The United States is one of the strictest countries in the world when it comes to drug related laws. There are several countries with very relaxed laws governing its citizens’ use of drugs. Some of these countries use a more rehabilitative system to enforce laws regarding drug use. Instead of arresting, sentencing, and throwing an addict into jail for possessing and abusing a drug they offer that individual a rehabilitation plan to help them overcome their addiction. It is true that there are several counties in various states that are beginning to practice this type of system in hopes to reduce drug abuse as well as crime. It is no surprise that drugs and crime are connected, therefore if you can help addicts overcome their addictions you can reduce crime. Unfortunately, the current prison system in the United States does not offer access to drug treatment.
Current Prison Drug Numbers
Currently, there are approximately 30,000 inmates in an Ohio prison that require drug treatment. Of those 30,000 only 4,500 are currently receiving treatment because that is all the state’s existing budget can afford. Although, Ohio state officials do plan on funneling millions of dollars into drug rehabilitation programs in its state prisons. Currently, the Ohio prison population sits at around 50,000, which is estimated to increase by 1,100 in two years. The Governor, John Kasich, proposed budget plan hopes to reduce this number. The prison system only takes the drug addicted inmates away from the drug; it does not teach them how to cope with their triggers or cravings. The new plan promises to give inmates more access to drug treatment professionals. They will also have access to these professionals, encouraged to do so when they leave treatment. In the meantime, the state is imposing a community-based corrections program which will allow non-violent offenders to stay in their community and receive treatment. The estimate for non-violent prison inmates is roughly 25% of the 20,000 sent to prison each year.
The state is currently implementing therapeutic communities within their prisons. These communities place drug addicted offenders together so they can receive intense drug rehabilitation treatment. There are currently two of these communities working now, and the state plans to add six by the end of 2017. Recidivism rates in the prisons that employ these communities are averaging around 10.4%; with the state average set at 27%. State organizations plan on adding more staffs to the program as well as families. Most drug rehab facilities emphasize the importance of family support and participation in the recovery process, so naturally, they should be involved in these programs.
Drug Treatment in Prison
Currently, there are not that many drug treatment options for addicts who are in prison. Many of these drug addicted families hope that the state can provide more drug treatment options for their inmates. The problem with sending a drug addict to prison without treatment is that the state is not treating the source of the problem. The real issue is the addiction. Taking a user away from the drug is only part, a small part, of the rehabilitation process. In prison, these inmates mix with the general population of more severe offenders and learn to become worse and even career criminals. By providing them with drug treatment options the state can fight the problem at the base. Treating the addiction is treating the cause of the crime. While there are only few drug treatment options for inmate’s people are fighting to give them more options. Young adults are going to prison for drug-related crimes, getting lengthy sentences, and coming out adults without skills. They are not learning the tools they need to be successful in society, instead the tools they need to survive prison. The more options drug addicts have in prison the better off society will be as a whole.
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