Does drug treatment belong in prison?

July 7, 2010

Of the 2.3 million inmates in the U.S., more than half have a history of substance abuse and addiction. Treating drug addicts in prison works better and costs less than imprisonment alone. So why are states abandoning it?

One obstacle is the perception that addicts get what they deserve and the only way to treat addiction is abstinence. Another obstacle: Politicians don’t want to be seen as being seen as soft on crime. And even if they support the idea, with state budgets under a crunch, treatment can start to look expendable.

Steven Belenko, a professor of criminal justice at Temple, says people who work in prisons don’t necessarily think that way: “Correctional professionals recognize the importance of these types of services,” Belenko said.

To read more about this topic and what Belenko has to say, check out Newsweek’s The Case for Treating Drug Addicts in Prison

–Kim Fischer

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