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Local Implementation of Drug Policy and Access to Treatment Services for Juveniles

Terry-McElrath Y and McBride D. Crime and Delinquency, 50(1): 60-87, 2004.

Although there is a vigorous national debate regarding effective drug policy, such policies are implemented at the local level. Using a national sample of prosecutors, we examine reported typical processing for first-time juvenile marijuana, cocaine, or crack possession/sales offenders. The relationship between drug offense charge and adjudication outcomes providing treatment versus a deterrence/punitive approach is explored.

Findings indicate that marijuana offenses and possession offenses generally are more likely to result in access to treatment services for juveniles whereas cocaine/crack offenses and sales offenses generally are more likely to result in the application of punitive penalties such as transfer to criminal court.

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