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Probation is the act of releasing a convicted offender into the society, under the supervision of probation officer. In most cases, probation programs are designed to protect the community, carry out sanctions imposed by the court, change the behavioral character of the offender support criminal victims, and it is essential for the offenders whose criminal activity does not meet incarcerations. On the other hand, diversion may occur at any criminal justice stages after observation of crime by police enforcers in which the police, prosecutor or judge may in turn call for diversion. For this reason, law enforcement officers play a vital role in determining probation and diversion sentences among the mentally ill, veterans and drug addicted individuals. Usually, Police officers are frequently dispatched to scenes where an individual is experiencing a psychiatric emergency. However, their burden has been increased in recent years due to sharp cuts to probation and diversion budgets that lead to more individuals not having necessary emergency services on time. This paper will discuss how law enforcement officers are dealing with probation and diversion issues such as mental illness, veterans and drug-addicted individuals within our society.
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Policing issues: Probation and Diversion
In recent years, the law enforcement officers have often been the first responders to people with mental illness, veterans, and the drug-addict who are in crisis. The department of police in many communities has developed specialized approaches that respond to people in such crisis. The most notable approach includes Crisis Intervention Team program in which law enforcement officers are taught crisis de-escalation skills and other techniques for calming individuals in potentially volatile situations. the communities which have adopted and empress CIT programs usually have mental health centers and sites which serve as a dropping facility for the people in such crisis in lieu of arresting as well as incarcerating them. Law enforcement officers keep track record in CIT programs for the purpose of success, reduction of arrests, deaths, and injuries to both law enforcement executive and the individuals to whom they are responding (Ellis, 2014). CIT-trained officers usually report the feelings of the respond individuals as part of their daily job. Today, CIT programs are available in many parts of the world to help a drug addict, mentally ill and veterans to rejuvenate from their individual crisis. However, the use of CIT programs isn’t enough as there is a growing concern over the recognition of a wide collaborated community that responds to the increasing number of veterans, drug addicts, and mental illness.
One of the most prominent aspects of law enforcement officers is the expansion of sequential interception model and programs which help the communities to consider the interaction between the people living with mental illness, veterans and drug addicts. This model uses appropriate techniques in problem-solving and strategic approaches to reducing recidivism among individuals under such crisis. These can be achieved through the engagement, funding, and support from the government agencies. Drug addiction is a lifetime problem that can lead to mental illness, and the law enforcement officers deal with drug addict and behavioral health issues individuals that can cause danger to themselves or criminal behavior in society. According to Lazar, S. (2014), veterans were once deployed to war tone areas and subsequently developed mental health problems. In the community, there are several points of potential inception, including, law enforcement, court, reentry, post-arrest and community corrections that address the issues of probation and diversion.
The presence of mental health courts, veterans courts , drug addiction courts as well as other problem-solving courts serves as the key components of sequential and collaborative approaches to addressing the needs of individuals living with mental illness who come into contact with criminal justice system. Mental health courts were established in order to address the growing awareness that many non-violent offenders experiencing mental illness crisis were cycling in and out of the correctional facilities without ever getting the desired treatment they needed to break the cycle of recidivism. just like drug addiction court and veteran court models, mental health courts was established with the mission goal of diverting individuals from incarceration into treatment with coordination and supervision to ensure that they fully rejuvenate (Day, 2010). Mental, veterans and drug courts differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction on how they operate, who they serve and what the model follows. However, there are certain characteristics common among these courts. First, the courts have therapeutic functions, and therefore, they represent an alternative approach to justice, secondly, law enforcement officers are generally involved in day to day operation of these courts by providing an ongoing supervision and monitoring of individuals experiencing such crisis, and finally, specific law enforcement officers are assigned to these individuals to ensure that they fully recover and break the cycle of recidivism (LIN, GRATTET, & PETERSILIA, 2010).
Role of Community-Based Policing
Community oriented policing is both a philosophy and organizational strategies that help the law enforcement and the community to work together with the sole purpose of solving problems of criminal activities, disorders and safety issues in order to improve the life of everyone within the community. They are tasked with the responsibilities of breaking recidivism among the veterans, drug addicts, and mentally ill individuals. Studies suggest that the involvement of communities in planning, implementation, and monitoring of the locally defined solutions to policing issues ensures that community safety and security improves considerably. These can be attained by promoting a close relationship between the community groups, civilians, and law enforcement officers, in this case, the police who in turn determine the survivor’s report and ensure that they receive adequate treatments to prevent future incidents of criminal activities. The use of community policing techniques helps to increase trust and ensure that the effectiveness of police in the treatment of drug addicts, veterans and mentally ill individuals (Shepherd, 2012).
The community policing is based on the desires that no one organization can solve the issue of veterans, drug addiction and mental illness problems without the partnership and collaboration of other problem-solving agencies such as police, the community, private businesses, local media and nongovernmental organization. Community-based policing requires the department of the police to organize their management, structure personals and information systems in a manner that promote the partnership with other governmental agencies and the community members in a way that is proactively focused on problem-solving and ensure the safety of the survivors and avoid recidivism.
Role of Law Enforcement
As detailed in our current paper, there are several roles that the law enforcement officers and the government agencies play in order to help the society on jail diversion and probation as well as better treatment for the people with mental illness, veterans, and drug addict. Police officers serve as mentors, they are directly involved in the community partnership and planning efforts on the jail diversion and reentry. Usually, no community should undertake the complex role of planning and operational zing comprehensive strategies on the jail diversion and community reentry without the involvement of the law enforcement officers. Furthermore, the police executive widely plays a role in ensuring a comprehensive coalition is attained in order to improve the services of the people experiencing mental illness, drug abuse disorders and veterans (Buchanan, 2001). The police officers assume the leadership role of partnering with probation and diversion officers and other partners in advocating the adequate funding and implementation of important policy issues that impact the services and support of the individuals living with mental illness and drug disorders.
Efforts such as mental health, veterans, and drug courts initiatives have proven helpful to the individuals experiencing such issues who become involved in the justice system. The main objectives and goals of these programs are to divert individuals under these categories from the traditional legal system and make sure that they get the most needed treatment and support before their reentry to the community. Police executives play a crucial role in the compressive organization of the partnership of community and other government agencies to ensure that veterans, drug addicts, and the mentally ill individuals get more effective, accessible and committed treatments that demonstrate the reduction of recidivism.
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- Buchanan, J. (2001). Police Enforcement and Drug Markets. Probation Journal, 48(1), 47-48. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/026455050104800109
- Day, M. (2010). Violent crime among mentally ill people is due more to substance misuse than inherent factors, study shows. BMJ, 341(sep07 2), c4909-c4909. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c4909
- Ellis, H. (2014). Effects of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training Program Upon Police Officers Before and After Crisis Intervention Team Training. Archives Of Psychiatric Nursing, 28(1), 10-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apnu.2013.10.003
- Lazar, S. (2014). The Mental Health Needs of Military Service Members and Veterans. Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 42(3), 459-478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1521/pdps.2014.42.3.459
- LIN, J., GRATTET, R., & PETERSILIA, J. (2010). “BACK-END SENTENCING” AND REIMPRISONMENT: INDIVIDUAL, ORGANIZATIONAL, AND COMMUNITY PREDICTORS OF PAROLE SANCTIONING DECISIONS*. Criminology, 48(3), 759-795. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2010.00201.x
- Shepherd, B. (2012). Reoffending and diversion from custody for women offenders. Probation Journal, 59(2), 167-169. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/026455051205900201