Jail systems acknowledge inmate drug addiction in some form or another.  More often that not, an inmate’s addiction ends up just being an extension of his punishment; that is,  not much is done about it.   When an addicted inmate leave jail after serving time for a common crime of drug related theft or even possession, they are at risk of immediate relapse and overdose due to some degree of abstinence and lowered resistance to their drug of choice.  Many addicts are in and out of jail for the same things, sometimes dozens of times in the life of a street addict.  Clearly the cost  burden is chronic.  Why not capitalize on those lost expenditures?  A jail in New York called Tompkins has embraced a program of seizing an opportunity for treatment. The idea of responsibly taking this task on, has led successfully to recovery for addicts leaving the criminal justice system.   Accepting Tompkin’s treatment program as a paradigm  (download PDF) is a no brain choice.  The resources are already in place and with minimal training and protocol, the vast number of jails and prisons that do little to nothing can easily step on board.  The benefits are clear.  Inmates benefiting from what America’s criminal justice system has founded its principles on; rehabilitate the inmate and release a functional human being back into society.  Even if it works for 10% of addict-inmates that would amount to 90,000 addicts leaving the criminal justice system with the tools and will to stay clean.  Addiction Treatments Past and Present summarizes some of the basics.

Advertisements