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[ Opinion ]

Should Us Addicts Be in Prison?

Let’s just incarcerate everyone that does drugs and have them do drugs in prison instead. That way it will cost our government a boat load of money just for the peace of mind of everyone who hasn’t been affected by drugs.

We do a lot of things when we are in active addiction that’s against the law but is prison really the answer?

I remember when I had to go to court for check fraud when I was 16 and in the middle of my full blown addiction. I got a call from the police department that they wanted to talk to me. The check situation was completely out of my mind by that time so I went in not sure what to expect. They ended up treating me like a victim, acting like they felt sorry for me. Maybe it was because I was only sixteen and my boyfriend was 21. They even asked me if my boyfriend made me do it. I was honest and told them that no one made me do it I did it because I was addicted to drugs.

After informing me that I’d have to go to court because the store where I had cashed the checks was pressing charges they asked that I tell my boyfriend they also wanted to speak with him. Thankfully, the charges were eventually dropped although I’m still not sure why. I like to think it had something to do with us being young, addicted, and wanting to give us a chance to do better with our lives before giving us a criminal record. I know it’s probably wishful thinking.

I’m happy that more addicts are getting sentenced with mandatory treatment instead of prison lately, but our jail population is still filled with too many addicts who aren’t getting the proper treatment. Going to jail gives them the opportunity to get clean but once released the chances of relapse are extremely high. 

If you’re like me and you believe that addiction is a mental health issue then wouldn’t mandatory treatment be a better option for addicts. If we truly want to rehabilitate them and help them become productive members of society then addressing their addiction would be the best course of action.

Putting addicts in prison isn’t actually fixing the problem it’s only putting it on hold. Don’t get me wrong some crimes do deserve jail time, no doubt about that, but if the crime was due to an addiction chances of them repeating that crime are extremely high if the addiction isn’t treated properly. I think for the more severe crimes they should still get some jail time but with access to proper addiction treatment. 

Our society should incorporate effective addiction treatments in all prisons. For the minor drug offenses mandatory treatment would be ideal. The influence of more hardcore criminals can be destructive to addicts who are only there for drug related offenses. People usually come out of prison with better connections and ways of committing crimes so keeping them separated could benefit everyone. I’m glad our society is finally recognizing the fact that addicts need real help, not just prison time.

What do you guys think. Let me know in the comments below.


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