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  1. Drug law reform in Ecuador

    • Sandra Edwards, Coletta Youngers
    09 May 2010
    Policy briefing

    Across the hemisphere, frustration is grow- ing with the failure of the “war on drugs.” Many Latin American countries face rising rates of drug consumption, despite harsh drug laws that have left prisons bursting at the seams.

  2. human-rights-day

    Drugs, crime and punishment

    • Gloria Lai
    20 June 2012
    Policy briefing

    Proportionality is one of the key principles of the rule of law aiming to protect people from cruel or inhumane treatment. The principle has been established in interna­tional and regional human rights agree­ments and many countries have adopted reflections of it in their constitution or penal code. Its applica­tion to drug-related offences is firstly the responsibility of the legislators, in defining the level of penalisa­tion of certain behaviours.

  3. Drug Policy Reform in Practice

    • Martin Jelsma, Tom Blickman
    25 August 2009
    Paper

    The academic journal Nueva Sociedad recently released an issue to promote the debate in Latin America on drug policy reform. TNI contributed with the paper "Drug policy reform in practice: Experiences with alternatives in Europe and the US".

  4. Trends in Drug Law Reform in Europe and Latin America

    • Martin Jelsma
    26 January 2010

    This presentation gives a short overview of legislative reforms in Europe and Latin America that provide lessons learned in practice about less punitive approaches intended to reduce drug-related harm to the individual and society.  Evidence suggests that fears that softening drug laws and their enforcement would lead to sharp increases in drug use, have proven untrue.

     

  5. Sentencing for Drug Offences in England and Wales

    • Genevieve Harris
    09 June 2010

    Sentencing for drug offences in England and Wales has recently undergone a wide-sweeping review and public consultation. The purpose of this report is to examine and evaluate this mechanism for law reform, without the need for legislative reform, and to consider the specific discussion around sentencing for drug offences which it has led to.

     

  6. Drug offences: sentencing and other outcomes

    01 November 2009

    The sentences that offenders receive for drug law violations across the European Union are examined for the first time in this ‘Selected issue’. By analysing the most recent year’s statistics, this report attempts to answer the question: What is the most likely outcome for an offender after being stopped by police for a drug law offence of use or personal possession, or supply or trafficking? 

     

  7. Sentencing for Drug Offences

    01 March 2010

    In determining the seriousness of a drug offence the courts should focus on the quantity of the drug involved (or the scale of the operation) and the role of the offender; the Panel advises a starting point of 12 years custody for the most serious cases. Offences will be aggravated where offenders used a young person as a courier, supplied or offered to supply close to schools, targeted premises used by vulnerable people or supplied to prisoners.

     

  8. Towards Effective Sentencing

    22 July 2008

    The purpose of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 in the United Kingdom was to provide overall structure and clarity to sentencing in England and Wales by reserving prison for the most dangerous offenders, while moving lower level offenders away from short prison sentences into robust and rehabilitative community punishments.

     

  9. Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug Offences

    01 April 2006

    The use of illegal drugs is often associated with a wide range of health, social and community problems, substantial drug-related crime, and stigma and marginalization of people who use drugs. In response, policy-makers have relied heavily on law enforcement, despite evidence that certain law enforcement practices actually worsen the impact of drug use on individuals and communities, and sometimes lead to human rights violations.

     

  10. A Matter of Substance

    • Ernestien Jensema
    26 July 2010

    This paper discusses the “substance-oriented approach” Dutch authorities implemented to to scare off potential small-scale cocaine smugglers. The focus was on the drugs, rather than the couriers, and on incapacitating the smuggling route, rather than deterrence by incarceration.

     

  11. Drug Law Reform: Lessons from the New Zealand Experience

    • Sanji Gunasekara
    19 August 2010

    In 2007, the Government of New Zealand entrusted an independent agency, the National Law Commission, to review the country’s drug law. The Commission will  present a final report which is likely to feature a new approach to personal pos­session and use of drugs placing less emphasis on conviction and punish­ment and more on the delivery of effective treat­­ment. New Zealand’s approach to drug law reform may provide les­sons for other countries.

     

  12. Tráfico de drogas e Constituição

    • Luciana Boiteux, Ela Volkmer de Castilho Wiecko
    01 March 2009

     

    This study commissioned by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice underlines the disparity that exists between the depenalization of drug use and the increased penalization of selling drugs that resulted from the 2006 Law on Drugs. Although the fact that the use of drugs is no longer a crime is certainly progress, it seems disproportionate to establish maximum prison sentences of 5 years for the sale of very minor quantities of drugs. The study was a joint project of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ, and the University of Brasília UnB that ran from March 2008 and July 2009, supported by the United Nations Development Program, UNDP.

