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Drug Tests and the Prediction of Pretrial Misconduct: Findings and Policy Issues

NCJ Number
Crime and Delinquency Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: (October 1992) Pages: 557-582
Date Published
26 pages
Growing concern about the impact of drug abuse and the proliferation of drug-related caseloads in urban courts has fueled interest in urine screening and monitoring programs to detect drug use among pretrial defendants.
Research on the predictive utility of urine tests in New York City and elsewhere suggests that urine screening and monitoring data do not improve the ability to classify high-risk offenders or reduce pretrial misconduct under supervised release programs. Universal prearraignment drug screening of arrestees to identify high-risk defendants is not likely to be cost-effective. Further, there is a need to be aware of the multidimensional nature of drug abuse and and to evaluate the efficacy of drug treatment as a condition of pretrial release. Coupled with technical and process concerns surrounding drug tests, evidence suggests caution in the adoption of pretrial drug testing programs. Policy and program issues associated with pretrial drug testing are explored that pertain to pretrial release and supervision, resources, drug testing technology, and constitutional and due process issues. 41 references, 6 notes, and 5 tables

Date Published: January 1, 1992