President Obama is advocating treatment in place of prison time for non-violent drug offenses; the White House believes that the drug problems circulating throughout our country mark a public health issue that must be addressed through treatment programs. Back in March, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie promoted his plans for a statewide mandatory drug treatment program for nonviolent offenders, as part of his successful-yet-voluntary Drug Court program.
According to Fox News, new data from the National Drug Control Policy reveals that, yes, while drug use and crimes committed often go hand-in-hand, “Drug enforcement experts say the evidence strongly supports wider use of drug courts, which seek to impose treatment regimens instead of prison sentences on repeat criminals that are dependent on illegal drugs.”
“West Huddleston, of the Alexandria, Virginia-based National Association of Drug Court Professionals, said a convicted criminal who successfully completes a court-imposed treatment regimen is nearly 60 percent less likely to return to crime than those who go untreated.”
“…5 million of an estimated 7 million Americans who live under criminal justice supervision would benefit from drug treatment intervention. But only 7.6 percent actually receive treatment.” Treatment, treatment, treatment! The bridge between drug treatment and criminal justice must be crossed so that criminals have a better shot at avoiding that lifestyle after their release.