|Research has demonstrated that individuals
under legal coercion tend to stay in treatment longer and do as well as or better than
others without legal coercion.
The 'client' in these cases can include the general
public, victim, family, courts and the agency for whom you work as well as the person with
the drug problem.
Cooperative, shared case management which clearly articulates the roles and boundaries
of agencies and workers involved is essential. In particular, rewards and sanctions
relating to drug use and other behaviour should be understood by all parties.
This page should be use in conjunction with the DrugNet page on Involuntary Clients.
Statutory Obligation & Treatment
Components of Intervention
Related Internet Sites
Based Justice Interventions
justice interventions can either be in the prison setting or in the community setting.
If treatment occurs in the prison setting, 'through care' or continuing treatment
options into the community upon release should be included. While this page is
primarily concerned with the community setting, many of the principles can be applied to
the prison setting. Click here for strategies to
reduce illicit drugs in prison.
Offenders with drug-related issues can be diverted into treatment at several points:
- First police contact (eg cautioning with/without drug session as a condition)
- When charges are laid (eg court diversion service)
- During the court procedure (eg conditional parole, drug courts, court diversion service)
- In prison (drug free prison areas & treatment)
- When leaving prison (eg conditional parole).
It's important that clinical workers are clear on context as this relates to boundaries
of treatment and statutory obligations.
Statutory Obligation & Treatment
The goals for treatment in these cases are:
- reduction of re-offending (and thus harm to the community);
- reduction of drug-related harm to the offender;
- improvement of life domains; and
- imposition of 'justice' (as it relates to punishment, deterrence & the restorative
Counsellors of statutory cases need to manage their statutory (policing) role with
their therapeutic role. Behaviours which would result in a breach action or being
reported to a community corrections officer need to be clearly outlined.
For example, if a client is on parole for a heroin related crime and reducing their
heroin use, but continuing to use heroin, should this be reported? (especially if the
client has little income and is therefore either dealing or stealing to finance their drug
use). If a client switches from their heroin use to cannabis use, should this be
To help in this decision making a referral form has been developed which
helps to clarify boundaries and expectations of treatment interventions. Click here for HTML version. Click here for MS Word version (16 KB).
Barber six steps for dealing with the involuntary client can also help both
therapist and client to manage the dual roles of individual therapist and protector of the
community. Generally, one of the tasks of clients in the criminal justice system is
to learn to develop and manage limits including those imposed by the general
community. The counsellor's ability to model limit setting (reward when client is
within limits and consistent sanctions when limits are crossed) may help to make up for
poor role modelling in the past.
For a Solution Focused Brief Therapy approach for working with
unmotivated, mandated clients, click Hot Tips by Insoo Kim Berg
|Components of Intervention
Accountability and Safer Communities (TASC) program is a well researched and successful
diversionary program in USA. It typically includes counselling, medical care,
parenting instruction, family counselling, school and job training, and legal and
The key features of TASC include:
- Coordination of criminal justice and dug treatment;
- Early identification, assessment, and referral of drug-involved offenders;
- Monitoring offenders through drug testing; and
- Use of legal sanctions as inducements to remain in treatment.
of Drug Addiction Treatment, (PDF - 186 KB) 1999 National Institute on
Drug Abuse & National Institutes of Health)
(See also Involuntary
Primary aims are to:
- Help see the client through their court order;
- Reduce the criminogenic factors around drug use;
- Stop or reduce their drug use (using statutory and other motivations);
- Reduce the harm (to others & the client) associated with their drug use;
- Improve the client's quality of life as it relates to their drug use;
- Maintain statutory obligations regarding their drug use; and
- Maintain professional integrity in both statutory and counselling roles.
Possible Steps or Checklist
client's relationship between their drug use and their offence
||Relationship between drug use and their (alleged)
||Relationship between illicit and other drug use and
completion of their order:
||could be an illegal activity in itself
||may reduce motivation to get on with life
||may use up other resources such as money & energy
||mixing with negative peer groups
||Obligations & role(s) of yourself, supervisor,
parole board, court, police, other agency if shared care;
||Obligations & role of client;
||Bottom line behavioural boundaries of client:
||allow for negotiation on bottom line where possible as
per Barber's six steps in managing the Involuntary Client;
||include reward contingencies when within boundaries (eg
freedom, completion of order, improved lifestyle) as well as sanctions.
||Explain limits of
||Describe what confidentiality is offered as well as
the limits of confidentiality
||Policy regarding the management of disclosure of
other behaviours such as stealing, sexual assault, child abuse or neglect, domestic
violence and suicidal intent should be known and adhered to.
||Provide a hierarchy of risk in the context of
disclosing drug use. |
eg, you might say that all illicit drug use will represent a risk of breach action.
However, there is a significant difference in risk of breach action between admitting to
cannabis use in the context of wishing to learn how to stop use as compared to being
caught out with heroin in a urine test. The ethic here is about supporting clients
taking responsibility for and managing their lives.
counselling and treatment interventions as appropriate
||If uncomfortable with the case (ie too complex, not
comfortable with either statutory or drug aspects, refer to supervisor or specialist
||Develop a comprehensive treatment plan which takes
into account the client's external world (ie accommodation, support & family network,
child-care needs, financial situation, educational and employment issues). |
Click here for
a simple assessment tool which outlines a comprehensive approach.
Click here for a WA Training, Education and
Employment Resource Manual - employment following release of drug users has been highly
correlated with successful completion of orders regardless of severity of drug use.
||Generally speaking there is an expectation for
clients to consider abstinence in the first instance. If this is not possible,
discuss reduced and more controlled drug use (within the bounds of statutory
obligations). The aim here it to maximise the possibility of reduced harm to the
community in the first instance within court expectations.
||Use other drug management counselling skills such as
motivational interviewing, goal-setting, and relapse prevention work.
for treatment steps.
||Click here for a review of
context of motivational interviewing which is likely to be useful in mandated clients.
supervisor on the case, particularly if:
||High risk case;
||Highly criminogenic drugs such as heroin and
amphetamines or alcohol if strongly related to crime continue to be used;
||The likely cost of drugs used far outweigh declared
||Drug use has changed to another hazardous substance
(eg from a depressant like heroin to a stimulant like amphetamine);
||Other complicating factors (eg very depressed, HIV
positive & practicing unsafe needle use, other illegal or dangerous behaviour
||Yourself or another staff member feels threatened in
any way by the client.
(The above 'Clinical Points' are the modified
results from a workshop exercise undertaken by the staff of Community Based Services,
Midland Perth in Jan 1999).
Drug Courts CEIDA
Drugs Misuse and the Criminal Justice System: A Review of the
Relationship of Drug Use (Particularly Alcohol) to Violent
Strategies to Reduce Illicit Drugs In Prison (Australia -
Working with Unmotivated, Mandated Clients - Hot Tips by Insoo
Kim Berg (USA)
Australian Institute of Criminology: Alcohol & Illicit
WA Training, Education and Employment Resource Manual
[ Involuntary Clients ]