No Entry: Stop the Revolving Door of Drugs & Crime
The Center for Health and Justice at TASC (CHJ) promotes a public policy strategy of No Entry, designed to reverse the flow of drug-involved individuals going into and through the criminal justice system. No Entry involves structured, clinical interventions at every phase of justice involvement to address offender drug use and related criminal behavior, promoting public safety and ensuring fiscal responsibility.
In furtherance of this aim, CHJ has published a national survey of more than 100 criminal justice diversion programs and initiatives, focusing on their strategies and lessons learned for reducing recidivism, improving health interventions, and achieving public cost savings. See No Entry: A National Survey of Criminal Justice Diversion Programs and Initiatives.
The core principles of No Entry are:
- Public policies must recognize addiction as a brain disease. They must reflect a scientific understanding of the physiological and psychological nature of addiction as well as an understanding of the value of treatment and recovery support mechanisms.
- Public policies must acknowledge the link between drug use and criminal behavior. To stop the cycle of drug use and crime, the underlying drug use must be addressed.
- Public policies must reverse the devastating impact of current laws, strategies, and practices that disproportionately harm minority communities. They must consider the implications of policies that perpetuate disparities, and work to reverse the undue impact to certain communities and groups of people.
- Public policies must bring sentencing statutes in line with an equitable dispensation of justice. They must promote rather than discourage involvement in treatment alternatives, and they must abandon arbitrary penalty classifications that result in unnecessarily harsh sentences which debilitate families and communities throughout Illinois.
- Public policies must provide taxpayers with a return on their investment in public safety and public health. They must result not only in greater levels of public safety, but must also represent the wise use of taxpayer dollars.
- Public policies must recognize voter support for treatment alternatives to incarceration. They must acknowledge that “smart on crime” indeed is also “tough on crime” and that the public sees the social and fiscal value of treatment as an alternative to incarceration.
Using a No Entry strategy, every stage of the criminal justice system—from charge to sentencing to supervision—is an opportunity to create structured interventions to address the challenges of drug-involved offenders. This approach recognizes that appropriate clinical intervention, coupled with community supervision and sanctions, yields long-term improvements in personal and family health and stability, public safety, and fiscal accountability.