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Treatment Is More Effective Than Jail For Drug Offenders

2418 words - 10 pages

One of the most profound problems that plagues our society is drug addiction. With drug addiction comes those who offend and have run-ins with the law. Our country deals with these drug-addicted offenders by placing them in jails for a year or longer, only to have them come back out to society when their sentence is over. They are still drug-addicts and so they return to the street only to commit yet another crime. From here the cycle of crime, arrest, jail, and return to society continues, solving absolutely nothing. Therefore, placing drug-addicted offenders in jails fails to confront the major problem at hand which is that of the drug abuse. If drug-addicted offenders were placed in drug treatment centers instead of being incarcerated, the problem of drug abuse would have a much higher opportunity to be flushed from the offender's life. Thus, the chance of that the offender would commit another crime for drugs would be reduced.

The felonies that were committed by these drug addicts are usually due to the fact that they want to help fill their cravings for the drug. These drug addicts will commit crimes in order to support their addiction for the present moment. ?An estimated 61,000 (16%) convicted jail inmates committed their offenses to get money for drugs? (?Drug?). This is why when they are caught for committing these felonies and arrested, throwing them in jail is completely pointless. For one, what exactly will a few months or years do to these offenders? The sentence will most certainly not cure them of their addiction. Drug users pose major crime threats by robbing and stealing to support their habits, but treatment provides a greater potential than incarceration for dealing with the underlying addiction that drives the offenses (Sacbee 2). ?Drug use is substantially reduced among defendants while they are participating in drug court programs. For most participants who graduate from the programs (ranging from 50% to 65%), drug use is eliminated altogether? (?Summary?).

?There is only a limited amount of time you can incapacitate, maybe a year, a year and a half. If you deal with the addiction, you?re talking about eliminating the criminality for a lifetime. Drug treatment is tough on crime since it deals with the core problem,? explains Dave Fratello an initiative spokesman for a ballot in Los Angeles about treatment for drug-addicted offenders. (Sacbee 2).

As soon as they set their foot right back out into the real world, the addicts just return to their old ways. They were most likely able to obtain some drugs in jail because of the loop holes in our jail systems. Rod Wright, an Assemblyman from Los Angeles, said it best with the following quote about the whole drug abuse situation:
I think ultimately, we?ve got to make some decision in this country as to whether
or not we?re going to treat drug abuse as a crime or a health problem. I don?t think
criminalizing drug abuse makes the most sense. We want to rid society of drug...

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