In the last few years, drug testing has become common in
both the private and public sectors due to two factors: (1) a
growing awareness that drug abuse is a serious and widespread
social problem, and (2) advances in technology that allow tests to
be done quickly, inexpensively, and accurately.1
In the criminal justice system, a third factor has helped to
increase use of drug testing. This factor is the drug-crime link
discovered in recent years.2 The Rand Corporation’s survey of
jail and prison inmates and subsequent writings on the career
criminal and selective incapacitation have received the most
widespread publicity.3 These studies support the long-held
assumption that career criminals are heavily involved in drug
use. One of the studies suggests that crime rates could be lowered
by keeping career criminals in prison for longer periods of time.4
A major determinant of recidivism is past drug use.
Knowledge that drug users are heavily involved in crim9
has led to the demand for drug testing in the criminal justice
system in an attempt to identify these persons for special
treatment. From pretrial to parole, determinations of offenders’
risk to the community have increasingly relied on drug tests.
Recent headlines like the one that reads, “5,000 parolees will be
given drug tests’–attest to a trend toward mass drug testing
While no national figures are available, a recent survey of
probation departments in Texas–which has the largest number of
probationers of any state–revealed that testing for controlled
substances was required of .all probationers in 40% of the
departments and it was required  of the probationers in
60% of departments in the state. The same survey revealed that
around 50% of the departments in the state required drug testing
once a month; the rest of the departments required testing once
every two weeks, once a week, or at the officer’s discretion.

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