Across the country local, state and federal governments are beginning to change their attitudes. The “War On Drugs” is changing to include a emphasis on addiction treatment and drug education. This includes programs which offer treatment as an alternative to incarceration.
Gil Kerlikowske, the Obama administration’s director of national drug control policy, indicated during an interview in Portland this week that the president’s forthcoming drug policy statement wouldn’t use a phrase like “war on drugs,” but would instead favor prevention and treatment.
He said he thinks the American public is ready to try an approach that’s more balanced than some of the tough-on-crime measures, such a mandatory minimum sentences, which have proliferated in recent years.
“It’s a question, not just of effectiveness, but of cost, the American public is ready to try an approach that’s more balanced than some of the tough-on-crime measures, such a mandatory minimum sentences, that have proliferated in recent years.” , said Kerlikowske.
While many court systems have allowed treatment programs to be carried out while inmates are incarcerated, the success rate for this approach is very low. Though prisoners should have access to these programs, low-level non-violent offenders should never be incarcerated in the first place.
Community based corrections programs, which require addiction treatment, show the most promise in handling rising drug addiction. Those programs which require an initial long term treatment program and then follow up with drug testing and continued case management and support after the offenders release from treatment show the most promise.
They are also cost effective, while prison based initiatives are designed to decrease recidivism, they still have to pay for the offender to be incarcerated add to this the additional cost of treatment and prison based treatment solutions lose their cost effectiveness.
A community based approach allows the offender to fund his own treatment with employment begin required and case management fees. This approach adds an overall savings and is must more effective at reducing crime in general.
Narconon of Louisiana supports addiction treatment as an alternative to incarceration and provides a non twelve step approach to treating addiction.