Thursday, November 22, 2007

Speaking of Drug Courts

Psychology and Crime News has an interesting catch of an article that deals with what drug court staff do when finding offenders who fail their mandated drug tests. About a third of the caught offenders deny it, with all the familiar rationalizations that accompany transgressions, illegal or not, but the interesting part is how the staff creates "moral identities" for the offenders to determine how they will treat them:

The drug-court staff’s judgment as to whether clients are telling the truth or lying when confronted with a positive test for drugs is one occasion of many when the staff creates moral identities for its clients and for those applying to be clients. Are the drug-using offenders morally worthy drug addicts attempting to become sober, or are they unworthy criminals with no willingness to kick their habit? Staffers increasingly make these judgments as they evaluate the potential of drug-using offenders to participate successfully in drug court, as they monitor the progress of drug court clients in the program, and as they assess the performance of clients in deciding whether the clients will graduate or be removed from the program (page 244).

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