This image pretty well sums it up. Did you know that for every 1 person arrested, 29 people make money?!
It is no wonder that all manner of people/groups spend BILLIONS of dollars annually fighting needed changes to our wildly screwed up justice system.
For them, it is merely job preservation.
Never mind that most of them don’t actually help anyone, (neither individuals nor society) that the system is so fucked up that thousands – yes, thousands – of innocent people are locked up, convicted, every year, that lives are ruined needlessly, families are torn apart, by imprisoning non violent offenders and the mentally ill …
READ How The War on Drugs Destroyed Justice = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/how-the-war-on-drugs-has-destroyed-justice/ = I remember when the system worked well; justice nearly always was the result. Today it is a total train wreck – perhaps the most vivid manifestation is that we are imprisoning hundreds of innocent people every year. This is WHY it is a train wreck! READ IT!
Prison guard unions, police unions, DAs’ Associations, private prison companies, the thousands of contractors who provide goods and services (most services – “programs” – are a joke, totally useless) to inmates and probationers [nearly 5 MILLION Americans are on probation – most needlessly!] … all these and more stand in the way of justice and of real progress! 🙁
But you can be damn sure of one thing: I’ll keep fighting, keep sounding the alarm. PLEASE DO YOUR PART AND SHARE THIS POST! Thanks.
The fucking guards should pay, inasmuch as THEY bring in most of the drugs! If you don’t think so you have NO clue about what goes on in our prisons. I have seen it!
Excerpts from the Article:
On March 15, 2019, the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) implemented a change to its disciplinary procedures for prisoners. Policy No. 803 now mandates that prisoners requiring hospital treatment for substance abuse must repay the cost of “all medical related expenses,” including ambulance transport, as well as the “cost of staff overtime.”
ADOC spokesperson Bill Lamoreaux said that while the department “understands that the struggle with addiction is not an easy one,” it believes that “obtaining contraband illegal drugs while incarcerated requires a series of deliberate and extremely poor choices.”
Even prior to this policy change, the ADOC charged prisoners a $4 copay for healthcare visits and took 10 percent of deposits into prisoners’ trust accounts to cover medical treatment costs. ADOC prisoners who test positive for illegal drugs must also pay for the urinalysis test. Prison officials insist the policy is designed simply to hold prisoners accountable for their actions.
ADOC prisoners with jobs typically earn 10 to 80 cents an hour. About seven percent of the state’s prison population – around 3,000 prisoners – receive drug treatment, though 78 percent have “significant substance abuse histories,” according to a March 2019 ADOC report. Methadone is only provided to pregnant prisoners who are addicted to opioids, per accepted medical protocols.
Rebecca Fealk, program coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee in Arizona, said prisoners have told her group, “Oh yeah, my treatment was a worksheet that asked me about negative outcomes from using.”
Karen Hellman, division director of Inmate Programs & Reentry for the ADOC, admitted to the state House Judiciary Committee in March 2019, “I could not today treat everyone in the system who needed treatment immediately. The need of the inmates is greater than our capacity to deliver.”
Dr. Josiah Rich, director of The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Rhode Island’s Miriam Hospital, said that Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a disease and the new policy betrays “an ignorance about what the disease is and how to treat it.”
“People don’t decide, ‘Hey, I think I’ll overdose today,’” Rich said. “They don’t decide, ‘Oh, I better not overdose today because I might have to pay money from my account to pay for the treatment I’m going to need.’ People overdose because there’s a discrepancy between how much tolerance they have and the amount and purity of the drug and the potency of the drug that they consume.” Dr. Kimberly Sue, medical director of the Harm Reduction Coalition and a physician at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, agreed that the ADOC’s policy “runs counter to the reality of addiction.”
“An opioid overdose inside a prison indicates medical mismanagement of a treatable disorder,” she said, adding that “for the people currently incarcerated, we should be providing medications if at all possible in the case of [OUD].”
Treating addiction as the poor choice of people who just need a stronger sense of morality is really “just reflexively punitive and entirely counterproductive,” noted David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project.
“From a public health perspective, this is the worst policy imaginable,” he added. “The solution is treatment, not punishment.”
The ADOC is struggling to meet the terms of a class-action settlement reached in 2015 over its healthcare services. For its failure to do so, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Duncan levied a $1.4 million fine in June 2019. [See: PLN, April 2019, p.56; May 2018, p.28].
In December 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver named an outside evaluator to report on the ADOC’s medical services. Fathi said the new policy “certainly is consistent with some of the resistance that we have seen in the case to providing even basic and life-saving healthcare,” and “This obviously does affect the ability of our clients in [the class-action suit] to get necessary healthcare.”
Essay on the Guilty Plea, by Ken Abraham: The ‘Voluntarily and Knowingly Made’ Standard – This is a HUGE Myth! – kra
This is one of the greatest myths in the world of criminal justice: that one’s guilty plea is/was ‘Voluntarily and Knowingly Made’ .
