HomeNewsBriefArgentina Considering Drug Treatment as Alternative to Incarceration
BRIEF

Argentina Considering Drug Treatment as Alternative to Incarceration

ARGENTINA / 21 DEC 2016 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

Authorities in Argentina are considering a proposal to establish treatment for drug addiction as an alternative to incarceration for people accused of minor crimes, a model that has shown promise in other jurisdictions where it has been applied.

Officials from the justice and security ministries are working with Argentina's anti-drug agency, known by the Spanish acronym SEDRONAR, to draft a proposal for implementing special courts to handle criminal cases involving drug addicts, La Nación reported

The nationwide proposal is based on a pilot program that was established in 2014 in the northwestern province of Salta. The theory is that the special courts help reduce recidivism by addicts who commit crimes to sustain their addiction.

Addicts accused of minor crimes can request admission to drug treatment programs instead of incarceration. Defendants must meet certain requirements set by the judge in their case. If they fail to meet those requirements, their case may be returned to the normal justice system, and they could face jail time.

The program was developed as a response to the high rates of drug addiction among criminal defendants. A 2012 study found that 69.5 percent of the prison population had consumed illegal drugs, compared to about 10 percent of the general population, according to La Nación.

InSight Crime Analysis

Officials in Salta have claimed that the pilot program has shown success in reducing recidivism and addiction, but a systematic analysis of the program's efficacy was only begun in October of this year. Nevertheless, there are examples of similar programs in the United States that may shed light on some of the pros and cons of addiction treatment as an alternative to incarceration.

Proponents of so-called "drug courts" in the United States argue that these programs save money by diverting defendants into drug treatment and keeping them out of prison. They also argue that drug courts reduce recidivism and addiction by mandating treatment and incentivizing compliance with the threat of jail time if requirements are not met.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Drug Policy

Critics, on the other hand, argue that drug courts have been at best minimally effective at reducing recidivism and addiction, and that in many cases they do not save money. They point out that many defendants with serious addiction problems fail to meet the programs' requirements and end up incarcerated rather than continuing to receive necessary treatment.

Both arguments have their merits, but a long-term, government-sponsored study found that US drug courts do indeed save money and reduce recidivism rates. If Argentina moves ahead with this proposal, it will be important for authorities to carry out similar studies and refine the programs based on the results of those analyses.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 2 MAY 2017

Microtrafficking is on the rise in Argentina, according to a new report. New trends are impacting the trafficking landscape, but…

DRUG POLICY / 23 OCT 2014

A report from Guatemala's National Commission for Drug Policy Reform falls short of making recommendations that would propel the country…

ARGENTINA / 11 JUN 2013

A group of Paraguayan women, who ran a drug trafficking ring in Buenos Aires' largest slum, trafficked drugs from Bolivia…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…