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Title: Theory into practice : case studies of the pilot Scottish drug courts
Author: Clapton, Kerrin
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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Drug courts, originating in the United States in the late 1980s, are a policy initiative focussed on attempting to treat the drug use of prolific offenders. Two pilot drug courts were introduced into Scotland during the first term of the newly established Scottish parliament. The research that forms the basis of my thesis comprises case studies of these drug courts. These case studies consist of a combination of observations of the drug courts in operation, interviews with the actors involved in them, and an analysis of documents both used by drug court staff and produced to present the drug courts to external audiences. Crucial to my interpretation of the data emerging from this research has been an analysis I undertook of relevant trends in policy in Scotland immediately before and after the introduction of the drug courts. Despite their transatlantic origin, the understanding of the Scottish drug courts that emerges through my findings is of programmes deeply bound up in their specific cultural and policy context. An important aspect of this is the way in which the drug court staff shapes their practice in relation to their understanding of this context. Driven by a focus on tackling criminogenic drug use in order to address re-offending, the drug courts witness considerable changes to the practices of the professionals working within them, changes that challenge their professional ethics and values. Findings lend support to those who have argued for the importance of understanding crime control in relation to its local context, and to those who have questioned the notion of the Americanisation of British crime control policy. Further, the particular way in which offenders are conceptualised and responded to within these programmes, runs counter to some of the central assumptions shared by the broader accounts of our penal present.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available