Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/31309
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: 'Discursive struggles' between criminal justice sanctions and health interventions for people who use drugs: a qualitative exploration of diversion policy and practice in Scotland
Author(s): Price, Tracey
Parkes, Tessa
Malloch, Margaret
Contact Email: tracey.price@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Diversion
public health
drugs
criminalization
devolved policy
de-criminalization
drug treatment
Issue Date: 12-Jun-2020
Citation: Price T, Parkes T & Malloch M (2020) 'Discursive struggles' between criminal justice sanctions and health interventions for people who use drugs: a qualitative exploration of diversion policy and practice in Scotland. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2020.1775180
Abstract: Amidst growing recognition that people who use drugs are often vulnerable and in need of health-focused support, international conventions and national priorities on personal drug use are changing with emphasis shifting from criminal justice to health narratives. In Scotland, there has been a move toward health-led drug policymaking, and yet little is known about how diversion operates in this context. An exploratory qualitative study was conducted utilizing semi-structured interviews with professionals holding lead, strategic-level roles in Scottish diversion policy and practice (n = 15). Interview transcripts were thematically analyzed using a structured framework technique. Findings show that the term ‘diversion’ is used to refer to criminal justice-initiated drug treatment routes, both pre- and post-conviction. Unlike many international examples, Scottish diversions tend to embed health-focused support within criminal sanctions, rather than acting as alternatives. Participants expressed the view that the term diversion implied a shift from criminal justice sanctions to health-led support that did not occur in reality. We, therefore, argue that the term diversion may function to mute a ‘discursive struggle’ between criminal justice sanctions and health interventions for people who use drugs, obscuring a growing gap between aspirational governance principles and institutional and lived realities.
DOI Link: 10.1080/09687637.2020.1775180
Rights: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Licence URL(s): http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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