2019/1/8: Evaluation and Comparison of Diversified Treatments for Drug Users: The First Report
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- Last updated：2020-02-11
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Objective 1: To examine the types of errors often seen in discussions of recidivism rates in Taiwan’s literature. To illustrate the biases and misinterpretations resulting from such errors, to propose an appropriate method for calculating recidivism rates. And to determine, using the proposed method, the actual recidivism rates of drug-using offenders and defendants receiving different kinds of sentencing, ruling or prosecutorial orders.
Method: Mathematical proof.
Results: In an era in which a principle of “leniency for first-time offenders and severe punishments for repeat offenders” has been adopted as a core concept of criminal policy, confusing prior conviction rates with recidivism rates is especially likely to lead to the overestimation of recidivism rates. Mismatching the offenses for numerator and denominator of the recidivism rates would cause discussion to be inaccurate or even to miss the mark altogether. On the other hand, incorrect calculations of follow-up periods can lead to the underestimation of recidivism rates.
Objective 2: To study the tendency of recidivism rates of drug-using inmates due to relapse within one year after different types of institutional treatments or corrections.
Method: Use recidivism statistics from the Ministry of Justice to perform regression analysis.
Results: Until 2008, recidivism rates of drug-using inmates due to relapse within one year after observation at a rehabilitation center, compulsory rehabilitation program at such center, or imprisonment, were on the rise. Since 2009, the recidivism rate of drug-using inmates due to relapse within one year after release from compulsory rehabilitation centers has decreased by a small margin. The recidivism rate of drug-using prisoners due to relapse within one year after release has continued to increase. However, this increase has slightly slowed. No significant change has occurred in recidivism rates among drug-using inmates after release from rehabilitation centers for observation.
Objective 3: To analyze the relationship between the changes in the numbers of people receiving drug replacement therapies and in the numbers of drug-using inmates relapsing within the first year after release from prison or rehabilitation center for observation or for compulsory treatment.
Method: Use recidivism statistics and correctional statistics from the Ministry of Justice and statistics on replacement treatments for drug users from the Ministry of Health and Welfare to perform regression analysis.
Results: There is a complex interplay between four factors, namely the number of released drug-using inmates, the number of them who were convicted or accused of using Category 1 narcotics, the number of drug users receiving replacement therapies, and the number of drug-using inmates relapsing within one year after release:
(1) The number of released drug-using inmates cannot exceed a certain threshold.
(2) The number of persons who were convicted or accused of using Category 1 narcotics must account for a considerable percentage of the total number of released drug-using inmates, but cannot exceed a certain threshold. When either of these two conditions is met, a negative correlation can be observed between the number of people receiving drug replacement therapies and the number of drug-using inmates relapsing within one year after release.
(3) When the number of people receiving drug replacement therapies meets a minimum threshold but does not exceed a maximum threshold, it can be observed that a negative correlation exists between the drug-using inmates relapsing within one year after release and the number of released drug-using inmates, as well as between the former and the number of released inmates who were convicted or accused of using Category 1 narcotics.
Conclusions: Further studies are needed to confirm the causal relationship between drug replacement therapies and reductions in recidivism of drug-using inmates due to relapse in order to clarify whether the above-mentioned conditions for negative correlations imply the bottleneck of effectiveness of drug replacement therapies. If they do, an increase in resources of drug replacement therapies is recommended in order to provide care for a greater number of newly released drug-using inmates, which may in turn reduce recidivism due to relapse and reduce the burden on judicial and correctional agencies. At the same time, localized assessment tools for evaluating types of treatment for drug users should be developed in order to improve the overall effectiveness of replacement therapies.
Keywords: Recidivism rates, prior conviction rates, recidivism trends, drug replacement therapy, effectiveness assessment
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