About 95% to 98% of all cases end in a guilty plea. In 2018 alone, in the federal system there were 73,109 federal convictions with 71,550 of them being guilty pleas. And the federal system is only 15% of all cases!
When one pleads guilty [READ Rush to Sentence – A Major, Awful Consequence of our “War on Drugs”! = http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/rush-to-sentence-a-major-awful-consequence-of-our-war-on-drugs/ to learn WHY so many cases end in a plea,], the judge asks you, on the record, a series of questions. You usually also sign a page with the same questions, saying that you understand them and agree to them, further dooming your chances of getting JUSTICE later – and thereafter, you chances of undoing that guilty plea are, literally, less than one in a million!
The standard is whether one’s guilty plea was ‘Voluntarily and Knowingly Made’ . What a sad joke! Far, far faaaaar too many times, the defendant is too petrified and/or ill-informed by his jackass lawyer to know what the hell is going on! He/she is “a deer in the headlights”, doing what his/her attorney told him or her to do!
For various reasons, many of those attorneys should be SHOT. And if you don’t think so you need to …
How an Unheralded Change to Criminal Procedure Law §150.20 Will Overhaul Arrest Procedures in New York – EVERY State should have such arrest and ticketing procedures! – kra
This sensible policy will save taxpayers millions of dollars in prison and other costs; enacted nationwide, it could save tens of billions of dollars. As with so many needed reforms, it threatens the useless jobs of thousands of cops, prison guards, private contractors, and others … who spend countless millions of $$$$$$$$$ lobbying against needed reforms.
Excerpts from the Article:
On Jan. 1, 2020, a highly publicized criminal justice reform law went into effect in New York state. In the wake of the law’s enactment, the Governor, legislators and the legal community have primarily focused on changes to two aspects of the criminal procedure law: bail and discovery. While these changes have caught the headlines, the Legislature has instituted another modification to the Criminal Procedure Law that could even more significantly impact the lives of New Yorkers. The Legislature has amended the text of CPL 150.20(1)(a), which covers police practices for issuing appearance tickets for certain offenses. The new text of CPL 150.20(1)(a) reads,
Whenever a police officer is authorized pursuant to section 140.10 of this title to arrest a person without a warrant for an offense other than a class A, B, C or D felony or a violation of section 130.25, 130.40, 205.10, 205.17, 205.19 or 215.56 of the penal law, he [may] shall, except as set out in paragraph (b) of this subdivision, subject to the provisions of subdivisions three and four of section 150.40 of this title, instead issue to and serve upon such person an appearance ticket.
(emphasis added). By replacing the word “may” with “shall”, the plain meaning of CPL 150.20(1)(a) now bars arrests for most low-level offenses and instead mandates that police serve an appearance ticket upon most individuals who have committed misdemeanors or violations. Specifically, the statute states that police must not only issue an appearance ticket to an individual suspected of a low level crime but must issue a ticket instead of arresting that individual. An “appearance ticket” in the statute refers to any instrument issued by an authorized officer that directs a person to appear in criminal court. In practice, an “appearance ticket” can refer to a desk appearance ticket (DAT), which is issued at the police precinct following an arrest, or a criminal summons, for which an arrest is not required. Because CPL 150.20(1)(a) bars arrests for most low level crimes, it follows that the police are required to issue a criminal summons on the street to a person who is suspected of a low level crime as opposed to issuing a DAT, for which an arrest is required. In limited circumstances pursuant to 150.20(1)(b), such as a sex-related offense or domestic violence, the police can arrest the individual and not issue an appearance ticket.
This alteration constitutes a sea change in arrest procedures in New York state, where until now, the police have had discretion regarding when to issue an appearance ticket and when to arrest. In 2018, in New York City alone, 128,194 individuals were arrested for misdemeanor offenses, and countless more were arrested for violations. Under the new CPL 150.20(1)(a), a large majority of these individuals can no longer be arrested. Although the meaning of the law is plain and unequivocal, nobody—not the Governor, legislators, or criminal justice stakeholders—have addressed its implementation or ramifications.
The question then becomes, if officers are not permitted to arrest an individual when there is probable cause that a low level crime was committed, then what level of intrusion is permitted before the officer issues an appearance ticket? Drawing from People v. DeBour, which defines the levels of police intrusion, police will be able to ask the suspect questions implying criminality (DeBour level 2) and will be able to forcibly stop and detain the individual (DeBour level 3). Prior to the change in law, it was common police practice to either handcuff individuals or to transport them to a precinct before issuing appearance tickets. However, both of those actions constitute arrests and therefore are now prohibited by 150.20(1)(a) for most low level offenses.
