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Use of Hair Analysis in a Pretrial Diversion Program in New Orleans

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 39 Issue: 3 Dated: (1995) Pages: 222-241
Date Published
20 pages
The use of hair analysis to detect illegal drug use was developed and operated in a novel pretrial diversion program for nonviolent offenders in New Orleans.
The program requires participants to abstain from drugs and relies upon urinalysis, hair analysis, and self-reported drug use to monitor compliance. Approximately 90 percent of the cases in diversion are narcotics possession cases; approximately 67 percent came into the program from normal prosecutorial screening, 21 percent at the request of the defendant's attorney, and 12 percent from other sources. Data covering 7 months of program operation were reported through September 1993. Results revealed that hair analysis appears to be a more effective method of identifying drug exposure than either urinalysis or self-reported drug use. Furthermore, hair analysis provides several other advantages to program operations. Finally, implementing the hair analysis protocols did not involve any notable problems. Findings that hair assays, when included in a program of urine testing, counseling, and close supervisory monitoring of cocaine-involved offenders can have a major impact on increasing detection sensitivity, bolstering therapist morale, discouraging or defeating evasion by clients, and creating higher levels of compliance in the target population. Tables and 48 references (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1995