Treating Substance Use Disorders in the Criminal Justice System
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- Belenko, S., Hiller, M. & Hamilton, L. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2013) 15: 414. doi:10.1007/s11920-013-0414-z
The large number of individuals with substance use disorders involved in the nation’s criminal justice system (CJS) represents a unique opportunity, as well as challenges, in addressing the dual concerns of public safety and public health. Unfortunately, a low proportion of those who could benefit from treatment actually receive it while involved in the CJS. This article presents a review of recent research on the effectiveness of major substance abuse treatment interventions used at different possible linkage points during criminal justice case processing, including diversion, jail, prison, and community supervision. This is followed by a discussion of key research and practice issues, including low rates of treatment access and under-utilization of medication-assisted treatment. Concluding comments discuss principles of effective treatment for offenders and identify key gaps in research and practice that need to be addressed to improve and expand provision of effective treatment for offenders.