First, the Court of Appeals has held that handcuffing an individual constitutes an arrest unless the individual poses a threat to the officer’s safety. In People v. Allen, 73 N.Y.2d 378 (1989), the Court of Appeals reasoned that the use of handcuffs will constitute an arrest if they are applied gratuitously and for reasons unrelated to the threat of danger to officers. See also People v. Tirado, 69 N.Y.2d 863 (1987); People v. Robinson, 282 A.D.2d 75 (1st Dept. 2001). In Allen, the police handcuffing a suspect did not constitute an arrest because the handcuffing took place following a chaotic chase of the suspect and because the police had reasonable suspicion that the suspect was armed and dangerous. These factors rose to the requisite level of danger to permit the application of handcuffs without constituting an arrest. This New York jurisprudence indicates that after the passage of CPL 150.20(1)(a), the police will only be able to place handcuffs on an individual suspected of a low level crime if they believe that that suspect is armed and dangerous or otherwise poses a threat to police. For most low level crimes covered by CPL 150.20(1)(a), that will not be the case. In most situations, individuals charged with low level offenses will pose minimal danger to the officers, which will make the act of handcuffing an arrest. Thus, police will only be able to forcibly stop individuals up to the point of Debour level 3 before issuing them tickets for low level crimes and will not be able to handcuff them unless they pose a threat to the officers.
Second, transporting an individual suspected of low level crimes to the police precinct for booking before issuing them an appearance ticket (the procedure for issuing a DAT) likely constitutes an arrest and is therefore prohibited for most low level offenses. In People v. Hicks, 68 N.Y.2d 234 (2002), the Court of Appeals held that the suspect was not arrested when he was transported for one mile in a police cruiser and without handcuffs for the purpose of being identified by a witness on the street. However, in Hicks, the court noted that if the person were transported to the police station, such transport would have increased the level of intrusion to an arrest. Consequently, if the police transport an individual to the precinct solely for the purpose of issuing an appearance ticket, such action will likely constitute an arrest in violation of CPL 150.20(1)(a).
For low level crimes covered by CPL 150.20(1)(a), the police will not be able to place an individual in handcuffs unless their safety is threatened and will not be able to transport an individual to the precinct prior to the issuance of the appearance ticket. Therefore, for the vast majority of low level offenses, the police will have to issue appearance tickets on the street following a maximum DeBour level 3 intrusion.
At this point, no police department in New York state has implemented new protocols for street level interactions for low level crimes. This means that a large number of people have already been arrested for low level crimes who should have been issued appearance tickets instead. Such action violates the Legislature’s explicit decision in CPL 150.20(1)(a) to reform arrest practices, which will limit the negative consequences of arrests such as missed work, neglected child care, and most importantly, a significant invasion of an individual’s privacy and personal integrity.
Criminal justice stakeholders throughout New York must be aware of this paradigm-shifting development in arrest and ticketing procedures.
Study: Medical Cannabis Access Associated with Fewer Workers’ Comp Claims – Another good reason to legalize! – kra
Read this and then open the Study to learn of lower absenteeism and other workplace benefits where Pot is legal!
Excerpts from the Article:
The enactment of state-specific medical cannabis access laws is associated with a decline in workers’ compensation claims, according to data published in the journal Health Economics.
A team of researchers affiliated with Temple University in Pennsylvania and the University of Cincinnati in Ohio assessed the relationship between medical marijuana legalization laws and workers’ compensation claims over a 23-year period.
Authors reported that legal cannabis access was associated with a nearly seven percent decline in workers’ compensation claims. “Post MML, workers’ compensation claiming declines, both the propensity to claim and the level of income from workers’ comp,” authors determined. “These findings suggest that medical marijuana can allow workers to better manage symptoms associated with workplace injuries and illnesses and, in turn, reduce need for workers’ compensation.”
They concluded: “Our findings add to the small, but growing, literature on the effects of MMLs on labor market outcomes. On net, the available findings suggest that MML passage may increase work capacity among older adults, reduce work absences, improve workplace safety, and reduce WC (workers’ compensation) claiming and the pain and suffering associated with workplace injuries.”
Full text of the study, “Medical marijuana and workers’ compensation claiming,” appears in Health Economics. Additional information is available in the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Legalization and Impact on the Workplace,”.
A CASE STUDY IN HOPE LESSONS FROM OAKLAND’S REMARKABLE REDUCTION IN GUN VIOLENCE – EXCELLENT 107 PAGE REPORT – KRA
This is FANTASTIC good news! Time to get serious about gun control! If you ARE a gun control activist, READ THIS ARTICLE … it will help you.
Excerpts from the Article:
“The good news is that, as this series of reports has shown, urban gun violence is preventable. Just ask the residents of Oakland, California, long considered to be among the most dangerous cities in America—where shootings and homicides are down almost 50% since 2012.”
