Lawmakers Reviewing Non-Violent Drug Offender Sentencing in Budget Crisis

The Sentencing Project by the Justice Policy Institute reported in 2000 that with mass releases of prisoners in Russia, the United States surged ahead to have the highest incarceration rate in the world. With 2,071,686 persons incarcerated in 2000, the United States, with just 5% of the world’s population, has roughly a quarter of the world’s prisoners.
Along with these hefty numbers comes big bills. It cost Americans $25.96 billion to imprison 1.3 million non-violent offenders in the year 2000, meaning our nation spent 50% more than the entire $16.6 billion the federal government spent on welfare programs that serve 8.5 million people. What are the results of this spending other than bigger and more prisons and jails with an ever-increasing budget demand? Some prisons are now facing the issue of even higher medical costs and even geriatric wards.
What types of crimes are the offenders being convicted of?
Sixty percent of the growth in the federal prison population over the last twenty years has been due to drug offender commitments. In states like Oklahoma, where 43 percent of offenders in 2001 were convicted of drug and alcohol crimes, the department of corrections is seeking more funding while the state is having to make budget cuts across the board. It is also forcing state lawmakers to restructure non-violent drug offender sentences. Some are reacting by decriminalizing smaller possession charges and first-time offenders, though that is not a total solution.
There is an answer to this quandary, and it’s called effective rehabilitation and prevention. With an average cost of nearly $30,000 per inmate per year, multiple-year sentences add up, but with rehabilitation in the fullest sense of the word, that money can be spent on improving our nation’s healthcare and education. One such program that is continually producing effective results throughout the world is the Narconon ® Program.Narconon literally means "narcotics-none" and was founded by a former heroin addict named William Benitez in Arizona State Prison in 1966. 37 years later, Narconon is still considered a new, proven approach to ending addiction through the drug rehabilitation methodology of L. Ron Hubbard.
This program is totally drug-free and it consists of communication and confront exercises, sauna detoxification to rid the body of the old drug residues and a series of courses that empower former addicts through learning life skills. The practical workability of the Narconon® Program’s social ducation model continually achieves extremely high success rates for helping individuals to overcome their addiction and become happy, ethical and productive members of society while remaining stably drug-free.

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