Incarceration Vs. Treatment Part One Of Five:
The National Drug Imprisonment Problem
In 2004, the state of Maryland, under the Justice Policy Institute, released a study titled, “Treatment or Incarceration?” While the study is dated, many of the points remain true today, because the study reveals that treatment triumphs over incarceration. This is the first of five articles discussing the study, its findings, and how treatment is always better than incarceration, especially in saving state funds.
Many states across the nation face fiscal challenges, in part due to the number of drug incarcerations in state prisons. Due to the funds being allocated to prisoners and not to research, states cannot properly research why drug offenders repeatedly find themselves in prison. Many taxpayers are frustrated by the vortex that is drug imprisonment: people are imprisoned, offered no rehabilitation, and are released to become repeat offenders. Many citizens are in favor of judges ordering treatment rather than incarceration, however, more government funds are being allocated to prison over treatment centers. Many treatment centers remain private pay facilities.
In Maryland, and across the country, people understand that the prison system is clogged with addicts, not necessarily criminals. Many citizens believe that the prison system can be cleaned out and funds can be reassigned if the government were willing to pay for rehabilitation instead of incarceration. A growing number of people are calling for drug addicts to get help, not locked up, and the reason is because people believe jail is harmful.
A number of people polled in the Maryland 2004 study believed that incarcerated individuals are more likely to commit crimes after prison time than before prison. Studies prove that this is true. In 2002, the New York Times reported that the rate of released inmates who commit repeat crimes continues to rise. This means that a drug addict, who may not have committed any major crimes before prison, is far more likely to commit crimes after release from prison, even if the charge is only for the possession of illegal drugs. The same person may not commit any crimes if the sentence were for a rehabilitation facility instead. Unfortunately, not enough studies exist to determine the percentage of people who commit crimes after rehabilitation.
The United States government counters these arguments by stating that some violent offenses are committed while the person is on drugs. While this is true, and those people should be incarcerated, it is also true that non-violent people clog the prison system. Those who have never committed a violent act are sent to prison for using and selling drugs when rehabilitation would be far more beneficial. Rehabilitation benefits in other ways as well, as highlighted in the rest of this series of articles on rehabilitation versus incarceration.
If you’d like to talk more about rehabilitation versus incarceration, contact Vancouver Home Health Care Agency today.
At Vancouver Home Health Care Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.