Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities
Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (formerly Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime) (TASC) is a national program founded in the 1970s to provide drug treatment and counseling to individuals charged with crimes in an effort to reduce recidivism and prison overcrowding. Portions of the program were implemented in Jefferson County as early as 1977. A major expansion of the program was undertaken in 1997, providing weekly drug testing and treatment for all felony defendants free on bond pending trial. TASC is administered through the Jefferson County Community Corrections Program. UAB provides space and administrative support while Jefferson County and other governmental agencies fund operations through contracts and grants.
Studies performed during the late 1990s indicated that the program resulted in a 30% drop in new arrests for those enrolled. Subsequently, at the request of judges in the 10th Judicial Circuit of Alabama, Criminal Division, Jefferson County continued to fund the program and all felony defendants were referred to it during preliminary hearings. Participation in the program before trial was taken into consideration during sentencing of those convicted.
In 2009 TASC was working with 3,342 enrollees and received approximately 350 to 400 new referrals each month. The Jefferson County financial crisis led the Jefferson County Commission to cut funding to its community corrections programs by $1.6 million, a 60% drop for TASC's support. On September 29, 2009 presiding Judge Tommy Nail accepted a request by TASC to suspend new referrals and issued an order to that effect for all judges in the criminal division.
- Spencer, Thomas (August 17, 2009) "Jefferson County law enforcement worries about corrections program getting ax from county." Birmingham News
- Spencer, Thomas (October 1, 2009) "Jefferson County, Alabama judge ends felony referrals to drug monitoring program." Birmingham News
- UAB Substance Abuse Program at UAB.edu