Question: Is prison the most adequate solution for criminals with drug charges?
I feel that incarceration is not an adequate solution for criminals with drug charges. People that are addicted to drugs or alcohol may have a very deep rooted problem that needs to be solved in the long term. Treatment is a much better solution in comparison to incarceration because it provides a healthy environment to begin the process of becoming an ex-addict. Society may be concerned with the idea of these criminals going unpunished, but in many aspects, treatment/rehab isolates prisoners from their friends and family in the short run which can be seen as punishment. Locking someone up in a cell does nothing but detain them and detainment should be reserved for people that are actually extremely dangerous to society.
Many jails end up filling up because people are locked up for petty drug crimes. This overpopulation of prisons could be solved if there was a better solution such as treatment and rehabilitation. Treatment would also negate the statistics that clearly state that inmates released from jail typically return to jail in the next three years or so. The Center for Disease Control estimated that about 1.9 million people in jail or prison used illicit substances. There’s a reason this is so high. People do not receive the help they need and sometimes they are not aware of the problem. Receiving treatment is more important than being punished because it will better society and give people a second chance at life. Some may argue that treatment is too expensive, but in the long run it will save society more money than continuing to build prisons, especially as incarceration rates rise. Costs of running prisons are already high and most of the time inmates do not receive much betterment from their time locked up. Treatment is a far more efficient and beneficial alternative to incarceration of criminals with drug related charges.