HomeNewsBriefArgentina to Expand Drug Treatment Program for Minor Crimes Nationwide
BRIEF

Argentina to Expand Drug Treatment Program for Minor Crimes Nationwide

ARGENTINA / 29 MAY 2017 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Argentina's national government is scaling up a pilot project that provides treatment instead of incarceration for drug addicts accused of minor crimes, an initiative that could contribute to lower rates of recidivism and prison overcrowding. 

Argentina's Ministry of Justice and Human Rights is preparing to implement nationwide what are known as Drug Treatment Tribunals (Tribunales de Tratamiento de Drogas - TTD), reported La Nación. The authorities hope this plan will reduce the rate of recidivism in Argentina, which is reportedly close to 50 percent. 

The move expands the TTD model, which was first implemented as a pilot program in the northwestern province of Salta in October 2013. Under the program, drug addicts accused of minor or non-violent crimes can request that their trial be suspended in order to undergo treatment. If the rehabilitation program is considered successful, the criminal activity is expunged from the suspect's record. 

Officials say the pilot programs in Salta have led to decreases in crime and recidivism rates.

TTD trainings, organized by the Ministry of Justice and the Secretariat for Integrative Drug Policies (Secretaría de Políticas Integrales sobre Drogas - SEDRONAR), are expected to take place during the coming weeks in several parts of the country, according to La Nación.

InSight Crime Analysis

The expansion of the TTD program could have a significant impact on how justice is administered in Argentina. According to data from the Argentine non-governmental organization Intercambios, drug convictions rose by over 100 percent between 2002 and 2013, and are now the third most common offense among prisoners after theft and homicide. The increase is especially notable in the province of Buenos Aires, where the number of drug offenders serving prison time rose from eight in 2002 to 2,432 in 2013. 

Drug tribunals could also reduce overcrowding in Argentina's prisons. With an occupancy rate of 103 percent, the country's jails are operating at slightly above maximum capacity. This figure is actually much lower than the overcrowding rates in many other Latin American countries, where prison populations routinely far exceed the official limit. But as with drug offenses, the problem in Argentina is especially acute in Buenos Aires; the province's prisons have just 28,000 beds for over 35,000 inmates

SEE ALSO: InDepth Coverage of Prisons

While the prospect of more drug tribunals may appear promising, implementation could prove difficult. Some officials say the general population is likely to be resistant to these types of legal changes. 

"The great political difficulty is how we translate this technical design to reality, to communicate [with] the citizenry, who it would appear is asking for something else," said Santiago Otamendi, a high-ranking judicial official, during a recent seminar on TTDs. "It is difficult to talk about alternatives to incarceration at the moment."

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

AYOTZINAPA / 6 MAY 2016

Tom Wainwright's recent book Narconomics seeks to serve as an arsenal of new ideas, even a register of best practices,…

ARGENTINA / 27 NOV 2019

Authorities in Argentina are prosecuting 48 customs officials accused of leading an elaborate network that made millions forging records of…

ARGENTINA / 7 DEC 2020

Officials in Argentina have been discussing how DNA testing may be used to curb cattle rustling and rural crime in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.