According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, two-thirds of Americans believe that drug offenders should be allowed to enter rehabilitation programs in lieu of serving time in prison. This highlights a significant shift away from the ‘war on drugs’ mentality of the 1970s. Both the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the Obama administration have emphasized decreasing incarceration rates for nonviolent drug offenses, and offering treatment options for offenders. While this idea sounds good, does rehabilitation really work to reduce crime?
Upsides of Rehabilitation
Studies have shown that rehabilitation can be effective in limiting repeat offenses, and mending crime-ridden communities. Considering how the American prison system has continued to expand and failed to lower crime, we should take a closer look at the benefits of rehabilitation and drug treatment programs:
Reducing recidivism – Did you know that more than 50 percent of prisoners reoffend within three years of leaving prison? Without proper education and alternatives, drug offenders will go back to what they know best. Rehabilitation programs can provide the training and support that individuals need in order to succeed, and avoid a life of crime. In addition, having a criminal record makes it difficult to obtain employment and housing. Offenders who do not have positive options are more likely to commit repeat, sometimes more serious, crimes in the future.
Improving mental and physical health – Rehabilitation helps to address the mental health and addiction issues that many criminal offenders deal with. Drug and alcohol addiction will not disappear when someone is locked up in prison. When left untreated, an offender will likely return to his destructive habits after his sentence ends. Drug diversion programs directly tackle the root of the illness, and can actually transform ‘criminals’ into healthy, contributing members of society.
Saving taxpayers money – The American prison system costs taxpayers $39 billion dollars a year! Only a small portion of the federal budget currently goes towards rehabilitation programs. However, by favoring drug diversion initiatives, we can cut costs significantly, and save up to half a billion dollars annually. Rehabilitation will also boost our economy by creating a more educated, healthy, and productive workforce.
Eligibility for Cincinnati Drug Diversion Programs
If you have been convicted of a drug-related offense in Cincinnati, you may be eligible for the state drug diversion program. While the choice is not typically available for high-level offenses, you may be able to receive intervention if any of the following apply:
- You are a first-time offender
- You are charged with marijuana possession, or a misdemeanor in relation to possession of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia
- You have not been previously convicted or found guilty of a felony charge
- You have not previously entered a drug diversion program in lieu of incarceration
- The prosecutor or judge recommends you for a rehabilitation program
In any case, you should consult with an experienced attorney to determine the best option for you. A knowledgeable Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you build a strong defense, and potentially enter into a rehabilitation program in exchange for reduced penalties.
Learn How a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
When you are charged in the Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky area, contact Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer Brad Groene of Luftman, Heck & Associates for a free consultation. He holds years of experience in successfully representing clients and protecting their constitutional rights. Call today at (513) 338-1890 to get your questions answered.