Advances in basic and clinical neuroscience will soon present novel options for prediction, treatment, and prevention of antisocial behavior, particularly drug addiction. These hard-won advances have significant potential to improve public health and safety and increase efficiency in delivery of treatment and rehabilitation. Such therapies will undoubtedly find a large portion of their target population in the criminal justice system as long as drug possession remains criminalized.
Improvements, however, are not without risks. The risks stem not only from the safety and side effect profile of such treatments, but also their insertion into a specialized criminal justice and sentencing system of “problem-solving courts” that may be overburdened, overpoliticized, undertheorized, and lacking sufficient checks and balances on institutional competency. While offering substantial therapeutic benefits, such developments might also short-circuit a critical policy discussion about the nature of drug use and its criminalization.
- Emily R. Murphy, Standford Law School [via]