- Report Published -
|Impact of Public Inebriates on Community and Criminal Justice Services Systems|
|Department of Mental Health; Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services|
|HJR 583 (Regular Session, 1993)|
|The Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services (DMHMRSAS) 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, in 1992 and to continue the study in 1993.|
House Joint Resolution 583, which continued the study of the public inebriate problem, requested a "study of alternatives to repeated arrests of public inebriates", development 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.
In its report to the 1993 General Assembly (The Impact of Public Inebriates on Community and Criminal Justice Services Systems - House Document # 20) the task force found that 'while arrests for public intoxication were declining, the cost of the chronic public inebriate on medical, business, treatment and criminal justice systems was considerable and increasing. Present treatment systems were not equipped to significantly reduce the impact of chronic public inebriation. The task force also determined that social detoxification or public inebriate centers are cost effective alternatives in diverting the majority of public inebriates from the criminal justice system.
The task force developed six recommendations. Four of the recommendations propose changes to the Code of Virginia to provide a consistent definition of the chronic public inebriate. They also suggest changes in sentencing procedures to provide for extended incarcerations or referrals to treatment programs.
Recommendation #5 requests the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services to study civil commitment of individuals with primary substance abuse problems to state mental health facilities and make recommendations for alternative community programs.
Recommendation #6 requests the development and expansion of Public Inebriate and Social Detoxification facilities in the five localities or areas with the highest incidence of arrests for public intoxication. Costs for this expansion are $1,750,000.