Decriminalisation of Public Drunkenness in Western Australia: The Process Explained

Richard Midford

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    Two alternative models of service provision are associated with decriminalisation of public drunkenness – the medical or sickness model and the social welfare model. In the development of alternative strategies to accompany decriminalisation, Australian jurisdictions have largely followed the latter welfare approach. In Western Australia, decriminalisation of public drunkenness was spurred by the recommendations of the Muirhead Interim Report on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. A community development approach was used to establish local management structures for sobering-up programs in areas of greatest need. Three sobering-up centres are now operating in the State with a fourth centre due to open in mid 1993. Some preliminary evaluation of the Western Australian program has been carried out but a more comprehensive research and evaluation program is being conducted to assess the impact of decriminalisation and the development of alternative responses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)62-78
    Number of pages17
    JournalThe Australian Journal of Social Issues
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 1993


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