- Report Published -
|Impact of Public Inebriates on Community and Criminal Justice Services Systems|
|Department of Mental Health; Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services|
|HJR 174 (1992)|
| The Department of Mental Health, Mental retardation and Substance Abuse Services (IDMHMRSAS) and Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) established a work group (DETOXIFICATION TASK FORCE) in May of 1991 to study issues related to diversion of public inebriates into public inebriate centers and social detoxification programs. This task force was asked to broaden its study to include the tasks requested by HJR-174, 1992.|
House Joint Resolution 174 requested a "study of alternatives to repeated arrests of public inebriates," developed of a definition of "repeat offenders," alternatives that provide for conviction and incarceration of repeat offenders, and an investigation of cost-effective approaches to treatment for incarcerated and non-incarcerated public inebriates.
The Task Force identified several key areas for the study. They were: incidence of public intoxication; definition of "repeat offenders;" availability of services for public inebriates; impact of public inebriates on police, jails and the judicial system; and cost effective alternatives to incarceration for this population.
The Task Force conducted a review of literature, data, and historical documents. The members reviewed laws related to public intoxication in the Code of Virginia. The Task
Force also interviewed community officials throughout the Commonwealth to determine the impact of public inebriate arrests on various community systems. Alexandria, Roanoke and Richmond were selected as regional sites for these interviews.
The Task Force found that while arrests for public intoxication are declining, the cost of the chronic repetitive public inebriate on medical, business, treatment and criminal justice systems is considerable and is increasing. Present treatment systems are not equipped to reduce significantly the impact of this population, In addition the Task Force determined that social detoxification or public inebriate centers are cost effective alternatives in diverting the majority of public inebriates from the criminal justice system.
It is estimated that approximately $5.5 million was expended by various elements of the criminal justice system for public inebriates during 1991. However, this does not include local contributions for jail operations, nor does the estimate include health care and substance abuse treatment costs.