Make medication-assisted treatment for addiction available to non-violent drug offenders
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In 2008, 43.9% of offenders returned to prison within three years. 40.8% of those released in 2010 were incarcerated again within three years.
In 2015, Pennsylvania spent $42,727 a year per inmate. Residents each pay an average of $168 per year on state prisons, the 9th highest in the nation.
When those suffering from addiction commit non-violent crimes to support their addiction, we are seeing first hand that we cannot arrest ourselves out of this. We must treat addicts, not just punish them. It would be an investment in society, not an expense. Seattle, Washington currently gives those incarcerated the option to being medication-assisted treatment, such as Methadone or Suboxone. If Seattle can do it, Pennsylvania can do it.
This reduces recidivism for drug-related crimes, and reduces relapse rates. When we incarcerate an addict and deny them treatment, we are not only treating them inhumanely by forcing them to suffer withdraws which cause seizures and even death, we are also increasing their risk of death by overdose. When an addict is incarcerated and denied their medication, their tolerance of that substances drops significantly, so when they are released, and they inevitably use again, their chance of overdose skyrockets.
Now that we know that punishment is not working, and costs the taxpayers just as much, if not more, than it would to treat them (and treat them like human beings simultaneously) and release them back into society more prepared to cope with life without drugs and to become contributing members of society. Please support this movement and make America, and especially Pennsylvania, a better place!
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