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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Report Document No. 6
    View PDF Version*

    Document Title
    Report on the Status and Effectiveness of Offender Drug Screening, Assessment and Treatment - 2011

    Secretary of Public Safety

    Enabling Authority

    Executive Summary
    In 1998, Virginia’s General Assembly passed House Bill 664 and Senate Bill 317 (HB664/SB317) enacting the Drug Offender Screening, Assessment, and Treatment (DSAT) Initiative. The DSAT legislation, subsequently amended in 1999, outlined specific substance abuse screening and assessment provisions that became effective for offenses committed on or after January 1, 2000. These provisions, contained in 16.1-273, 18.2-251.01, 19.2-299, 19.2-299.2 and 19.2-123(B), of the Code of Virginia,* target three offender groups: juveniles, adult felons, and adult misdemeanants. Because several different types of offenders are subject to the Code mandates, the Initiative affects staff and clients of numerous agencies, including the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the Department of Corrections (DOC), local community-based probation and pretrial services agencies administered by the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the Commission on Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP), and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS).

    The Interagency Drug Offender Screening and Assessment Committee (the Committee) was created by 2.2-223 (formerly 2.1-51.18:3) to oversee the screening and assessment provisions contained in the Code of Virginia. The Committee, with representation from all affected agencies and the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, is charged with ensuring the quality and consistency of the screening and assessment process across the Commonwealth.

    Significant budget and staff reductions have affected each of the principal agencies. In response to cuts in funding since 2001, particularly the elimination of Substance Abuse Reduction Effort (SABRE) funds, agencies involved in screening and assessment activities have re-examined protocols and developed alternative strategies to maximize the use of remaining resources. Despite the elimination of a substantial number of staff positions formerly devoted to this task, agencies have continued their efforts to address offenders’ substance abuse needs by streamlining the process utilizing other screening instruments and otherwise attempting to make this task manageable for the fewer number of staff involved. The number and type of services available have decreased significantly.

    The lack of resources has also greatly limited the ability to coordinate services across agencies. Thus, the Committee, or workgroup have evaluated the effectiveness of offender screening, assessment, and treatment independently and within in their own agency. It is recommended that due to budget cuts, legislation surrounding the DSAT Initiative ( 16.1-273, 18.2-251.01, 19.2-123(B), 19.2-299, and 19.2-299.2 of the Code of Virginia) should be eliminated from the Code of Virginia.

    * NOTE: 18.2-251, 252 and 254 were also amended to support screening and assessment in drug offense cases or where substance abuse was indicated.