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Permanent Council of The OAS Committee on Hemispheric Security


With the support of

Government of Canada
through its "Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program" (ACCBP)

OAS - Inter-American Observatory on Security
SMS > Alertamerica.org > News
In the News

OAS Leads Evaluation of Drug Treatment Courts

RESEARCHERS AND PROFESSIONALS in the Justice and Health fields, working within the Drug Treatment Courts (DTC) model, gathered from all over the Americas to evaluate this model as an alternative to incarceration under judicial supervision for drug dependent offenders.

"It is as much our duty to support this model, as it is to ensure that processes such as Drug Treatment Courts are built on sound scientific and methodological frameworks,"

This initiative seeks to promote bilateral cooperation and the development of standards and guidelines for the evaluation of DTCs. Over the course of two days, methodologies were exchanged and experiences shared between countries who already have the DTC model in place, and those who have made significant progress to implement pilot projects throughout 2012. The event was held at the OAS headquarters on 26 and 27 January.

“We appreciate the presence of delegates and representatives from OAS member states where drug treatment courts are a reality, and from other countries committed to exploring the initiation of pilot projects during 2012," said Executive Secretary of the OAS Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), Ambassador Paul Simons during his opening remarks of the workshop.

The meeting featured several speakers who analyzed the operation of DTCs from different perspectives. Justice Stephane Haisley spoke first, presenting the Jamaican experiences of drug courts in Kingston, while US researcher, Douglas Marlowe, also a board member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), focused on the impact of DTCs as effective in “reducing recidivism rates and preventing relapse to drug abuse".

Drugs court workshop at OAS headquarters, January 2012

Justice Haisley commented: “This workshop has been very informative from my perspective as a judge. I may not be involved in Evaluation, but it is very interesting to understand the indicators for evaluating the outcomes of our efforts. The Cost-Benefit analysis presentation was excellent.”

In his closing remarks, Assistant Executive Secretary of OAS CICAD, Rafael Franzini reiterated the firm commitment of the OAS to support such initiatives: "As far as the OAS is concerned, it is as much our duty to support this model, as it is to ensure that processes such as DTCs are built on sound scientific and methodological frameworks," said Franzini.

The event also included presentations by specialists from outside the region. CICAD welcomed the Deputy Director of the Office of Research and Statistics on Crime in Sydney, Australia, Craig Jones, who focused on the "reintegration of the individual into society."

Dr. Francisco Cumsille, director of the Inter-American Observatory on Drugs (OID) at OAS CICAD said: "For CICAD, it is a basic and essential condition that those countries who start this process incorporate an integral evaluation component  from day one. The results of these first experiences will be crucial when DTC programs eventually expand throughout the respective country ".

“What is interesting about this conference is that it is very comprehensive in focusing on the practical elements of conducting research.”

Antonio Lomba, the DTC Program Manager at CICAD, stated that "Through these actions, countries involved are collaborating with the OAS in a joint effort to find research models to allow us not only to follow up on the implementation process of DTCs in the hemisphere, but to also facilitate future evaluation of outcomes.

Dr. Michael Finigan, a sociologist and researcher on the DTC model in Portland, Oregon, presented on the cost-benefit analysis of DTCs. He argued that while short-term funding of these programs is costly, it is in fact more cost effective than prison in the long-term. This is due to the face that a high percentage of individuals who enter the program (with a background of addiction and criminal charges) do not go on to reoffend.

The symposium was also attended by Mr. Dennis Reilly, Deputy Director of DTC programs at The Centre for Court Innovation in New York. Also present was Professor Caroline Cooper, researcher and Associate Director of the Justice Programs Office, School of Public Affairs at American University, who spoke on the key principles of DTCs. In addition, Shelli B. Rossman, Senior Fellow at the Justice Policy Center in Washington D.C. discussed, among other issues, the impact this model has on reducing the prison population.

Rossman told Alertamerica: “What is interesting about this conference is that it is very comprehensive in focusing on the practical elements of conducting research. It also analyzes the management of the court program, with an eye towards documenting its success.”

This workshop was conducted in cooperation with and under the leadership of the OID and the Institutional Building and Integral Programs section of OAS CICAD.

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June 24, 2009
Other news
» OAS to beef up Belize’s security (The Reporters, Belize)
» OAS head wants region to confront 'causes' of illicit firearms trafficking (Jamaica Observer)

Insulza: flujo de armas ilegales mina lucha contra crimen en América (Agencia AFP)

» Guatemala firma con secretario adjunto OEA acuerdo para marcar armas de fuego (Agencia EFE)
» OAS to Execute a Firearms Marking Project in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Panama, and Peru (The Bahamas Weekly, Bahamas)
» Bielsa recibio a ejecutivo de la OEA contra el abuso de drogas (El Comercial, Argentina)
» Programa de la OEA de tratamiento contra las drogas se implementará en Panamá (Agencia EFE)
» OAS Stresses the Challenges and the Importance of Confronting Cyber-crime in a Coordinated Manner(The Bahamas Weekly, Bahamas)
» OEA condena “criminales atentados” en Colombia‎ (Agencia AFP)
Other news in Alertamerica.org
Selected publications
Alertamerica.org: Report on Citizen Security 2011
PDF,  10 MB
Documentos Claves de la OEA sobre Seguridad. Volumen II
PDF,  1.5 MB
La Seguridad
Pública en las Américas: Retos y Oportunidades
La Cárcel: Problemas y Desafíos para las Américas
PDF, 7.4 MB
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