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The link between drug use and crime is not a new one. For more than twenty years, both the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Justice have funded many studies to try to better understand the connection

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Drug Use associated with Crime The link between drug use and crime is not a new one. For more than twenty years, both the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Justice have funded many studies to try to better understand the connection. One such study was done in Baltimore on heroin users. This study found high rates of criminality among users during periods of active drug use, and much lower rates during periods of nonuse (Ball et al. 1983, pp.119-142). A large number of people who abuse drugs come into contact with the criminal justice system when they are sent to jail or to other correctional facilities. The criminal justice system is flooded with substance abusers. The need for expanding drug abuse treatment for this group of people was recognized in the Crime Act of 1994, which for the first time provided substantial resources for federal and state jurisdictions. In this paper, I will argue that using therapeutic communities in prisons will reduce the recidivism rates among people who have been released from prison. I am going to use the general theory of crime, which is based on self-control, to help rationalize using federal tax dollars to fund these therapeutic communities in prisons. I feel that if we teach these prisoners some self-control and alternative lifestyles that we can keep them from reentering the prisons once they get out. I am also going to describe some of today's programs that have proven to be very effective. ...read more.


In 1989, the percentage of prisoners that participated in these programs grew to about eleven percent (Chaiken 1989). Some incomplete surveys state today that over half the states provide some form of treatment to their prisoners and about twenty percent of identified drug-using offenders are using these programs (Frohling 1989). The public started realizing that drug abuse and crime were on the rise and that something had to be done about it. This led to more federal money being put into treatment programs in prisons (Beckett 1994, pp. 425-447). The States were assisted through two Federal Government initiatives, projects REFORM and RECOVERY. REFORM began in 1987, and laid the groundwork for the development of effective prison-based treatment for incarcerated drug abusers. Presentations were made at professional conferences to national groups and policy makers and to local correctional officials. At these presentations the principles of effective correctional change and the efficacy of prison-based treatment were discussed. New models were formed that allowed treatment that began in prison to continue after prisoners were released into the community. Many drug abuse treatment system components were established due to Project REFORM that include: 39 assessment and referral programs implemented and 33 expanded or improved; 36 drug education programs implemented and 82 expanded or improved; 44 drug resource centers established and 37 expanded or improved; 20 in-prison 12-step programs implemented and 62 expanded or improved; 11 urine monitoring systems expanded; 74 prerelease counseling and/or referral programs implemented and 54 expanded or improved; 39 post release treatment programs with parole and 10 improved; and 77 isolated-unit treatment programs started. ...read more.


The main question that arises when dealing with this subject is whether or not people change. According to Gottfredson and Hirschi, the person does not change, only the opportunity changes. By separating themselves from people that commit crimes and commonly do drugs, they are actually avoiding the opportunity to commit these crimes. They do not put themselves in the situation that would allow their low self-control to take over. Starting relationships with people who exhibit self-control and ending relationships with those who do not is a major factor in the frequency of committing crimes. Addiction treatment is very important to this country's war on drugs. While these abusers are incarcerated it provides us with an excellent opportunity to give them treatment. The will not seek treatment on their own. Without treatment, the chances of them continuing on with their past behavior are very high. But with the treatment programs we have today, things might be looking up. The studies done on the various programs, such as New York's Stay'n Out and Delaware's Key-Crest program, prove that there are cost effective ways available to treat these prisoners. Not only are they cost effective, but they are also proven to reduce recidivism rates significantly. These findings are very consistent throughout all of the research, there are not opposing views. I believe that we can effectively treat these prisoners while they are incarcerated and they can be released into society and be productive, not destructive. Nothing else has worked to this point, we owe it to them, and more importantly, we owe it to ourselves. We can again feel safe on the streets after dark, and we do not have to spend so much of our money to do it. ...read more.

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