Substance Abuse

News Article The Montgomery Advertiser November 1, 2005

Groups say prison not addicts' place (AL)

Efforts to divert drug addicts and other nonviolent criminals away from state prisons are gaining momentum months before Alabama's 2006 legislative session.

On Monday, the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates the legalization of medical marijuana and policy changes in the way America deals with drug addicts, released "Alabama Prison Crisis: A Justice Strategies Policy Report."

"Substance abuse is driving the prison crisis," said Kevin Pranis, an analyst with Justice Strategies, the New York-based nonprofit group commissioned to do the report.

JS Publication September 13, 2005

Unfinished Business: How Sentencing Guidelines Reform Can Further Efforts to Reduce Substance Abuse in Maryland

Despite recent efforts in Maryland to expand access to treatment for addicts caught up in the criminal justice system, the bulk of the state resources available for addressing the problem remain "locked up" in the prison system. The nearly 5,000 drug prisoners incarcerated in Maryland (1 in 5 state prisoners) represent a $100 million-a-year "investment" in a failed approach to combating addiction.

In 2004, Governor Robert Ehrlich and state legislature enacted an historic piece of legislation designed to redirect addicts from prisons and jails into substance abuse treatment by expanding the options available to prosecutors, judges and the Parole Commission. That legislation is only as good as the funding that is available to provide the treatment options for the courts divert people to.

A Justice Strategies analysis of sentencing patterns for drug offenses, which was commissioned by The Campaign for Treatment, Not Incarceration, determined that the state's drug sentencing guidelines are part of the problem. The guidelines, which establish recommended sentence ranges based on the nature of the offense and the defendant's criminal history, promote an outdated "lock 'em-up" response to substance abuse by: Read more »

Syndicate content