A Reaction on the Pretrial Drug Testing Program

I believe that pre-trial drug testing is ineffective because they are based on faulty assumptions. Pre-trial drug testing is a universal policy which was developed by the government in 1995 at the instruction of then President Bill Clinton. The policy requires that federal arrestees, before being released to the community pending trial need to undergo a mandatory drug test. Clinton's rationale for the policy is to help cure drug addicts at the earliest possible stage.

According to Clinton, “too often, the same criminal drug users cycle through the court, corrections and probation systems still hooked on drugs and still committing crimes to support their habit” (cited in Bureau Of Justice Assistance Bulletin, 1999). Aside from this, the government also saw this as an opportunity to be able to lessen the possibility of arrestees failing to attend the hearing of their cases and reduce pre-trial misconduct (Bureau Of Justice Assistance Bulletin, 1999). However, studies and researches do not seem to provide support for such kind of assumption.

In the research brief which the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (1996) released, their findings revealed that drug use cannot be conclusively used to predict pre-trial misconduct. The research revealed mixed results and there was no significant data to support the assumption of the government. Aside from this, Michelle Calderon cited in her article, Should Defendants be forced to take a Drug Test? (2005), another study by the NIJ revealing that those who had more serious initial arrest charge had a greater likelihood to appear at the trial. Pre-Trial Drug Testing 4

These studies and findings clearly show that there is no positive correlation between the rationale for the existence of pre-trial drug tests and the danger that the government is trying to avoid. I don't see the point of maintaining a government policy that is based on faulty assumptions only. Aside from this, I think that the policy violates one of the basic rights of an accused which is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is a basic right recognized not only by the law of the United States but also by the legal system of other countries.

This right indicates that the accuser or the victim should first establish the guilt of the accused before the law would punish him. In the absence of substantial proof or evidence beyond reasonble doubt, then the accused can freely go on his way and the law cannot hamper his liberty. With the rise of the policy providing for pre-tial drug test, this right seem to fade as the accused is already presumed to be guilty until proven innocent. With this policy, the accused is stripped of his basic right and I think it is totally unfair for him.

If the government is really determined to fight drug abuse, then it should go for stricter and more grounded measures and on a wider scale not just limited to defendants who are trying to fight for their liberty and innocence. It is quite odd that the government is concentrating on preventing drug use among the accused instead of the drug addicts who lay on the streets untreated. The government, being one of the most powerful countries in the world, if not the most powerful can do more than just this. According to the article of Henry and Clark, (U.

S. Dept. of Justice, 1999)the reason why the government is not going on full gear with drug tests is because of the high costs that it poses. If this is the true reason why the Pre-Trial Drug Testing 5 government is taking such a small step instead of a big leap in drug testing, then I find it absurd for all of these to go on. For all we know those arrested and found positive for dangerous drugs might have just taken it for the first time, accidentally or even at the inducement of third persons and not on their own free will.

Immediately they suffer the consequence of bringing in to their system dangerous drugs, however, I would just like to clarify that I do not support the use and abuse of dangerous drugs what I am just trying to get through is for the government to be engaged in a more ingrained and more credible policy that would really help the drug user and not trample on their right. There is no guarantee that this policy can eliminate drug abuse in the country, what it does is to take from a citizen rights which the Constitution provided to protect him.

In my personal analysis, the policy that the government adopted is weak and baseless. If the government is determined to fight criminality, then it should create laws that would promote the rights of the citizens and not infringe on their legal rights. It is unthinkable how this policy still continues despite the lack of credible studies to back it up and a strong support from the courts. The article of Henry and Clark showed that only 24 out of the 94 federal districts supported the policy and allowed it to be implemented.

This reaction poses a great doubt on the strength of the mandate. If the policy has a good legal ground and the judges are persuaded with the positive effects that it may bring in the judicial system then, the number of federal districts supporting the policy would have been higher. The figure reveal that not even half of the federal districts swayed with the policy. Pre-Trial Drug Testing 6

References Henry, A. and Clark, J. (1999). Pre-Trial Drug Testing: An Overview of Practices and Issues. Bureau of Justice Assistance Bulletin. Retrieved April 1, 2008 from www. ncjrs. gov/pdffiles1/176341. pdf. National Institute for Justice. (1996). Predicting Pretrial Misconduct with Drug Tests of Arrestees. (January 1996). Retrieved April 1, 2008 from http://www. ncjrs. org/txtfiles/pretrmis. txt Associated Content the People's Media Company. (2005). Should defendants be forced to take a drug test?. November 20, 2005. Retrieved April 1, 2008 from http://209. 85. 175. 104/searchq=cache:dnoxcntWjQ8J:www.

associatedcontent. com/article/14238/should_defendants_be_forced_to_take. html+forced+drug+testing+for+defendants&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ph Anai Rhoads. (2005). Should defendants be forced to take a drug test?. March 17, 2005. Retrieved April 1, 2008 from http://209. 85. 175. 104/search? q=cache:Fznsa7FChLsJ:www. anairhoads. org/calderon/drugtest. shtml+pre-trial+drug HYPERLINK "http://209. 85. 175. 104/search? q=cache:Fznsa7FChLsJ:www. anairhoads. org/calderon/drugtest. shtml+pre-trial+drug+testing&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=ph"