Rehabilitation versus Incarceration
Lee Tergeson, actor from the television show OZ said, “I know what it is like to be ignored, and I think that is the big problem about the prison system: These people are being thrown away. There is no sense of rehabilitation. In some places, they are trying to do things. But, in most cases, it is a holding cell.” (Tergeson, 2002) He speaks the truth. Those incarcerated today are not given the chance to change their behavior patterns, especially when it is in regard to drug addiction. The criminal justice system in general does not consider drug abuse as anything but a crime and does not think about treating the disease of addiction in order to reduce or eliminate the crimes that come as a result. Drug rehabilitation is a valid alternative to incarceration that may help alleviate or even solve the problem of jail and prison overcrowding. If you could cure a disease in less time and have it cost less than just merely treating the symptoms, what would you choose to do? Most non-violent crimes, such as thefts and burglaries, are committed by drug addicts to pay for their drug habit. By eliminating the reason behind the crime, the need to commit the crime will be eliminated; in some cases drug-related crimes were reduced by 51% (Popper, 2002). Drug treatment gets to the root cause of the crime. Treatment not only benefits the addict, it also gives them the opportunity to learn life skills and how to cope without the use of drugs, which will in turn help them to avoid making the same poor choices. Drug treatment is more than just stopping the drug use; it helps change behaviors and attitudes toward drugs and life. Without this major component, there is a larger chance of failure. Rehabilitation programs are a viable option for some offenders and judges alike. There are courts in this country that do not consider first-time, or even second- time offenders on the same level of criminal as a more violent offender. As a...
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