Definition Essay – Tabitha Corrao

While investigating alternatives for drug offenders, I came across an article called Expanded Road to Recovery project to reduce drug crimes by Charles Hamilton. The article is about how Governor George Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph L Bruno created a plan to clean up the streets of New York. According to Charles Hamilton, the 2.8 million dollar project “is an expansion on the Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison program (DTAP)”.   The DTAP is a program that gives drug offenders an alternative rather than sending them to jail and not providing them with the help they need. To understand the DTAP’s goal first you have to understand the term “drug offender.”

To define what a drug offender is a thorough investigation had to be conducted. It turns out although all states have their own definition of drug offenders, many states’ definition of drug offender are closely similar.  For example, in the state of New Jersey according to New Jersey Statutes Annotated Title 2C:35B-3 Definitions, drug dealer liability is defined as,

a. “Marketing of controlled dangerous substances” means the illegal distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to distribute, a specified controlled dangerous substance.

b. “Individual user of controlled dangerous substance” means the individual whose illegal use of a specified controlled dangerous substance is the basis of an action brought under this act.

In other words, in New Jersey there are different definitions of what a drug offender is, one being the drug dealer themselves and another one being the drug abuser.

Another example of a different state’s definition of drug offender is Ohio’s definition. Ohio has four different definitions of what a drug offender is. According to LAWriter Ohio Law and Rules, one of the definitions is “(B) ‘Drug dependent person’ and ‘drug of abuse’.” In other words, in Ohio someone who abuses drugs is indeed a drug offender. Although all states have many different definitions of what a drug offender is, most of the definitions somewhere along the lines include being a drug abuser.

With that being said, the DTAP’s mission is to clean up their streets by preventing drug offenders or drug abusers from falling back to their old life styles. People who choose DTAP as their alterative are less likely to return to prison and are also more likely to be employed. The plan gives drug offenders the opportunity to led their life in a more positive direction.


New Jersey Statutes Annotated Title 2C:35B-3 Definitions

LAWriters Ohio Laws and Rules

Hamilton Jr., Charles. “Expanded Road to Recovery Project to Reduce Drug Crimes.” New York Amsterdam News, Nov. 2003. Web. Mar. 2012.

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4 Responses to Definition Essay – Tabitha Corrao

  1. davidbdale says:

    That’s a good start, Tabitha. You don’t need to tell your readers you’re working on a project, or the history of how you came to understand you needed a clear definition of “drug offender,” but the approach could be very useful if you rework it to engage your material better.

    For example, if you cite the George Pataki plan in this definition essay, and let him say he advocates alternative sentencing for drug offenders than jail time, then you, as the responsible essay writer responding to his reasonable-sounding proposal can offer to clarify for your readers just who goes to jail on drug charges and what they’ve been convicted of doing.

    That way, the definition essay serves a very specific purpose of beginning to evaluate the source material for the benefit of your readers and give them a perspective on the Pataki plan that might not have occurred to them.

    Can you try that approach, please? I think it will make a big difference.

  2. tcorrao says:

    Thank you so much for your input. I’m glad to say I tried the approach and I’m happier with this outcome. The only thing is I don’t know how to make my paper longer without being repetitive. I don’t want to bore my readers. I know you said 1000 words but I only got to 400 words. Thank you again!

    • davidbdale says:

      We can and should make that a topic of discussion today, Tabitha. You have a conference scheduled for 4:30. Be prepared to take a good look at this essay and meet me halfway with ideas. You haven’t begun to analyze the relevance of the Pataki plan, if we can call it that, to the types of offenders. Could you call into question whether he had one or the other, or both, in mind? Think critically about the topic before we meet. I have plenty of ideas of my own, but they don’t help your grade much. Ideas you generate are worth a lot more. 🙂

  3. davidbdale says:

    This is a nice opening, Tabitha. It does sound a bit too much as if your only audience is your classmates and your professor, though, who know that you’re working on a longer paper. Revise your first sentence at least to address your topic as if someone in the drug enforcement community is your audience and you’re not a college student.

    Don’t tell your readers that we need to understand a term. Tell us that we all need to agree:

    To understand the DTAP’s goal, we first need to agree what we mean by the term “drug offender.”

    By “a thorough investigation had to be conducted” I presume you’re again referring to your own research for your paper, Tabitha. So fix this too. Just be a writer with a topic of importance and talk to us like readers who have an interest.

    You made a dangerous logical leap from “drug offender” to “drug dealer,” there, Tabitha, just before the abc list. You can’t do that if your primary purpose is to define drug offender, as you told us it is. Maybe it was just a slip-up, but it creates real confusion.\

    Your “drug of abuse” comment is hard to follow. Surely Ohio doesn’t call an offender a “drug of abuse,” but I don’t know how else to read it. You might need a longer quote from the Ohio statute to make things clear.

    One last thing you need to do (at least) is to clarify whether the program is available to criminals whose only offense is the drug offense. Does it propose to put manufacturers into rehab? Dealers convicted of weapons offenses?

    And, to be really clear, what’s the argument for giving drug dealers rehab instead of jail time anyway? By definition they deal drugs; that doesn’t mean they take drugs.

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