     

  13. The current state of drug policy debate

    • Martin Jelsma
    30 April 2008

    Martin Jelsma, from the Transnational Institute, prepared an analysis for the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, explaining the drug policy situation in the European Union and the current state of debate in the United Nations agenda. The commission is an initiative born of former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso, from Brazil, César Gaviria, from Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo, from Mexico, to respond to concerns related to the problems of drug consumption and traffic in Latin America. The idea to constitute a commission capable of consolidating a debate concerning this problematic also responds to the necessity of reviewing the world drug policies in the scope of the United Nations, which began in March 2008.

  14. IDPC Drug Policy Guide

    01 March 2010

    This is the second edition of the IDPC Drug Policy Guide aimed at national government policy makers. This publication is a collaborative effort by a number of members of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and partners, and brings together global evidence and best practices on the design and implementation of drug policies and programmes at national level.

     

  15. Right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

    • Anand Grover, UN Special Rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories
    06 August 2010

    The current international system of drug control has focused on creating a drug-free world, almost exclusively through use of law enforcement policies and criminal sanctions. Mounting evidence, however, suggests this approach has failed, primarily because it does not acknowledge the realities of drug use and dependence. While drugs may have a pernicious effect on individual lives and society, this excessively punitive regime has not achieved its stated public health goals, and has resulted in countless human rights violations.

     

  16. Thumbnail

    The New York State Adult Drug Court Evaluation

    • Michael Rempel et. al.
    01 October 2003

    ny-drug-courtsBy combining drug treatment with ongoing judicial supervision, drug courts seek to break the cycle of addiction, crime, and repeat incarceration. While practice varies widely from state to state (and county to county), the outlines of the drug court model are clear: addicted offenders are linked to treatment; their progress is monitored by a drug court team composed of the judge, attorneys, and program staff; participants engage in direct interaction with the judge, who responds to progress and setbacks with a range of rewards and sanctions; and successful participants generally have the charges against them dismissed or reduced, while those who fail receive jail or prison sentences.

    application-pdfDownload the document (PDF)

  17. Drug Courts Are Not the Answer

    21 March 2011

    Drug Courts are Not the Answer finds that drug courts are an ineffective and inappropriate response to drug law violations. Many, all the way up to the Obama administration, consider the continued proliferation of drug courts to be a viable solution to the problem of mass arrests and incarceration of people who use drugs. Yet this report finds that drug courts do not reduce incarceration, do not improve public safety, and do not save money when compared to the wholly punitive model they seek to replace. The report calls for reducing the role of the criminal justice system in responding to drug use by expanding demonstrated health approaches, including harm reduction and drug treatment, and by working toward the removal of criminal penalties for drug use.

     

  18. Addicted to Courts

    • Nastassia Walsh
    22 March 2011

    America’s growing reliance on drug courts is an ineffective allocation of scarce state resources. Drug courts can needlessly widen the net of criminal justice involvement, and cannot replace the need for improved treatment services in the community. Of the nearly 8 million people in the U.S. reporting needing treatment for drug use, less than one fourth of people classified with substance abuse or a dependence on drugs and/or alcohol receives treatment, and for those who do receive treatment, over 37 percent are referred by the criminal justice system.

     

  19. Alternatives to Imprisonment

    • Karen Gelb
    01 April 2011

    The Sentencing Advisory Council has released a report on community attitudes towards the use of alternatives to imprisonment in Victoria. The report is based on the Victorian component of a national survey of public attitudes to sentencing, supported by the Australian Research Council. Survey participants were asked about the use of alternatives to imprisonment as a way of addressing the increasing number of people in prison and as a way of dealing with certain types of offenders. The prison alternatives suggested to participants included supervision, counselling, treatment and community work.

     

     

  20. The Obama Administration’s drug control policy on auto-pilot

    • Coletta Youngers
    29 April 2011
    Policy briefing

    In a widely watched You Tube video, U.S. President Barack Obama is asked whether or not the drug war may in fact be counterproductive. Instead of the resounding NO that would have come from any of his recent predecessors, Obama responded: “I think this is an entirely legitimate topic for debate.” He then qualified his remarks by adding, “I am not in favor of legalization.” Nonetheless, even acknowledging the legitimacy of debate on U.S. drug policy is a significant shift from the past, when successive administrations stifled discussion and routinely labeled anyone promoting alternative approaches to the socalled U.S. “war on drugs” as dangerous and surreptitiously promoting massive drug use and poisoning America’s youth.

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