Recently President Obama has expressed his dissatisfaction with how the criminal justice system deals with people convicted of drug crimes, saying that the typical course of sending someone to prison does nothing to break the suspect’s dependence on drugs. Rather, he and others in the federal government would like to see Minnesotans who are picked up on drug possession charges to enter treatment and alternative sentencing programs.
The new Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report says that 50 percent of men in Minneapolis who are arrested on any type of criminal charge will test positive for marijuana. Approximately 20 percent will test positive for some other kind of drug. The director of national drug control policy has said that the traditional criminal justice system does nothing to prevent these men from reoffending, but drug courts may help.
There are currently 2,600 drug courts across the country and there has been wide support to implement the use of these alternative sentencing programs for nonviolent drug offenders. The program puts a suspect in a treatment program and when he or she finishes, there is a 70 percent likelihood that he or she will not reoffend.
The chief researcher at the National Institute on Drug Abuse has said that the reason so many people who are picked up on drug charges will reoffend is because locking someone up does nothing to break an addiction. Drug use will change how a person’s brain works and it becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for someone to resist using drugs in the future. An alternative sentencing program, however, would teach that person how to cope with drug addiction.
Source: MSNBC, “Report: Marijuana use grows, cocaine falls among men arrested in 10 US cities,” Jim Gold, May 17, 2012