Addiction and the Incarceration System

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 | By JP Emerald Coast

The United States hold first place for highest number of prisoners per capita in the world. With a shocking 639 prisoners per 100,000 people, we have surpassed every other country on the planet. This brings up a whole slew of questions, discussions, grievances, and movements – one of those being how the justice system handles those that struggle with addiction.

Addiction and Incarceration

Of the high number of incarcerated people, around 65 percent meet the criteria for substance abuse or addiction. Yet only 11 percent of prisoners that struggle with drugs actually receive treatment during their time behind bars. This proves counterintuitive because if inmates do not receive the support and treatment that they need, they may be more likely to repeat prior offenses and end up back in prison – creating an endless cycle.

How does treatment help?

Throwing an inmate in a cell and forcing their body through detox is not substance abuse treatment. They do not have the support – whether it be a treatment program or therapy – necessary to create a successful path to recovery. Substance abuse treatment in a rehab center or in prison, needs to have a beginning to end approach. That means from detox to aftercare, the person who is going through recovery needs proper resources and support to maintain sobriety.

As a taxpaying citizen you may ask, “Why should my tax dollars go towards paying for substance abuse treatment for others?”  Studies have shown that proper substance abuse treatment – and aftercare – decreases the chance that a person ends back up in prison after their release. Of nearly 500 inmates in this study, only 27% of those that were involved in a structured treatment program returned to prison upon their release. This is significant considering the 75% recidivism rate of those that were not involved in the program.

The Bottom Line

Nearly 6 billion taxpayer dollars go toward prison funding on an annual basis. As the leading country in prison population per capita, programs such as substance abuse treatment are essential in lowing the rates of recidivism and providing societal benefit.

We have a highly trained team that promises to provide you with the personalized care that you need. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse and interested in finding their path to recovery, do not hesitate to contact us today.

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