Crime and Disorder Act 1998

In 1998, a new Community Sentence, called ‘Drug Treatment and Testing Order DTTO’s was introduced under the “Crime and Disorder Act 1998”. This order has come into force due to the growing links between the use of drugs and various types of crime (acquisitive crime, crimes committed under the influence of drugs etc). DTTO has been used to correct the young offenders (up to 18 years of age), who are shown to exhibit serious dependency towards drugs (Youth Crime briefing, 2004). The treatment is carried out under the guidance of a Probation Officer.

The duration of the treatment can vary anywhere from six months to three years but is not to exceed three years. The background of the offender and the type of crime (theft, burglary, shoplifting, drug trafficking, drug induced violent crimes etc) committed are to be analyzed before starting the corrective measure. Emphasis is also given towards provision of basics facilities like education, training, housing, employment etc (Youth Crime Briefing, 2004). Treatment for the offenders cannot be started until the individual has given his consent.

Treatment is proposed by a probation officer. The tests are frequently carried out on these individuals in order to check the levels of drugs in their bodies. The court specifies the number of the samples to be taken in a month for these individuals. However the probation officer can exert his own discretion over the nature of the samples to be taken. The treatment, offered to the individual can be residential or non–residential. The details of the treatment except for the time period of treatment are not specified by the court (Youth Crime Briefing, 2004).

Implementation of DTTO has been observed to show mixed results. In a study by Hough, Clancy, Mcsweeny and Turnbull (2003), the order was carried out on 210 offenders. The rates of conviction were seen to decrease for those individuals who completed the treatment for the first and second year. Reduction in the use of intravenous heroine was also observed as a result of implementation of this order. However the DTTO program has been found to be more expensive compared to the normal imprisonment.

The main challenge for the success of this program is to find ways to ensure that the offenders continue and cooperate with this program. It has been observed that longer the period of treatment, the lesser are chances of relapse. The drug abstinence order is almost similar to Drug Treatment and Testing Order. The individual is required to undergo regular drug testing similar to that of DTTO. However he is required to develop complete drug abstinence rather than just reducing his intake of drugs.