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to let the homeless derelict die under bridges and doorways, or whether to bring the power of the judicial branch down upon legislative and executive agencies who fail to provide humane and decent medical and treatment facilities.
This Association has conducted conferences of judges throughout the United States and Canada-seeking solutions and methods for processing the transfer of the destinies of these very sick citizens from the criminal prosecutions and common jails to health and welfare facilities which the law now says should have been available all of the time.
We see in H.R. 6143 a workable guideline which can set the standards for coordination of all appropriate governmental divisions at the community level. Its provisions reflect the most workable and proven techniques known to the sciences and presents a plan which if enacted for the Nation's Capital, will be adopted and followed by cities and states throughout the United States. The bill is carefully and expertly drawn. It has the enthusiastic support and endorsement of this Association-and its opinion-molding judges in every state.
It can be confidentially stated that the eyes of every lower court judge in America, and those of thousands of citizens who want practical and humane solutions of this great public health problem in their own communities, are turned toward Washington. They expect the Congress to act—and act promptly and wisely. In our opinion, the Congress has a remarkable opportunity to discharge its responsibility by enactment of legislation establishing the sensible and effective approach provided by H.R. 6143.
Accompanying this letter are documents reflecting the keen and continuing interest of the judicial branch in the enormous problem which you are now undertaking to deal with so boldly. Sincerely yours,
ALBERT B. LOGAN,
Esecutive Director. (Whereupon, at 12:25 p.m. the subcommittee was adjourned.) (Subsequentiy, the following material was received for the record :)
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 1967. Re H.R. 6143. Hon. JOHN DOWDY, Chairman, Subcommittee No. 3, House District of Columbia Committee, House
of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C. Attention James T. Clark, clerk.
DEAB SIB: Enclosed herein are an original and two copies of a statement of the National Capital Area Civil Liberties Union in respect of H.R. 6143 (dealing with the control of drunkenness any the prevention and treatment of alcoholics in the District of Columbia), which is now pending in Subcommittee No. 3, House District of Columbia Committee. It is respectfully requested that the enclosed statement be made part of the record of the Subcommittee's hearings on H.R. 6143. Sincerely yours,
ROBERT H. KAPP,
STATEMENT OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL AREA CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION ON H.R. 6143
H.R. 6143, which would provide a comprehensive program for the control of drunkenness and prevention and treatment of alcoholism in the District of Columbia, is deserving of generous praise and has our support. It represents a humanitarian approach to a major social problem. By recognizing the fundamental fact that "chronic alcoholism" is an illness, the Bill is able to prescribe as a cure not the ill-adapted tools of criminal law enforcement-but a medical solution.
The bankruptcy of the law enforcement approach to the problems of “chronic alcoholism" has recently been documented in the Report of the President's Commission on Crime in the District of Columbia (p. 474 et seq.). There is little that can now be added to the sordid picture of human suffering, misuse of the criminal process, 'and dissipation of community resources which is there presented.
The benefits to the overall community from the shift in approach which this Bill signals are indeed significant. Frst, the transference of primary respon
Submitted by Robert H. Kapp to Hon. John Dowdy, Subcommittee No. 3, House Dis. triet Committee, House of Representatives of the United States.
sibility for the chronic alcoholic from law enforcement agencies to public health officials should have the effect of releasing susbtantial community police resources for employment in the control and prevention of serious crime. In a community in which the incidence of serious crime is increasing at a frightening rate," and the shortage of police manpower becomes ever more dramatic, this is no insignificant consideration. The extent to which police resources are now being dissipated in the handling of chronic alcoholics, and could be reallocated to more productive employment, is strikingly revealed in the statistical data compiled by the District of Columbia Crime Commission. In fiscal 1965, there were 44,218 arrests in the District of Columbia for violations of the public intoxication law which represented more than 50% of all non-traffic arrests in the community.
Second, this shift in approach should have a salutary effect on the administration of justice in the District of Columbia. The advent of the Easter decision, prohibiting criminal incarceration of chronic alcoholics for public intoxication, coupled with the absence of in-patient treatment facilities in the District, presented judges of the Court of General Sessions, and local law enforcement officials, with the dilemma of either returning chronic alcoholics to the streets to be rearrested or of evading the mandate of the Court of Appeals by offering in a new package the very kind of incarceration which had been prohibited. The latter alternative has, in some cases, taken the form of simply allowing a penal institution without medical facilities to masquerade as a “treatment center" or of jailing chronic alcoholics for conduct substantially identical tobut bear. ing a different designation (e.g. jaywalking) than---that to which the Court of Appeals addressed itself in the Easter case. The result has been increasing public concern.
