Substance Abuse Treatment Instead of Incarceration?

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Across the United States and throughout the world there is an epidemic of epic proportion involving drug addiction. Here in North Carolina the majority of the Department of Corrections inmate population is known to have substance abuse problems. (Price, 62) Along with this epidemic is the growing problem of prison overcrowding. There is a correlation between the two. Many of today’s correctional facilities house inmates that have committed drug related crimes or crimes that they committed while under the influence. There is a solution that would help society and lessen the overcrowding of the penal system. The solution is to help those that are committing crimes because of an addiction disorder. There is viable evidence that this solution works such as statistics, causes of addiction and its ability to be treated, and studies that have been done with the focus on recidivism of recovering addicts. There is also the matter of the cost effectiveness of treatment versus incarceration. Of course there are opponents that make valid argument against treatment in lieu of incarceration. The argument against includes the fact that relapse can and often does happen to the addicted individual. In many segments of society providing treatment to stigmatized individuals is frowned upon. To begin discussing the need for treatment of addiction for correctional inmates the first thing that needs to be addressed is what is addiction and why should it be treated. In psychological circles addiction is classified as a brain disease. It is as much as a disease as cancer or asthma. Some opponents say that it is not a disease because a person has the choice to take drugs. The simple answer to that argument is that a person with asthma also has the cho... ... middle of paper ... ...30 Jun 2010. . "Report: Most inmates need treatment, few get it." Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly 22.9 (2010): 4. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 30 June 2010. PLOSCOWE, Morris. "Drug Addiction, Crime, or Disease." Interim and Final Reports of the Joint Committee of the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association on Narcotic Drugs.. Joint Committee of the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association on Narcotic Drugs, n.d. Web. 1 Jul 2010. . Haney, Craig. "Prison Overcrowding: Harmful Consequences and Dysfunctional Reactions." Prison Overcrowding: Harmful Consequences and Dysfunctional Reactions. Prison Commission, n.d. Web. 1 Jul 2010.

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