How the War on Drugs Hurt Families?


The drug war initiated the development and implementation of different drug control policies, as well as the policies that address offenders and their families. Their effectiveness and influence in society is multifaceted and complex (Garcia & Ritter, 2012). All of them were developed to prohibit, eliminate, punish the use of drugs and related crimes, as well as help the criminals and their families overcome problems. Not all policies and programs have been successful. But the costs of dealing with the drug-related harms are constantly increasing. Although SVORI programs are considered to be successful in the provision of many services before and after release from prison, they are still under development and need some improvement.

Theoretical Framework

Criminology theories aim at providing a better understanding of crime and criminal justice. They address law making and law breaking, criminal behavior, and criminal activity patters. The control theory was developed to justify people’s desire to obey laws and rules. Its primary goal is to explain why people follow generally accepted rules in the society. Inadequate constraints may result in crime. The theory suggests that offenders should be given choice, capacity and responsibility for their actions (Omoyibo, & Obaro, 2012). In addition, it emphasizes shared values or believes in the common social norms. However, individuals who break laws and violate social norms find that it is not necessary to follow them. People’s commitments, relationships, and values encourage them to follow the laws. The social control theory helps interpret the ways of reducing the criminality likelihood development among individuals.

Another criminological theory that can be applied to analyze the investigated topic is the social disorganization theory that blames physical and social environments for people’s responsibilities concerning their individual choices. Social structures tend to fray with time, which leads to the increased crime rates. Fraying structures usually experience significant unemployment rates, a mix of residential property, and others (Willits, Broidy, & Denman, 2013). Local plays an important role in the prediction of illicit activities. Therefore, the theory of social disorganization deals with the issues of social institution abilities of a community to inculcate common values related to law and compliance with them.

The theory can be effectively applied to explain substance abuse in a certain community. It emphasizes high poverty levels, ethnic heterogeneity, a rapid growth of population and other factors as the main constituents of a socially disorganized neighborhood. It initiates the emergence of delinquent social groups that are outside the neighborhood control. The analysis of relevant sources has shown that increased disorganization in the society causes high rates of socioeconomic deprivation and residential instability. It leads to the enhanced drug activity and increased crime rates. Recent studies in the social disorganization theory state that the drug markets may be treated as a potent mechanism that enhances the manifestation of disorganized social conditions (Willits, Broidy, & Denman, 2013). The theory helps explain the link between drug abuse and social disorganization, poverty, as well as hopelessness. Moreover, the correlation between the minority group members and drug use are usually associated with the racial prejudice, socioeconomic status, lack of self-esteem, etc.

The social control theory framework suggests that the identification of social contexts, contextual attributes, and joint effects make a significant contribution to the development of drug abuse in adolescence. It helps investigate the influence of the drug war on drug abusers and their families, as well as the related problems in the social environment. The theory of social disorganization establishes the relationship between the neighborhood characteristics and crime rate. Therefore, it may be effectively used to analyze drug abuse, production, and supply in certain locations.

Policy Evaluation

Empirical research has shown that SVORI has been successful (Visher, Lindquist, & Brumbaugh, 2007). However, the Initiative is still under development and the society should expect future improvements. In 2003, 69 US agencies received from $ 5000,000 to $ 2 million of funding for the initiative over a year. They did not receive much federal guidance for the program development. However, the agencies were obliged to provide services during incarceration, before release of the prisoner, and immediately after it. It resulted in 89 SVORI programs that were different in services, approach, and target population (Garcia & Ritter, 2012). Before receiving the funding, the authorities had to identify and address the needs and gaps, as well as enhance their efforts through the improved training and qualified technical assistance.

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Garcia & Ritter (2012) state that SVORI is a good example that shows that it is difficult to provide and deliver pre- and post-release services. Scientists relate it to the challenges associated with the SVORI implementation and related outcomes. Hence, the initiative has significantly increased the public access to different services for program participants. However, the number of people who had an access to the services was smaller than the number of those who need them. In addition, it has been found that SVORI did not significantly influence the experiences of post release housing.

It has been found that SVORI does not influence the employment rate among the participants (Visher, Lindquist, & Brumbaugh, 2007). The scientists claim that adult service delivery declined substantially, mostly after release. Additionally, there was a decline in the need for services. Therefore, there is an idea that the initiative failed to provide people with support during high-risk and critical periods immediately after their release from prison (Garcia & Ritter, 2012). However, this failure is related to the difficulty to identify and coordinate services for people released across varied geographic areas. 

Researchers claim that the logic model of SVORI suggests the improvements in employment, housing, substance use, and other aspects that influence people’s criminal behavior (Garcia & Ritter, 2012). As a result, services that deal with education and employment improve their rates, and a good job substantially decreases the possibility of becoming engaged in criminal behavior. The treatment of substance use leads to the reduced use of drugs and decreased need in committing violent or property crimes that are closely associated with a lack of self-control due to substance use.

It is evident that most offenders face numerous challenges upon returning to their communities after release, including proper health care, suitable housing, employment, and others. SVORI was developed to give incarcerated people a second chance upon release. It presupposes state and local community funding to enhance training, education programs, and different reentry strategies to promote healthy outcomes for both criminals and their families, as well as reduce cases of recidivism. Unfortunately, people involved in the Initiative experienced an increase in the drug use over time. Nevertheless, in general, the economic evaluation of SVORI indicated enhanced reentry that was successful as it delivered beneficial services to offenders before and after their release from prison.

According to Visher, Lindquist, and Brumbaugh (2007), the Initiative may be referred to as successful in relation to its implementation. It is beneficial for offenders that they receive support and proper services prior to and after release. However, SVORI is associated with some challenges in the sphere of the post-release phase, delivery of reentry programming, staff turnover, etc. Although the Initiative experienced some difficulties, it was successfully implemented due to the effective use of teams, cross-agency collaboration, and intensive case management. The participation in SVORI program indicated a 14% reduction in the adult man arrests, 48% reduction in the adult woman arrests, and 25% reduction in the juvenile man arrests (Jonson & Cullen, 2015).

Although SVORI is considered to be successful, it has mixed influence on the incarcerated people and their families. The Initiative is associated with a number of challenges that require further improvement. Some programs of SVORI have been still implemented and undergo the process of constant improvement. 

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Impact on Community

SVORI was developed to target violent and serious offenders who posed the greatest risk to the community upon release from prison. These groups of people were more likely to face multiple challenges during reentry. Both female and male juvenile and adult offenders could participate in the SVORI programs. However, the participants should not have been over 35 years old (Jonson, & Cullen, 2015). Other criteria for SVORI participation vary in accordance to the kind of program.

It has been found that women participating in SVORI programs received more services than any other group. It may be related to the fact that many of them have children who need mothers and their support. There appeared a possibility to create innovative reentry strategies to contribute to the national model development of the best reentry practices. In general, SVORI did not have any specific impact on particular community group despite the fact that women reported receiving better services than male participants.


Consequently, SVORI has been a successful initiative that was developed to address the needs of the incarcerated people before, during, and after their release from prison. Although the empirical research indicates that the specific reentry services had almost no effect on employment, housing, substance use, and recidivism outcomes, the Initiative is referred to as a successful one. It is closely associated with the fact that the SVORI program participation significantly influenced the rate of arrests upon release.

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