The adoption of the proposed program would also provide a mechanism for removing the chronic alcoholic from the streets where he is a danger to himself and an annoyance to others. Finally, it would help to relieve the congested docket of the Court of General Sessions.
The benefits which will accrue to the victims of "chronic alcoholism"--and here our concern is not with a few scattered unfortunates but with a substantial segment of our society _are only too obvious. It will mean medical and psychiatric treatment instead of incarceration; it will, in most cases, hold out the hope of recovery and rehabilitation—the opportunity to return to society as a useful and produetive citizen-as an alternative to the desperate and never ending cycle of arrest, detention (without treatment), release and rearrest. This cycle -the “revolving door" of chronic alcoholism-rather than having been ameliorated by the Easter decision, has only been accelerated.” For those whose prognosis is poor, it will mean, at least, the opportunity to survive in a decent manner.
We believe that the Bill can be strengthened in several important areas: 1. Amendments to $ 25-128 of the District of Columbia Code
The proposed amendments to $ 23-128 would considerably improve the District's public intoxication law. They would reduce substantially the instances in which persons can be arrested for public drinking alone without engaging in some other specific kind of offensive conduct. The Bill also provides for the alternative to arrest -in the discretion of the police officer-of sending the violator to his home. In our view, however, the proposed amendments could be improved.
By way of example, under proposed subsection (a) of $ 25-128, police officers would be authorized to arrest a person, who is in no way interfering with the right of others, for simply sipping beer in an automobile parked in an alley behind his home. Similarly, a person could be arrested for drinking in a restaurant after twelve o'clock on a Saturday night. In our view, the public interest is not mean.
2 D.C. Crime Commission Report, p. 20 et seq.
6 See Judge Greene's opinion in District of Columbia v. Richard Walters, et al., District of Columbia Court of General Sessions, Criminal Action Nos. D.C. 18150-66 et al.; De. fendant's Memorandum in Support of Motion to Reopen Proceedings in District of Columbin v. William H. Strother, et al., Distriet of Columbia Court of General Sessions. Criminal Action Nos. D.C. 25861-66; and Appeilant's Brief in Clarence F. Sawyer V. District of Columbia, District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Docket No. 4230 (January Term 1967).
6 It has been reported that more than 25,000,000 Americans are adversely affected in matters of health, family relationships, juvenile delinquency and otherwise by the ravages of the illness of alcoholism. There are more than 5,000,000 alcoholics in the United States, and on the average each alcoholic substantially hurts at least four other persons-those in immediate contact, chiefly families and close associates. See Logan May A Man Be Punished Because He 18 Ni 52 American Bar Association Journal 932 (October, 1966).
7 D.C. Crime Commission Report, p. 474
ingfully served by arresting persons who are simply drinking in violation of law, and who are not engaged in some form of conduct which substantially interferes with the rights of others. On the contrary, the only effect of authorizing arrest in such circumstances is to further divert police resources from dealing with real threats to public order and safety.
We believe that arrests should be authorized only in circumstances where a person's drinking is accompanied by some specific conduct which substantially interferes with the rights of others. To give effect to such a rule, we would eliminate authority for arrests for violations of subsection (a) of Section 25-128, and would substitute therefor a summons system similar to that employed in connection with traffic offenses.
Consistent with the foregoing proposal, we recommend that consideration be given to adopting a more precise standard of offensive conduct than "public disturbance" in subsection (c) of 8 25-128. To some, the appearance of an intoxicated individual wearing down the sidewalk, or slumped on a stoop, will be regarded as a "public disturbance". We believe that the statute should require as an element of the offense a form of behavior which substantially interferes with the rights of others. The difficulty with a standard like “public disturbance" is that it provide the police officer with no meaningful guidance as to the circumstances under whic arrest is authorized. The experience with the “disorderly conduct" statute, which is currently under attack in the local courts, suggests that a standard as vague as "public disturbance" be avoided. We would substitute in subsection (c) language such as "breach of the peace", "cause a public nuisance" or "and engage in course of conduct substantially interfering with the rights of others" in lieu of the phrase "and cause a public disturbance." 2. New 6-1406—Civil commitment
While we have no quarrel with a civil commitment procedure for alcoholics as such, we believe that, in view of the deprivation of liberty that is involved, it should be employed only in carefully limited circumstances. There can be no doubt that civil commitment is justified in the circumstances described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b) of g 6-1407. On the other hand, we do not believe that civil commitment procedures should be set in motion by the more minor violations of 8 25–128. In the case of violations of subsections (a) and (b) of $ 25-128, the alcoholic will not have committed an overt act in the first instance suggesting danger to the public.
