News Release

APPA Supports Drug Testing of Juvenile Offenders
For Immediate Release: 03/08/1999

The vision of the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) is to see a fair, just and safe society where community partnerships are restoring hope by embracing a balance of prevention, intervention and advocacy. The drug testing of juvenile offenders supports this vision by holding youth accountable for their behavior, preventing further escalating of drug use and delinquent behavior by identifying youth who need substance abuse treatment. Graduated sanctions and incentives coupled with interventions can deter further drug abuse and will positively effect future criminal behavior.

Studies show that drug abuse is directly correlated to delinquent behavior including property, violent and drug-related crimes. In 1997, 40 to 63% of youth arrested for violent offenses tested positive for drugs according to the National Institute of Justice as reported in the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM) 1997 Annual Report on Adult and Juvenile Arrestees. Illicit drug use in and of itself, is a criminal act and needs to be monitored to preserve public safety.

Many offenders may be dissuaded from criminal activity if their drug abuse can be effectively monitored and controlled/treated while on probation or parole. It is incumbent upon juvenile probation and parole officers/juvenile service workers to identify and address substance abuse among the youth they serve.

In many cases the conditions of community release include counseling, treatment, and the use of drug testing to detect and deter continued drug use. Juvenile justice has a dual purpose of holding youth accountable for their delinquent behavior, while strongly emphasizing rehabilitation.

Once a drug user has been identified through reliable and valid drug testing, an appropriate intervention is provided. This could include counseling and/or treatment. It is necessary to respond to positive behavior as well. This emphasizes the important value of the offender’s compliance and his/her attempts to lead a pro-social lifestyle. APPA believes that the system must offer a continuum of services that includes the appropriate resources needed for rehabilitation.

By identifying those who need intervention, APPA is advocating for both the public and the offender. APPA is advocating for the public’s safety by attempting to decrease drug abuse among juvenile offenders that has a direct correlation to delinquent behavior, and also advocating for the offender whose drug abuse will have a negative effect on their lives. This is what APPA’s vision is all about. A fair, just and safe society for all.

APPA has been awarded funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to provide training and technical assistance for juvenile drug testing programs. Funding for this project comes from the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant program authorized by Congress.