TASC (Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities) is a membership association representing over 220 programs across the United States that are dedicated to the professional delivery of assessment and case management services to substance involved criminal justice and court populations. TASC is represented heavily in some states such as Florida, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona and Colorado. In addition to being an effective program model, TASC has also distilled a methodology of critical elements which are fundamental to integrating the criminal justice and substance abuse treatment systems, holding offenders and both systems accountable through the implementation of client-specific case management. As such, TASC methods can be utilized by programs or systems attempting to manage drug-involved offenders and other people involved with the courts as they occupy places in both justice and treatment programming.
How TASC Works
Because it is a methodology as well as a program model, TASC methods are applicable for moving offenders through a range of sentencing options from deferred prosecution or pretrial release through incarceration and probation/parole, as well as through residential and non-residential treatment programs and aftercare. TASC methodology is essential to developing the partnerships between the justice system and the treatment delivery system that characterize many successful offender management programs, including drug courts, Networks, and Break the Cycle programs, to name a few.
More information on TASC methodology is available here: TASC in the 21st century: A Guide for Practitioners & Policymakers
For three decades, TASC programs have provided the framework for creation of partnerships between justice and treatment delivery systems, including linkages between institution-based substance abuse treatment services with community-based supervision and treatment and aftercare services.
For more on TASC partnerships, linkages and frameworks, view this pdf: Considering Public Safety – The TASC Abilities
TASC began during the 1970s as a criminal justice effort in response to the rising tide of substance-involved offenders revolving through the criminal justice system, developing mechanisms to utilize the treatment system to meet criminal justice goals. Discussion of how to link treatment and the judicial process and interrupt the relationship between drugs and property crimes were held by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), the White House-established Special Action Office for Drug Prevention (SAODAP), and the National Institute on Mental Health’s division of Narcotic Addiction and Drug Abuse (DNADA) predecessor to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The result was a federal initiative, modeled after early experiments with diversion programs and two demonstration projects in New York City and Washington,DC. The project was funded under the Drug Abuse office and Treatment Act of 1972 and christened TASC: “Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime.”
In the mid 80s a resurgence of interest in TASC came through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), which had taken the place of LEAA. TASC incorporates the philosophies of both the criminal justice and treatment systems into its operating principles, and does so by capitalizing on the leverage of the criminal justice system to achieve maximum benefits from treatment for its clients. While TASC provides supervision, it is not equivalent to probation or correctional supervision; while TASC screens, conducts assessments, and provides case management services, it is not a treatment program (although some TASC programs provide treatment services either directly or through contracts). And although TASC can function as a program in and of itself (for instance, when offenders are diverted into TASC in lieu of further court processing), it is perhaps most powerful when managing offenders who are moving through complex levels of criminal processing, supervision and sanctioning in conjunction with the application of multiple treatment interventions and modalities. The goal of TASC programs, then and now, is to provide a treatment intervention to stop the cycle of addiction, arrest, incarceration, release and addiction.
TASC programs are making numerous contributions to enhance the management of substance-involved offenders during its long history. TASC developed and distributed a variety of publications, ranging from information on forming a TASC program to explorations of the relationships between TASC and Drug Courts.
Many TASC programs have evolved to provide services to those in need of mental health services, as well as families involved in abuse and neglect cases. The TASC model of service is to provide assessment, treatment, or referral to treatment, case management, and monitoring and reporting services. TASC programs provide an integrated system of care in meeting the needs of the justice system, the treatment system, and, most of all, the client. TASC programs work with courts (including drug courts), and corrections to ensure treatment is available for community-based supervision, and institutional aftercare.
- Monitors client progress in treatment
- Advocates for efficient and effective substance abuse treatment resources in the community
- Provides training and technical assistance in designing programs that intervene with substance-abusing offenders, including drug courts
- Maintains a national presence in the Washington, DC area
National TASC has provided consultation and technical assistance to federal, state and local agencies seeking to link the justice system with treatment. National TASC has developed monographs and training materials, as shown above, has hosted ten National Conferences on Drugs and Crime, and co-sponsored a Managed Care Conference.