We would amend subparagraph (3) of subsection (b) of $ 6–1407 to limit civil commitment to violations of subsection (b) of $ 25-128—which involve offenses which endanger the safety of persons or property—and then only upon a finding that the violator is "likely to injure other persons if allowed to remain at liberty." We prefer our language of limitation to that in the proposed draft—"a continuing danger to the safety of other persons"-for two reasons: (1) it is consistent with the standard employed for civil commitment under the new District of Columbia Hospitalization of the Mentally Ill Act (D.C. Code 88 21–501 to 21-591 (Supp. V., 1966), $ 21-545(b)), and (2) it is a more precise standard.
Consistent with the proposed amendment to paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of $ 6-1407, we would substitute the language “likely to injure other persons if allowed to remain at liberty" for "continuing danger to the safety of other persons" in subsection (c) (4) of g 6-1407.
Finally, while we do not believe that the right to a jury trial is essential in temporary commitment proceedings instituted pursuant to subsection (a) of $ 6-1407, we urge that it be preserved in the more permanent type of commitment contemplated in subsection (c) of 8 6–1407. 3. New subsection (3) of 8 6–1404
We believe that the confidentially provisions of subsection (3) of $ 6-1404 can and should be strengthened. In view of the fact that the Bill provides for voluntary commitment to a detoxification center, we urge that it be made perfectly clear that information contained in the records of the detoxification center not be disclosed to any government or private agency or person. Too often the availability of records of this type leads to discriminary and otherwise unfair employment practices. We would strike the last sentence of subsection (e) and insert the following in lieu thereof : "The registration and other records of a detoxification center shall remain confidential, and may be disclosed to persons other than the patient or bis representative only at the request of the patient, and then only to medical personnel for purposes of diagnosis, treatment, and court testimony, and to no one else. It shall be unlawful for any government or private agency or person, except in a judicial proceeding, to inquire of the Department of Health, the patient, or anyone else for information concerning these records." 4. Miscellaneous
(a) In subsection (b) of $ 6-1401, we would insert the words "in public" after the word "intoxicated" at line 8, page 8.
(6) In subsection (d) of $ 6-1401, we would suggest that consideration be given to striking the word "appropriate" at line 22, page 10.
(c) We would strike the first sentence of $ 6–1408 which provides that chronic alcoholism is not to be regarded as a form of mental illness. This would seem a complex matter on which to legislate, and the sentence in no way adds to the provisions of $ 6-1408.
(d) It seems to us that the word "with" in line 14 of $ 6-1409 should read “without".
MEDICO-CHIRURGICAL SOCIETY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
HOWARD UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF MEDICINE,
Washington, D.C., April 3, 1967. Re-H.R. 3972. Hon. JOHN DowDY, Chairman, Subcommittee No. 3. Committee on the District of Columbia, U.S.
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. Attention-Mr. James Clark.
DEAR MR. DOWDY: The Medico-Chirurgical Society of the District of Columbia strongly supports favorable action on H.R. 3972, to authorize the Government of the District of Columbia to fully participate in the Health and Medical Assistance Benefits which were made available under terms of the Social Security Amendments of 1965, Public Law 89–97.
It is felt that the enactment of this legislation (H.R. 3972) would make it possible for the District of Columbia to share in the Federal Aid programs for medical assistance made possible to the States by enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1965.
We understand that twenty-eight States and Territories now have this new medical assistance plan in operation, as approved under Title XIX of the Act. It is our understanding that H.R. 3972 would empower the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia to establish by regulation, through certain policies and procedures, the necessary steps before the District of Columbia government can obtain the Federal matching grant.
We strongly urge favorable consideration by you and your colleagues for H.R. 3972. Very truly yours,
ERMAN W. EDGECOMBE, M.D., President.
