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Fighting Back: Neighborhood Antidrug Strategies.

Few correctional practitioners would dispute the role that illegal narcotics plays in criminal behavior. The toll that drug usage exacts upon society is staggering. It presents unique problems that must be addressed by our nation. This is precisely where Fighting Back offers its most valuable contribution. Robert C. Davis and Arthur Lurigio examine police- and citizen-based strategies, case studies, observations and recent investigations that offer insight and even hope to those currently waging the 'war on drugs.' This examination leads the reader to conclude that drug problems only can be dealt with effectively when citizens become partners with the police.

This text delivers precisely what it promises. Davis and Lurigio clearly state their goals and then systematically achieve these objectives. For example, the authors assert that their intention is not to analyze or discuss federal or state efforts to interdict narcotics, but to investigate partnerships between local law enforcement and grassroots organizations created to prevent and discourage drug activity. In this discussion, real-life case studies are presented to help the reader determine what attributes are necessary for a successful program. Philadelphia's South Division and Let's Clean It Up campaigns, as well as Oakland, California's and Birmingham, Alabama's drug enforcement programs are discussed.

The case studies offered not only pinpoint or highlight these programs that are working exceptionally well, but also examine programs that are less effective. Throughout this discussion, it becomes evident that the degree to which a community aligns itself with the police and against drug dealers determines to what extent a program will achieve its objectives. Variables such as the desires of the community, civic leadership and involvement, and cooperation with and from the police are critical.

This text is written in a clear, precise style. It is evident that the authors have made a genuine effort to maintain a level that is easy for both students and seasoned correctional or law enforcement authorities to understand. The authors approach drug dealing from both a criminal justice and sociological orientation, thereby further enabling the reader to obtain a more comprehensive awareness and understanding of human nature and the elements that may predispose illicit activity. The history of America's antidrug programs and the nebulous nature of the drug subculture are reviewed briefly in order to establish a basis upon which further exploration of this topic is made possible.

Fighting Back perhaps is the most definitive text dealing with antidrug tactics and police/community relations. This book is timely and well balanced, and it grapples with strategies that have proven effective in communities throughout America. A review of this text will spark your interest in antidrug strategies and encourage additional research into this topic. Likewise, this text is well suited for those working in all areas of corrections. I wholeheartedly recommend Fighting Back to all who desire a better understanding of police/citizen relationships and social problems. This text quickly will become the standard by which all similar texts are judged.

Reviewed by Curtis Blakely, Ed.S., inmate employment coordinator, Penitentiary of New Mexico-South Facility.
COPYRIGHT 1996 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Blakely, Curtis
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 1, 1996
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