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Ineffective Treatment of Addiction Through the Criminal Justice System


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Ineffective Treatment of Addiction through the Criminal Justice System
According to a recent survey, nearly “two-thirds of people polled support treatment over incarceration (Pew ResearchCenter for the People & the Press, 2014).” While a staggering “sixty-three percent favor doing away with minimum mandatory sentencing” altogether (Pew, 2014). This is extremely significant as it shows that a fundamental shift is occurring. For decades, our primary source of information concerning addiction has been our U.S. Government. Their strong emphasis on the purported “War on Drugs” has led to mass corruption on their part while simultaneously taking an active role in legislating zero-tolerance mandatory minimum sentencing. The recent Pew Poll is a prime example that the majority of Americans have seen the ineffectiveness behind our current policies. As more and more research is released on the subject of addiction, it is becoming increasingly obvious that a solely criminal approach is undeniably ineffective and in some regards, inhumane. Ineffective treatment of addicts has created; over-crowding on our criminal justice system, inexcusable financial hardships on our society, and is a major factor behind the revolving door syndrome.
A quick look at the current state of our prisons can be rather glaring. The U.S. currently houses approximately 2.3 million inmates. Out of this number approximately 1.5 million have been medically diagnosed with severe substance abuse issues with an additional half million listed as having extensive histories with drugs prior to their incarceration (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 1998). The number of people currently locked up in U.S. detention centers and prisons is rather staggering. We lead the world in the amount of people in jails and prisons (CBS Chicago, 2014). This is of course is no small fete as there are

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