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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
Many criminal justice policy makers believe that effective crime control cannot be realized without effective controls on the extent and nature of illicit drug use.

The criminal justice system's goal of eliminating drug use among criminal defendants is driven by the twin goals of reducing criminal behavior and guaranteeing the appearance of defendants at criminal hearings. Data were gathered among a cohort of 6,103 males arrested in New York City to investigate relationships among drug use at arrest, other defendant characteristics, and pretrial failure to appear (FTA) as one key measure of pretrial misconduct. Arrestees were interviewed and submitted to a urine test for drug consumption. The findings suggested that mass drug screening of arrestees may not be a cost-effective way to identify defendants at high risk for pretrial misconduct. Policy and program issues are considered in terms of pretrial release and supervision, resources, the technology of drug testing, and constitutional and due process issues. 5 tables, 6 notes, and 41 references

Date Published: January 1, 1992