Thesis

Too powerful to overcome narcotics addiction: California's Civil Addict Program, 1961-1971

Thesis (M.A., History) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2009.

California's Civil Addict Program, a statewide compulsory civil commitment treatment
 program for narcotics addicts headed by the Department of Corrections, emerged within
 the context of new applied therapeutic perspectives in dealing with narcotics addiction at
 the state and local levels. Program officials promoted the Civil Addict Program as one of
 both treatment and control through rehabilitation at the California Rehabilitation Center
 (CRC) facilities, combined with intensive outpatient supervision in the community. Prior
 to this new era of the medical management of narcotics addiction, the federal
 government's strict narcotics violations policies had set the tone for the increasing
 penalization of the narcotics addict since the 1914 Harrison Act. This thesis examines
 the treatment measures and prison-like atmosphere of the Civil Addict Program from its
 inception in 1961 until 1971. Numerous Department of Corrections archival documents,
 California legal statutes, and primary and secondary source journals and books have been
 utilized. This thesis finds that contrary to the program's public face of treatment, the
 control exerted by Civil Addict Program officials, combined with the program's
 bureaucratic organization under the auspices of California's Department of Corrections,
 amounted to a very prison-like experience for most of the 18,000 addicts who cycled
 through the program in its first decade. Furthermore, the subjective medical authority
 given to program officials enhanced the Civil Addict Program's punitive atmosphere
 beyond the traditional limits of California's state prison system.

California's Civil Addict Program, a statewide compulsory civil commitment treatment program for narcotics addicts headed by the Department of Corrections, emerged within the context of new applied therapeutic perspectives in dealing with narcotics addiction at the state and local levels. Program officials promoted the Civil Addict Program as one of both treatment and control through rehabilitation at the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) facilities, combined with intensive outpatient supervision in the community. Prior to this new era of the medical management of narcotics addiction, the federal government's strict narcotics violations policies had set the tone for the increasing penalization of the narcotics addict since the 1914 Harrison Act. This thesis examines the treatment measures and prison-like atmosphere of the Civil Addict Program from its inception in 1961 until 1971. Numerous Department of Corrections archival documents, California legal statutes, and primary and secondary source journals and books have been utilized. This thesis finds that contrary to the program's public face of treatment, the control exerted by Civil Addict Program officials, combined with the program's bureaucratic organization under the auspices of California's Department of Corrections, amounted to a very prison-like experience for most of the 18,000 addicts who cycled through the program in its first decade. Furthermore, the subjective medical authority given to program officials enhanced the Civil Addict Program's punitive atmosphere beyond the traditional limits of California's state prison system.

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