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The details of decriminalization: Designing a non-criminal response to the possession of drugs for personal use

Greer, Alissa, Bonn, Matt, Shane, Caitlin, Stevens, Alex, Tousenard, Natasha, Ritter, Alison (2022) The details of decriminalization: Designing a non-criminal response to the possession of drugs for personal use. International Journal of Drug Policy, 102 . Article Number 103605. ISSN 0955-3959. (doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103605) (KAR id:93502)

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Internationally, policymakers are considering alternative, non-criminal responses to the possession of drugs for personal use, or ‘simple possession’. We show that ‘decriminalization’ is not a simple, unified model; rather, there are meaningful differences in policies and options available as part of a non-criminal response. Responses include various decriminalization, diversion, and depenalization approaches. However, what details need to be considered in developing these approaches? In this paper, we eschew these labels and present an overview of key design features of non-criminal responses to simple possession and consider some of the equity considerations of the choices available, including reform architecture (the objectives and legal framework); eligibility criteria (population-, place-, and drug-based criteria); and actions taken (deterrence, therapeutic, and enforcement strategies). This paper does not evaluate individual features or models, but instead offers a practical framework that can be used to deliberate on potential reform decisions.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103605
Uncontrolled keywords: Decriminalization, Depenalization, Diversion, Drug possession, Drug policy, Policy reform, Legal framework
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Alex Stevens
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2022 07:35 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2022 12:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Stevens, Alex:
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