Challenges in the Justice System: Case Management of Drug Crimes

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Challenges in the justice system: Case management of drug crimes Drug abuse represents one of the greatest challenges for any criminal justice professional. The question of whether drug abuse should be viewed as a medical issue, a criminal issue, or a unique combination of both remains hotly-debated question, particularly in regard to juvenile offenders. There are indications that the two are often interlinked: "research indicates that a relatively small group of serious and violent juvenile offenders who are also serious drug users accounts for a disproportionate amount (more than half, according to one national study) of all serious crimes committed by delinquents" (VanderWaal et al 2001: 1). Given the chronic and addictive nature of drug abuse, these offenders often go on to commit more crimes as adults, unless the cycle is broken. Case management is one of the most common techniques used to treat juvenile drug offenders. It allows for an integration of rehabilitation and drug treatment. "A key approach to interrupting the juvenile drug-crime cycle is an integrated case management strategy that coordinates the various service needs of youths from the time they enter the juvenile justice system until they no longer require supervision" (VanderWaal et al 2001: 2). Ideally, interventions should take place before the juvenile becomes a hardened, repeat abuser and offender. Counseling for non-institutionalized juveniles on parole can be effective, but not all programs are
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