious leaders will also be involved in community correction by encouraging the offender to denounce crime and join them in religious activities. Religion has a strong message that God has the power to transform people’s lives and make them embrace positive living. When an offender subscribes to a major religious faith chances are that by following religious teachings, the individual is likely to change his/her behavior. Collaboration with the family members and the neighbors so as the offender can be supported in changing the behavior and getting accepted back. If family support is lacking, it is very difficult for the offender to change his/her behavior. The neighbors need to be convinced that the offender is prepared to live a positive life and participate in normal activities within the community. When the community members are willing to accept the offender back as a reformed person, he/she is likely to get the motivation to quit drugs. The local police will also be involved in the monitoring of the offenders activities so as to ensure that he stays away from any suspicious activities. The police will also ensure that the offender complies with the provisions made at the beginning of community correction program. Finally collaborating with charitable organizations is important because they can sponsor some of the activities as well as pay for some of the expenses that a successful program is likely to incur.
Limitations and measuring outcomes
The strategy is however limited in a number of ways. The first limitation is getting access to all the documents as well as the people to be involved during implementation. Collaboration involves working with different people and agencies as well as fact finding. Some family members may not give accurate information related to the offenders for various reasons. Some offenders also tend to lie when asked questions about their history and some fear that telling the truth might bring more trouble to them (Shane ,2013). It may take a long time to contact everyone involved as well as getting their full support. The implementation of the strategy is expensive and paying for all the outsourced services from hospitals and counsellors is a major challenge. Biasness is also likely to limit the success of the strategy. Every individual behaves differently and responds differently to community correction. Expecting the offender to respond in a certain way may influence the outcome as it limits the motivation to find out more about the uniqueness of the offenders problem.
Outcomes will be measured by the number of days that the offender successfully stays without using the drug substance. The other measure is whether the offender is able to increase the number of hours spent working after the community correction. The number of hospitalizations after the program will also be checked as a way of determining whether the offender’s health status has improved. The legal status will also be used as a way of determine whether the offender has another encounter with any law enforcement agency after successfully completing his time under community correction. Improved mental health will also be used as a measure of the outcomes by checking the mood and change in personality traits including becoming less violent.
The financial limitation will be reduced by involving charitable organizations to cater for some expenses. The needs assessment will also encompass information drawn from different sources and avoid overdependence on family members and neighbors. Tracing former schoolmates and close friends to assist enhances accuracy. To eliminate biasness, opinions will be drawn from different experts who have worked with drug addicts in determining what approach is useful for the specific individual. An experienced negotiator will also been involved so as to ensure that various people and institutions are convinced to offer their full support to the offender and time wastage in the negotiations is reduced. The strategy of collaboration is distinctive from other strategies because it considers involving anyone who can offer assistance to the offender irrespective of the cost. The strategy is dedicated to ensuring no effort is spared towards ensuring that an offender quits the use of drugs. It focuses on helping the offender realize that he/she is not being treatment as a criminal but rather as a person who needs support. The strategy is therefore likely to impact positively on the offender and change the behavior. The collaboration strategy is a remarkable way of ensuring that people change criminal behavior, and positively contributes to the society.
Hanser, R. (2010). Community Corrections. Sage.
Hoffler, E., & Clark, E. (2012). Social Work Matters: The Power of Linking Policy and Practice. National Assn. of Social Workers.
Hucklesby, A., & Wincup, E. (2010). Drug Interventions in Criminal Justice. Open UP/McGraw-Hill Education.
Shane, J. M. (2013). Learning from error in policing: A case study in organizational accident theory. Heidelberg: Springer.