Drug Treatment Instead Of Incarceration Act
Imagine the words “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics” appearing on your son or daughters’ untainted rap sheet? America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, but is it because Americans aren’t addicted to crime or are the politicians overly enthusiastic to criminalizing everything? The federal government’s unsuccessful war on drugs has led to unfair punishments for nonviolent drug offenders who have made youthful mistakes. Can reducing nonviolent offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, and ending mandatory sentencing for nonviolent crimes help?
Incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders has been an ongoing nationwide debate, especially after a new national study of prison stated that 39% of inmates are either all non-violent or low-level offenders who would be better served by treatment, probation, or community service – alternative sentencing recommendations that would save American taxpayers a tune of 20 billion years.
Community-based treatment instead of incarceration for people indicted for drug possession offenses or drug-related probation or parole violations has been found to be an effective way to help drug-involved offenders to stay off drugs and out of trouble. The Drug Treatment Instead of Incarceration Act is a form of an alternative sentencing program that acknowledges the fact that drugs can turn anyone into a criminal and attempts to lighten the burden on the US court system by providing a different recovery route instead of incarceration for drug-related crimes.
Research shows that only 10% of repeat drug offenders struggling with substance abuse or dependency received medically based drug treatment while they are incarcerated. Nonviolent drug offenders need help, not incarceration and instead of sending someone to jail where they are bound to pick-up other more serious criminal behaviors, the Drug Treatment Instead of Incarceration Act addresses the root of the problem, which is their substance abuse that leads to the criminal activities.
Anyone that has been caught and charged with the possession or sale of a controlled substance offense is not necessarily a criminal unless they used physical force against another person to obtain the drugs or while on drugs. Sending such a person to jail beats the purpose. Rehabilitation instead of incarceration not only makes the community a safer place to be for the rest of us, but also, the cost of probation and treatment is much less than the cost of incarceration, and we can rest assured that we will be preserving jail and the much needed prison space for violent offenders.
Embracing a public health approach to substance abuse instead of relying on the criminal justice system under the Drug Treatment Instead of Incarceration Act legislation will ensure that those charged with non-violent drug offenses will receive adequate supervision and appropriate community-based treatment services that get to the root of their substance abuse problems.
Eligible offenders in this program must not have a criminal record; they must complete an evaluation with a mental health professional and must demonstrate that they are willing to get clean and live a drug-free and a crime-free life.