5 Crim. Just. Q. 67 (1977)
Implementation of the Alcoholism Treatment and Rehabilitation Act (Atra)

handle is hein.journals/crmjusq5 and id is 149 raw text is: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ALCOHOLISM
TREATMENT AND REHABILITATION ACT (ATRA) *
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
On February 9, 1976, Governor Brendan T. Byrne signed into law the Alcoholism
Treatment and Rehabilitation Act (A-613, hereinafter referred to as ATRA). This law
sets forth the policy of the State of New Jersey that alcoholics and intoxicated persons
may no longer be criminally prosecuted solely because of their abuse of alcoholic
beverages. In other words, public drunkenness is no longer a crime. Instead, alcoholism
is recognized to be a disease characterized by loss of control over the use of alcoholic
beverages or such use which substantially injures a person's health or which
substantially interferes with his social or economic functioning. The purpose of ATRA
is to afford intoxicated persons and alcoholics the opportunity to receive treatment
rather that punishment when no crime has been committed, or treatment in lieu of
prosecution if they have committed a minor offense.
ATRA represents a major commitment of effort and resources by both public and
private segments of the State. In brief, ATRA establishes a Division of Alcoholism,
creates an Advisory Council on Alcoholism, provides for the designation and licensing
of intoxication treatment facilities, prescribes procedures to be followed in the arrest
of intoxicated persons, and authorizes the establishment of service forces to assist the
Recently, the New Jersey State Legislature passed the Alcoholism Treatment and Rehabilitation Act of 1976
(ATRA), N.J.S.A. 26:2B-7 et seq. The Act is significant in that it represents a progressive and cohesive
approach to a wide spectrum of social problems created by alcoholism. To implement the Act, a Task Force
was established by the Attorney General with representatives from various governmental agencies and the New
Jersey Hospital Association. The following persons were involved:
Patrick Scheffer,
Alcohol Countermeasures Program,
Division of Motor Vehicles,
Task Force Chairman
Richard W. Berg,
Deputy Attorney General,
Division of Criminal Justice, Appellate Section,
Manual Editor and Education Coordinator
Dennis Helms,
Special Assistant to the Attorney General
Inspector George Hendrickson,                        Charlotte Kitler,
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control        Deputy Attorney General, Division of Law
Captain George Thomas,                             Peter Connell,
Division of State Police                     Police Training Commission
with the assistance of:
Richard Diehl,                                 Judith Yaskin,
New Jersey Alcoholism Association                  Assistant Public Advocate
Clinton E. Cronin, Deputy Attorney General,
Chief, Prosecutors Supervisory Section,
Division of Criminal Justice
Donald Phelan, Chief Pretrial Services,              Mary K. Brennan, Esq.,
Administrative Office of the Courts             New Jersey Hospital Association
The editors of the Criminal Justice Quarterly believe that the Manual promulgated by the Task Force must be
given as wide currency as possible. Its directions for criminal justice personnel handling alcoholics implicate
methods of systems' response to related and analogous problems. Consequently, the Editors of this periodical
believe that publication at this time is important.

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