by Donna Johnson, JD, CAS, ICADC, ICCJP, CCDP, LADC – CCJP Chair
May is National Drug Court Month, so it is an appropriate time to celebrate the Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional. Criminal justice agencies are now recognizing that those providing addiction treatment in offender populations must have special skill sets to meet the needs of this most difficult and risky population and also assure public safety.
While a growing body of data makes it clear that a particular set of knowledge, skills and attitudes are most effective in addressing the problematic thinking, attitudes and behavior of this population, it is also true that the vast majority of those involved in this endeavor are never exposed to this body of knowledge. The CCJP credential offers agencies and employers professionals who have demonstrated those required skills by possessing the credential of the Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional.
IC&RC brought together the leading professionals worldwide in the areas of addiction and criminal justice to provide input and develop criteria for the Certified Criminal Justice Addiction Professional credential. In addition to our reknowned advisory board, the current CCJP Committee consist of experts in the criminal justice/addictions fields from across the country.
The purpose of the CCJP credential is to:
- Reduce crime by providing effective drug treatment.
- Cut tax dollars spent to incarcerate repeat substance abusing offenders.
- Build public confidence in the ability of those working with criminal-justice caseloads.
- Ensure quality to the consumer of substance abuse treatment in a criminal justice setting.
- Increase the level of credibility of those working with substance abusing offenders.
- Open doors to new professional opportunities for addiction counselors and criminal justice professionals.
- Offer organizations, agencies, and employers the option of professionals who have demonstrated the special skills required to work with offender and criminal justice populations.
CCJPs must be knowledgeable of the services provided by the treatment and criminal justice systems. Knowledge is required in such areas as theories of addiction, theories of criminality, pharmacology, involuntary commitment procedures, criminal case processing, ethical guidelines and confidentiality limitations with clients in correctional/criminal justice settings, coordination of services and monitoring, court alternatives and conditions of probation.
The number of individuals incarcerated in our society has more than doubled over the past decade. The evidence is conclusive that addiction is highly correlated with criminal behavior and criminal involvement. As a result, the criminal and juvenile justice systems and providers of substance-abuse treatment share a responsibility to provide the best possible treatment.