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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Drug courts and the treatment of addiction: Therapeutic jurisprudence and neoliberal governance
by Brook, Kerwin Kaye, Ph.D., New York University, 2010, 591; 3428034
Abstract (Summary)

Over the past twenty years, drug treatment courts have become an increasingly common feature within the criminal justice system. In sending criminal defendants to treatment programs rather than to prison, these courts promise to meet the needs of defendants while reducing recidivism rates and costs. In this dissertation, I detail the models of addiction that are utilized by drug courts and their affiliated treatment programs, highlighting the mixed consequences that state-supervised treatment brings to participants. While drug courts involve the re-establishment of a limited package of welfarist services within the criminal justice system (following their contraction within the broader society), they also entail much greater control by the criminal justice system over the everyday lives of participants. A key focus within this project concerns the way in which an informally-named "drugs lifestyle" that is the central focus of treatment incorporates many of the features previously coded as a "culture of poverty.” Using both ethnographic and historical methodologies, I argue that treatment revolves less around drug use per se and more around an effort to use “therapeutic” forms of discipline to foster a new work-oriented habitus and to re-code gender in such a way as to move participants from a life focused upon street-based peer interactions to one rooted in work and family life. While supporters of drug courts often claim that they represent an alternative to the “war on drugs,” I argue that they instead represent an alternative means of waging that war, offering the post-industrial state more efficient means of targeting its resources as it works to control a largely non-white “surplus population” suffering from the loss of globalized jobs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Duggan, Lisa
Commitee: Clough, Patricia, Davila, Arlene, Martin, Emily, Ross, Andrew
School: New York University
Department: Social and Cultural Analysis
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Forensic anthropology, Mental health, Law, Criminology
Keywords: Addiction, Culture of poverty, Drug court, Governmentality, Neoliberal, Therapeutic community, Therapeutic jurisprudence
Publication Number: 3428034
ISBN: 978-1-124-33274-1
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