GREATER WASHINGTON CENTRAL LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO,
Washington, D.C., April 18, 1967. Re: HR 6143. Congressman John DOWDY, Chairman, House District Subcommittee No. 4, U.S. House of Representatives,
Washington, D.O. Attention : Mr. James Clark.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN DowdY: The Greater Washington Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO takes this opportunity to express support for the enactment of HR 6143, to provide a comprehensive program for the control of drunkenness and the prevention and treatment of alcoholism in the District of Columbia.
Alcoholism is a progressive disease and approximately 100,000 persons living in the Metropolitan Washington Area suffer from this illness, of whom, only ten percent are homeless derelict inebriates. A large majority of these victims are living with their families and trying to hold jobs but their drinking habits are interfering with their health, job performance, attendance and dependability. There has been very little help for these victims, who eventually become a burden to the community because the community must provide medical and hospital care for the alcoholic and health care and welfare support for his dependent wife and children. A comprehensive program for the control, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of inebriates and alcoholics as defined in HR 6143 will be in the best interest of alcoholics, their families and the community. We urge your early and favorable action on HR 6143. Sincerely,
J. C. TURNER, President.
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,
Washington, D.C., April 24, 1967. Hon. Joan L. MCMILLAN, Chairman, Committee on the District of Columbia, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to the request of Congressmen Hagen and Adams for the views of the Department of Justice on H.R. 6143, a bill “To provide a comprehensive program for the control of drunkenness and the prevention and treatment of alcoholism in the District of Columbia.”
H.R. 6143 would amend or repeal the existing criminal laws of the District of Columbia relating to intoxication and the rehabilitation of alcoholics, so as to differentiate between the criminal offender and the non-criminal alcoholic, and to establish a comprehensive program for dealing with alcoholism primarily as a public health problem.
Title II would amend 25–128, District of Columbia Code, to provide as follows:
(a) Intoxication that endangers the safety of another person or property shall be a crime.
(b) Drinking in public will constitute a criminal offense only if it causes a public disturbance, and if the person who is drinking refuses to stop his drinking and disturbance when requested by the police. However, drinking in a vehicle remains a criminal offense.
(c) No criminal charges will be brought against inebriates under the disorderly conduct, loitering, vagrancy or other related misdemeanor provisions of the Criminal Code. Disorderly intoxication absent danger to persons or property will be handled under the bill's provisions for non-criminal alcoholics.
(d) In lieu of making an arrest for violations of section 25-128, the police are authorized to take an intoxicated person home or to a public or private health facility.
Title III would repeal Chapter 5 of Title 24, District of Columbia Code, [Rebabilitation of Alcoholics) and add a new chapter to Title 6 [Health and Safety) prescribing programs for dealing with alcoholics and alcoholism, and stressing the public health aspects of the problem. It would establish a Bureau of Alcoholism Control within the Department of Public Health, to effectuate the policies and coordinate the programs that the legislation anticipates. The bill calls for the construction of one or more detoxification centers with at least 200 bed, an in-patient facility with at least 500 beds, which may not be a part of or at the same location as a correctional institution ; out-patient after-care facilities, including residential facilities with at least 2000 beds, and other sup portive facilities. There are provisions for the protective custody of incapacitated inebriates, including those who are merely drunk and those who are charged with serious criminal offenses; for the diagnosis and in-patient treatment of chronic alcoholics; for voluntary out-patient and after-care treatment; and for civil commitment of chronic alcoholics whose behavior constitutes a continuing danger to the safety of themselves or others.
E.R. 6143 has been tailored to carry out the major recommendations of the District of Columbia Crime Commission. Like Title VIII of the District of Columbia Crime Reduction Act of 1967 (H.R. 7327), it deals with the non-criminal treatment of alcoholics. But whereas the Administration bill limits itself to amending the intoxication laws so as to require a danger to the safety of another's person or property in order to constitute a crime, and to authorize the protective custody of inebriated persons, H.R. 6143 goes further in amending the criminal laws and establishing new treatment procedures and facilities.
We endorse the goals which H.R. 6143 seeks to effectuate, and we urge that the Committee give both this proposal and Title VIII of the Administration bill serious consideration in order to formulate an enlightened program for the control of alcoholism in the District of Columbia. To assist the Committee in so doing, we are enclosing herewith a commentary upon certain provisions of the bill in comparison with Title VIII of the District of Columbia Crime Reduction Act of 1967.