Drug Addiction and Community Supervision

Rethinking the Consequences of Relapse

A recent editorial in The New York Times argued that incarcerating parolees and probationers who struggle with drug addiction is an outdated policy that should be revisited in favor of treatment and milder sanctions. The piece quoted Marron's Mark Kleiman:

Policies that punish relapse with jail time and keep sufferers from proven treatments are part and parcel of a nearly 50-year war on drugs, predicated almost entirely on criminalization, that no reasonable person would say is working. It costs about $33,000 a year to imprison someone for a nonviolent drug offense and $6,000 to treat someone with [medication-assisted therapy] MAT.


It would not, as some critics contend, necessitate freeing everyone with a diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder from facing any consequences for drug use. “It doesn’t have to be, and it shouldn’t be, an all-or-nothing proposition,” Mr. Kleiman says. “You still want to have consequences, but they should be fair.”

Read the Editorial

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