Source: (2002) Paper presented at the 121st International Training Course. Resource Material Series No. 61, pp. 143-165. Tokyo: United Nations Asia and Far East Institute For the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. Downloaded 3 December 2004.

In Australia, the National Drug Strategic Framework serves as a shared vision and a basis for cooperation and coordinated action to reduce the harm caused by drugs. At the time of writing this paper, Stephan Vaughan was Executive Liaison Officer in the National Drug Strategy Unit, established by the Framework. As such, Vaughan here presents Australia’s policies and programs to address problems arising from drug and alcohol offenses. Harm minimization is the key principle underlying Australia’s National Drug Strategy, writes Vaughan. Harm minimization encompasses a wide range of integrated approaches, and it aims to improve health, social, and economic outcomes for both the individual and the community. Consistent with this principle is Australia’s strategic shift in policy focus in this area to diversion. Diversion provides an alternative to criminal justice sanctions to modify individual behavior. It involves a graduated series of interventions appropriate and proportionate to the offense and to the personal circumstances of the offender. Vaughan describes the background to this policy shift, the development of diversionary programs, and the components of those programs.

Read Full Article