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Defining Addiction: Drug Courts, Class, and the Biopolitics of Habitus

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Abstract:

This paper describes the operating mechanisms utilized in day-to-day practice by an east coast, urban drug court and one of its affiliated treatment programs. I offer an analysis as to how “addiction” is defined by various involved parties, as well as a discussion as to how defendants/clients perceive and relate to the treatment process. Due to inequitable policing, 98% of the court’s defendants are African-American or Latino, and almost all are members of the working-class, marginally employed, or unemployed. Screening procedures utilized by the court send those with more secure housing and employment to out-patient facilities, while those in less stable situations are sent to residential facilities. Client aspirations to resolve issues concerning drugs are almost uniformly bound up with a desire for upward mobility. These desires are partly met by the court's aim to turn defendants into what it terms "NORPs": Normal, Ordinary, Responsible Persons. Counselors emphasize that the court requires more than the cessation of drug use, and many of the therapeutic techniques seem targeted toward enabling employment within the lower strata of the working class (being on time for all appointments, following all rules, and receiving abuse without response are all required elements for program success). Approximately half of the clients “bought into” the treatment plan, while the other half evidenced an extremely skeptical or hostile attitude. Clients frequently cited job training as the most beneficial aspect of treatment, and expressed a wide variety of opinions regarding the value of other therapeutic practices.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

drug (39), court (31), resid (28), peopl (21), treatment (20), staff (17), prison (17), one (16), within (12), would (12), use (11), system (10), punish (10), mani (9), room (9), new (9), program (9), anoth (9), number (9), time (9), upon (9),
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Name: The Law and Society Association
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MLA Citation:

Kaye, Kerwin. "Defining Addiction: Drug Courts, Class, and the Biopolitics of Habitus" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Law and Society Association, Grand Hyatt, Denver, Colorado, May 25, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-29 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p302724_index.html>

APA Citation:

Kaye, K. , 2009-05-25 "Defining Addiction: Drug Courts, Class, and the Biopolitics of Habitus" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Law and Society Association, Grand Hyatt, Denver, Colorado Online <PDF>. 2014-11-29 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p302724_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper describes the operating mechanisms utilized in day-to-day practice by an east coast, urban drug court and one of its affiliated treatment programs. I offer an analysis as to how “addiction” is defined by various involved parties, as well as a discussion as to how defendants/clients perceive and relate to the treatment process. Due to inequitable policing, 98% of the court’s defendants are African-American or Latino, and almost all are members of the working-class, marginally employed, or unemployed. Screening procedures utilized by the court send those with more secure housing and employment to out-patient facilities, while those in less stable situations are sent to residential facilities. Client aspirations to resolve issues concerning drugs are almost uniformly bound up with a desire for upward mobility. These desires are partly met by the court's aim to turn defendants into what it terms "NORPs": Normal, Ordinary, Responsible Persons. Counselors emphasize that the court requires more than the cessation of drug use, and many of the therapeutic techniques seem targeted toward enabling employment within the lower strata of the working class (being on time for all appointments, following all rules, and receiving abuse without response are all required elements for program success). Approximately half of the clients “bought into” the treatment plan, while the other half evidenced an extremely skeptical or hostile attitude. Clients frequently cited job training as the most beneficial aspect of treatment, and expressed a wide variety of opinions regarding the value of other therapeutic practices.


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