Crime describes unlawful conduct that violate the stability of a society and are punishable by the state. An act that is often described as a crime does not only harm a single individual but also affects the larger community as well as the state. What constitutes to a crime is often described by each country’s criminal code, which explains why some acts may be perceived as criminal offenses in some countries and not others. Guidelines to crime prevention state that well planned strategies should be followed when dealing with criminal offenses to prevent cases of victimization. Well-planned strategies also contribute to the wellbeing and safety of the society, which in return enhances sustainable development of the nation at large. Effective crime control does not only promote the quality of life but it as well reduces financial expenses related to crime in the society and within the justice system. This bestows the state with the core responsibility to establish effective strategies to fight crime. This may include developing the capacity of major players as well as putting effective crime systems in place. The state can as well work closely with national and regional players, community groups, and societal institutions to promote technical assistance that can help to curb crime. This paper looks at the issues of drug trafficking in Australia and proposes the policy goals that can be employed to address this issue. It also applies the third wave of governance and the restorative justice theories to show how they contribute to quality policy measures that can help to address the criminal issue.
The issue of drug trafficking
Illicit drug trafficking has become a pandemic activity that translates in a multi-billion economic venture in Australia. An arrest related to illicit drug trade in made after every five minutes and a seizure related to the similar activity made after every seven minutes. Statistical evidence from the Australian Crime Commission shows that the judicial authorities seized drugs valued at more than $2.8 billion between 2012 and 2013. This was reportedly a small proportion of the iceberg, which shows that the Australian government may be required to put a great deal efforts if at all it intends to fully eliminate the issue of drug trafficking in Australia. Seizures and apprehensions in almost every social class have reportedly been at alarming levels. A similar trend has been witnessed in trafficking, with members of every level of social ranking taking a significant role in perpetuating circulation of illicit drugs from one social level to another. An addictive drug that is commonly referred to as the Crystal Meth has been ranked as the most trafficked drug in Australia. Other drugs that include Bang, opiates and certain types of stimulants have also been commonly used in Australia. Illegal trafficking of these drugs has raised concern in this region since it has not only affected the drug users but the wider Australian society. As a result, drug trafficking has been perceived with greater depth than just being a major problem as it has torn families apart. This has exalted drug trafficking from merely being an issue related to law enforcement to an issue of national concern. Today, the crime and health consequences resulting from drug trafficking have been rampant in this region than ever before hence the dire need for state authority to commit its efforts in controlling the crime. Strike forces have been created and integrated with each other to help curb criminal gangs that continue to reap significantly high benefits from drug trafficking. The government has also dedicated billions of dollars to sponsor cargo screening and prevent smuggling across the border. These efforts have however been greatly frustrated as the illegal drug trade network continues to broaden especially over the past decade. Despite the fact that the state authorities have established inroads including those targeting Australian ports to disrupt the drug trade, it is believed that illicit drug trade has remained the prime source of resources for organizing crime. Inquiry has shown that the high value of Australian currency will continue to make Australia a prime target market for international drug smugglers and criminal associations. Conversely, medical practitioners have increasingly reported devastating effects that are linked to illicit drugs, which mainly affect drug users, their families and the wider society. This explains why the state should take a distinct approach in addressing this issue to ensure that it reaps fruitful outcomes.
