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Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act - Its Impact on Federal Prisons

NCJ Number
Contemporary Drug Problems Volume: 11 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1982) Pages: 101-111
S B Friedman; G L Horvat; R B Levinson
Date Published
11 pages
This article examines the development of the first specialized treatment-oriented units within Federal prisons.
The Narcotic Addict Rehabilitation Act (NARA), passed in 1966, provided that addicts charged with violating Federal laws could opt for treatment under the care of the surgeon general, with charges being held in abeyance, to be dropped if improvement was shown within 3 years. Initial NARA units, run by public health service psychiatrists, represented implementation of the medical model of correctional philosophy, were successful with between one-half and two-thirds of their patients, spurred research on prerelease programing and aftercare supervision, and constituted the earliest example of unit management within the Bureau of Prisons. As specialized units modeled after early NARA programs proliferated in institutions of the Federal Prison System, the use of NARA by the courts decreased sharply, the NARA unit per se ceased to exist in 1978. Among the criticisms of NARA are that offenders opt for the program simply in hopes of a shorter period of incarceration and that the program permits too much manipulation, directing offenders into treatment in which they may have no interest other than as a means to early release. Nevertheless, NARA did lead to opportunities for inmates to experience a resocialization process in drug, alcohol, or chemical abuse treatment-oriented units. A total of 12 notes are provided.