Forced Drug Testing; Criminal Court Systems

Essay by spazosburnUniversity, Bachelor's March 2008

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The question is whether or not a defendant should be required to submit to drug testing. If the individual has committed a crime while under the influence or if it was a drug crime (possession, sales) then yes, I would have to concede that drug testing for the defendant would be an ideal situation. In order to have a defendant know exactly why they are being charged in the first place, they should be sober in all court proceedings and in dealing with indictments.

I do not however, think that all defendants should have to submit to this type of chemical analysis. Not every defendant is a drug addict; we have learned that the punishment should fit the crime. The programs they have are not for everyone, there is no way that you can group everyone in the same class as a individual who commits crime for their habits compared to someone else who just committed a crime out of hunger.

(a good example is shoplifting for food).

Pretrial drug testing programs are currently in place today at the state and federal level. What surprised me was that they have been in place for a short duration. Clinton in 1995 implemented a universal policy program requiring all federal arrestees to be drug tested in pretrial and throughout all stages of the criminal justice system. Congress then had to increase funding for the Byrne Formula Grant program in 1997 to support state and local jurisdictions to encourage drug testing throughout their stages in the criminal justice system beginning with pretrial services.

The book states that, except for the use of heroin, pretrial drug testing did not seem to reduce rearrests, and that except for cocaine use, testing did not help identify individuals who would not appear for court. (Neubauer, 2002) I...