Rehab, Not Jail

When someone commits a crime, they are sent to a prison or ‘correctional facility.’ Ironically enough, these facilities aren’t doing very much at all to correct its occupants.

Nearly half of prisoners who are serving time committed a drug-related crime. Contrary to movie portrayals, only 8% of inmates committed a violent crime. This meager 8% of prison populations is really the type of criminal that prisons are designed for, the idea being, this person is too dangerous to live in society so let’s lock them up. Many of these offenders will live their lives out in prison.

Jail Is Costly

But should addicts, users, and dealers get the same treatment as violent criminals? Even putting the moral issue of what punishment they deserve aside, is this the right solution to the problem? People who have addiction issues and drug abuse problems need detox followed by a treatment program in order to be rehabilitated–not a more costly jail sentence behind bars.

We all pay for each and every prison inmate via taxes, with the average cost of keeping in offender sitting in prison just under $30,000. Also, think back to the fact that around half of all inmates are in for drug-related crimes. Are these really the types of people we want to be paying so much to keep in prison, when there is a cheaper, and more effective solution for them? It cost half as much as prison to keep a person in drug rehab, and the re-offense rates for those who’ve completed rehab are less than a quarter those who have done their time in prison and are back on the streets.

The bottom line is why are we paying more for a less effective practice? Why not put our money towards a facility and program that will actually correct the problems that landed half of all inmates in prison?

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