Adopting rational strategies to fight drug trafficking in Australia will help to satisfy different stakeholders’ interests, which would in return perpetuate stability of the larger Australian society. Victims of drug-related abuse will greatly benefit if the issue of drug trafficking is effectively addressed. Most young people aged fourteen years and above have previously been abused by individuals that are under the influence of drugs. Cases of physical and verbal violence have greatly intensified with increased cases of drug trafficking in Australia. Cases of victimization are higher in rural compared to urban areas with young men reportedly being two times prone to victimization than women. This is because young men will more likely be forced into drug peddling, hence more likely to suffer physical violence if they attempt to resist. Fighting drug trafficking will greatly reduce such forms of violence, which will in return perpetuate the welfare of drug-related victims. The law enforcement agents are other key stakeholders that will reap significant benefits when the issue of drug trafficking in Australia is effectively addressed. The main interest driving the agents to take part in fighting drug trafficking is to reduce the cost incurred while responding to drug-related incidents. The Australian police force devotes a huge amount of resources that include money, time, manpower and weapons to fight crimes associated with drug trafficking. A recent inquiry has shown that over ten percent of the entire Australian police force spends most its time responding to drug-related incidents, most of which include assaults and homicides. Addressing each incidence takes more than two hours, which translates to a huge burden that is usually laid on the police resources. This equates to more than $767 million annually, which greatly affects the law enforcement budget. Families are other stakeholders with significant interests that would be perpetuated through effectively fighting drug trafficking in Australia. Research has shown that drug trafficking in Australia has been associated with increasing risks for domestic and child violence. With high cases of drug-related homicides having already been reported, drug use has also been associated with non-fatal cases of domestic aggression. There is also a considerable level of research indicating that drug peddling and abuse is a significant risk factor for child abuse and neglect. This is because drug use is often associated with poor and inconsistent parenting, which in return translates into emotional and psychological challenges on children. Fighting drug trafficking would thus ensure that issues contributing to child negligence and domestic violence are addressed thereby enhancing the overall family wellbeing. Addressing the issue of drug trafficking in Australia will also help to meet the economic interests of the wider Australian society, which contributes to another important category of stakeholders that is committed to fight this issue. Study has shown that drug use in Australia attributes to a cost of more than 4.8% of the total GDP. This cost is usually associated with reduced economic productivity, drug-related mortality and costs associated with police operations and customs. Increased involvement in drug peddling has continually been associated with illiteracy, which in return attributes to increased cased of unemployment. This results to increased cases of poverty, migration and crime, which in return affects the overall development of the wider society. Addressing the issue of drug trafficking would thus ensure that societal interest in promoting the economic development of the wider Australian society is enhanced.
The policy goal for writing this paper is to reduce drug trafficking for the welfare of Australian society. The policy response that will be employed in this study will mainly include employing laws that will stress the illegality of selling illicit drugs in Australia. The response will also include employing regulations relating to how individuals charged with drug trafficking will be dealt with by the law enforcement as well as how they can be reintegrated into the society to promote their positive contribution to social and economic development. This policy response is closely linked to the theory of Third Wave Governance and this confirms how well the proposed policy response can address the issue at hand. The theory of Third Wave of Governance brings into consideration the coming of a stateless society that is founded on the anti-foundational philosophy of the first and second waves of governance. This theory aims at decentring the constantly transforming state by perceiving the state as the conditional implication that informs the conduct and actions of individuals that may be linked to all practices of rule. The Third Wave of Governance thus becomes a humanist and historicist theory that determines the conduct of the state. According to this theory, the state cannot be treated as a uniform concept as it comprises of diverse practices. This is because it does not have a systematically defined nature of its people, and hence, it needs to be distinguished on basis of its constituents. This theory is compatible with the proposed policy response in that it does not seek to adopt the systematically defined procedures that were previously employed in fighting drug trafficking. Just as the theory rejects uniform concepts to describe the conduct of the state, the proposed policy response intends to adopt regulatory procedures that are distinct from those that have been traditionally employed in the law enforcement system. The theory of third wave governance rejects aspects of the first wave, which portrays the changing state as that focusing on the objective attributes of policy networks that are inclined towards power dependency. It further rejects aspects of second wave that mainly focus on integrating government structures and certain tools of control to enhance the conduct of the changing state. The third wave however aims to construct patterns of rule to enhance individuals’ ability to derive meaning in action. This way, the theory ensures that individuals are able to recognize the meaning attached to certain actions by realizing that the actions are not predetermined by certain institutional norms. Similarly, the proposed policy response will not be dependent on the power of the state to address the issue at hand. It will neither be aiming to adopt tools of control that have traditionally been employed in the law enforcement agency to fight drug trafficking. It will however employ a rational approach that can render meaning to the people pertaining to the dire need to engage in more productive activities that can contribute to social and economic welfare of the larger Australian society rather than engaging in drug trafficking. The third wave theory is not inclined on any pattern of rule, as it believes that any pattern is bound to have certain weaknesses. As a result, different people will have different interpretations about these weaknesses since they are not derived from experience but are usually constructed from the interpretations that different people derive from traditions. Usually, when people encounter aspects of governance that tend to conflict with their traditions and believes, the ultimate state of dilemma causes them to go against the aspects of governance and put traditions and beliefs into consideration. This contributes to further dilemma as the state seeks to employ new tools of rule to determine how certain practices should be conducted. The decentred account that is presented by third wave of governance represents a transformation from institutions to rationalities in actions. Similarly, the proposed policy response will not be intending to promote institutional rules that have traditionally been employed to address the issue at hand, but it will be intending to promote meaning in specific actions that will be employed to reduce drug trafficking.
