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Drug Rehab Programs in the US Prison System

Drug rehab can be far more important than incarceration in helping criminals become productive members of society. Because people who commit theft and violent crimes so often suffer from addictions, most states maintain drug rehab programs in their prisons. However, state and local governments across the country have shown dubious support for these programs, and funding is rapidly declining.

It is crucial that people and their communities gain better understandings of the importance of addiction treatment for criminals. Only educated citizens can successfully change policies and help curb the national rates of crime and addiction. Here are a few of the most important aspects of drug rehab in the US criminal justice system – the treatment options, the problems, and current alternatives to prison time.

Prison-Based Treatment Programs

Drug addiction is often to blame for criminal behavior. Some people commit robberies only to support their uncontrollable drug habits. Others behave violently as they suffer short-term withdrawal while looking for their next highs. Overall, treating the disease of addiction can address and mitigate the actual cause of crime.

In prison rehab programs, counselors work with addicted criminals to help them understand how their criminal activity and drug habits are contributing to one another. They then identify the personal causes of prisoners’ addictive behaviors and formulate effective strategies for avoiding future drug use – and future crime.

Reducing Recidivism

Drug rehab has been shown to drastically reduce re-incarceration rates in repeat offenders. Unfortunately, politicians across the United States are cutting funding to prison treatment programs. They may not believe in the effectiveness of these programs, but they may also fear electoral repercussions from better-maintaining them. Voters often criticize politicians who support prison rehab and alternatives to jail time as “soft on crime.” Ironically, spending less money on these programs causes incarceration rates to climb – costing these voters more of their tax dollars.

Scarcity of Treatment

A sad fact of addiction treatment in prisons is that it can be extremely hard to come by. California, Kansas, Texas, and other states have made recent and drastic cuts to their prison rehab programs. Even criminals who are enthusiastic about ending their cycles of drug use and crime may find that their states’ budgets don’t allow for any more addiction counselors to be hired.

Problems Addressing Meth Addiction

Meth use and related violent crimes are responsible for tens of thousands of prison sentences across the United States. However, even prisons that offer decent rehab programs rarely have resources for meth addicts. Because their diseases go untreated, these prisoners inevitably return to methamphetamines after completing their sentences. It is crucial that prison systems address this problem to stop the senseless cycle of incarceration and continued drug use.

Mandatory Rehab – an Alternative to Prison

Clinical rehabilitation has been shown to be a superior alternative to prison sentences for many addicted criminals. When addiction is the actual cause of someone’s criminal behavior, prison time is generally ineffective at producing long-term changes in their behavior patterns. However, maintaining sobriety can allow former criminals to hold jobs, foster healthy relationships, and stay away from dangerous situations that involve drugs.

Studies have also shown that forcing criminals into treatment does not reduce its effectiveness. Though people may be initially reluctant to participate in court-ordered rehab, they often grow to be extremely dedicated to their recovery efforts. Judges who use rehab as an alternative to prison time may also ensure compliancy with certain conditions. Criminals may face time behind bars for not cooperating with their counselors – a far worse option for most people.

Don’t wait for your substance abuse to become legal problems. If you or someone you know has been struggling with the disease of addiction, call the toll-free number at the top of your screen now for a confidential consultation. This call could mean the difference between getting your life back together now, or falling further down the spiral of addiction. Don’t wait. Call us now.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More