Prison Alternatives: Drug Treatment Programs
There are common sense alternatives to prison for many inmates who are now incarcerated in the United States. The United States has more prisons and inmates than any other country. Twenty five percent of the world’s prison population resides in the United States. Our country has the highest incarceration rate in the world – five times the average. In 1972, there were only 200,000 inmates.
In 2011, according to the United States bureau of Justice Statistics, there were 2,266,800 adults incarcerated in federal prisons, state prisons, and county jails. This staggering number does not include incarcerated juveniles. We should not and cannot accept that our country has more criminals than any other country. Numerous factors have contributed to these terrible statistics. A primary reason for the huge numbers lies with our rush to lock up any who violate the law. It is recognized that certain individuals should be incarcerated because of horrific crimes. On the other hand, there are individuals who should not be locked up because of their drug addictions and nonviolent crimes. We are starting to recognize that many individuals, who are addicted, would break their addiction-crime cycle by participating in an effective drug treatment program instead of years incarcerated. Ironically, reports have shown that drugs are easily available in numerous prisons and jails throughout the United States. Prisonpath posted last year in , “Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey, and Prisons” that Gov. Chris Christie has advocated and implemented mandatory drug treatment programs instead of jail sentences for nonviolent offenders. By pursuing this common sense approach, we are providing alternatives to overcrowded prisons.