This study will mainly adopt theory of restorative justice to enhance the realization of the suggested policy goal. This theory will help us to transform the way the society thinks about punishment for awful actions. Whenever awful actions like drug trafficking and usage occur, they affect the offenders, the victims as well as other interested stakeholders. The negative outcomes that result from such actions thus demand for responsibilities from the immediate stakeholders perpetuating the actions and from the wider society within which these actions occur. Restorative justice is concerned about a variety of actions that can bring healing and the subsequent reintegration of criminals into the community without necessarily exposing them to any further punishment. Such actions may include offering apologies, restitution, and admitting of the harm that may have been perpetuated by unlawful actions. The theory thus enhances direct communication between the offenders, victims and the representatives of the affected community. It also creates an avenue for offering apologies and restitutions and it promotes a platform through which offenders can portray improved behaviors. This theory will play an important role in promoting the realization of the intended policy goal in that it will promote an avenue through which the community can derive meaning from actions intended to integrate offenders in the society and promote their improved behaviors rather than exposing them to further punishment. Through this theory, it will be easy to understand why it is important to restore positive behaviors and reintegrate drug traffickers into the society rather than employing force to fight their misconduct. This is particularly because the Australian state has for a long time tried to employ force while fighting drug trafficking to no avail. Restorative justice will however ensure that the drug traffickers are able to directly interact with the victims and interested stakeholders. This ensures that they are able to understand the harm they cause to the wider society hence able to make rational decisions on their willingness to change their conduct.
Drug trafficking has been a crucial issue of concern in Australia and it has attributed to huge social and economic implications in the region. The need to address this issue is particularly driven by different stakeholders’ interests that include the victims, families, the law enforcement and the wider Australian society. The main policy goal for this paper is to reduce drug trafficking for the welfare of Australian society. The pursuit for this goal will be guided by a policy response, which includes employing regulations that would enhance offenders’ commitment to adopt improved behaviors rather than engaging in drug trafficking. Such behaviors may include recognizing the negative impacts that drug trafficking attribute to, and in return make willful commitment to cease from engaging in drug trafficking. The theory of restorative justice will help in releasing the intended policy goal, as it will offer a rational understanding of how the society can derive meaning from actions related to awful acts.
Bavir, Mark, The State as Cultural Practice (Oxford Scholarship, 2010).
Martin, Bouchard, ‘Risks of Arrest Across Drug Markets: A Capture-Recapture Analysis of “Hidden” Dealer and User Populations’ (2005) 35(4) Journal of Drug Issues 67.
Menkel-Meadow, Carrie, Restorative Justice: What is it and Does it Work (Washington, 2007)
Samuel, Boone-Lutz, ‘Just Say Yes: Drug Trafficking Treaties as a Model for an Anti-Spam Convention’ (2007) 39(2) The George W
 Bouchard Martin, ‘Risks of Arrest Across Drug Markets: A Capture-Recapture Analysis of “Hidden” Dealer and User Populations’ (2005) 35(4) Journal of Drug Issues 67.
 Ibid 69
 Ibid 71
 Ibid 74
 Mark Bavir, The State as Cultural Practice (Oxford Scholarship, 2010) 21.
 Ibid 24.
 Ibid 27.
 Ibid 32.
 Bouchard Martin, above n 70.
 Bouchard Martin, above n78.
 Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Restorative Justice: What is it and Does it Work (Washington, 2007) 12.
 Ibid 18
 Bouchard Martin, above n 89.
 Boone-Lutz Samuel, ‘Just Say Yes: Drug Trafficking Treaties as a Model for an Anti-Spam Convention’ (2007) 39(2) The George Washington International Law Review 22.
 Ibid 27