Giffords Law Center, Faith in Action, and the Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium are proud to present A Case Study in Hope: Lessons from Oakland’s Remarkable Reduction in Gun Violence, the third installment in our series of reports on tackling the gun violence crisis in our cities.
Interpersonal gun violence in the United States has been steadily climbing for the past two decades. In 2017, more than 14,500 Americans were victims of gun
homicide, and tens of thousands more were injured in a shooting. This is unacceptable.
Nowhere is this public health epidemic more evident than in our cities, particularly in underserved communities of color. Truly making our nation safer requires
addressing this violence head-on. The good news is that, as this series of reports has shown, urban gun violence is preventable. Just ask the residents of Oakland, California, long considered to be among the most dangerous cities in America—where shootings and homicides
are down almost 50% since 2012.
This tremendous progress didn’t happen spontaneously. It was the result of hard work and careful planning, collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders, and most of all, hope. A Case Study in Hope tells the remarkable story of Oakland’s long struggle to reduce gun violence and identifies key takeaways for cities around the country facing this epidemic.
As Oakland partners have learned, reducing shootings requires true collaboration between community members, law enforcement officers, and city leaders working in concert to intervene with the small population of those at highest risk for engaging in serious violence.
A Case Study in Hope lays out in detail the steps Oakland took to get to this point and presents best practices for other cities to learn from this encouraging success. By scaling up strategies like these, we can build the safer, healthier communities that all Americans deserve.
I post this here and send out the Letter because it is important for everyone involved in the criminal justice system to have integrity, be honest, have courage! Too many, instead, are self-serving, greedy, cowards with no moral compass!
Letter to the Editor – “Guts and Glory” to Mitt! – 2/6/20
Every one of those Senators took an oath – made a promise to you and to the nation – to decide IMPEACHMENT in an honest way, impartially, based on the facts. And Mitt Romney is the ONLY Republican who did!
Surely a modern re-write of Profiles in Courage would include Mitt Romney.
READ https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/02/romney-impeach-trump/606127/ Romney Votes “Guilty”
Ken Abraham, former prosecutor, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE 302–423-4067
I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH THOUSANDS OF READERS! The keys to getting your Letter published are:
1. Keep it to 250 words or fewer.
2. Do not make it about “poor little old me”. Describe the problem as one which not only affects the individual, but is a senseless or ineffective measure, policy, or law which also harms communities and society. For example, with reentry, the obstacles make it unnecessarily difficult for the individual, but also harm society by making it hard to become productive, spending money and paying taxes in the community, and they cause increased recidivism = increased crime.
3. Speak from your heart.
4. Google any facts you are not sure about.
5. Do not name-call.
Do what works: Write that Letter!
Letter to Editor – sign name, town, state, and your phone number (they often call to verify that you sent it), and “Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE” if you like – shows you are part of a large group.
Send the email to yourself, and put on the “bcc” bar the email addresses for Letters to the Editor for the top ten newspapers in your state and several national ones – The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, U S A Today (google the Letter to Editor email addresses). Any questions, CALL me at 302-423-4067!
GOOGLE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” FOR THE TOP TEN NEWSPAPERS IN YOUR STATE AND SAVE THAT INFORMATION FOR REPEATED USE – Some papers will print a letter from you every 2 ekke, some every 30 days, some every 90 days. They have varying policies. But if you really want to make a difference shoot them a new letter once a month! I send one out every 2 weeks.
Need a Letter on some criminal justice issue and not a great letter writer? NO EXCUSE! Email me a rough draft and call me and I’ll polish it up! email@example.com .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.
No one governor can end the “war on drugs”, but ALL should call for its end. Any cop can tell you that at least 85% of ALL crime is drug related!
This is not rocket science; it is about dumbass politicians standing up to those lobbying them against constructive changes: Prison guard unions, police unions, private prisons and the dozens of companies that serve them, and scores of others, making money on the status quo!
Excerpts from the Article:
Gov. Larry Hogan called for decisive action to fight “out-of-control violent crime” he said is “destroying Baltimore” in his annual State of the State address Wednesday to the Maryland General Assembly. From a boy shot in the stomach while riding in a car with his family on a Saturday morning to a grandmother killed in gang crossfire last month, Hogan cited examples to emphasize the toll crime is taking and the need for action.
“This is an urgent crisis, and we have an obligation to do something about it right now,” Hogan said. “There can be no more excuses and no more delays.” Baltimore had 348 homicides last year — the fifth straight year of more than 300 killings — making it the city’s most violent year ever per capita. Last month, 12 people were shot, five of them fatally, in eight separate weekend shootings.
The governor, as well as lawmakers from both parties, have proposed packages of legislation to try to address the problem.
Hogan has proposed tougher penalties for witness intimidation and for people who use guns to commit violent crimes. He’s calling for stronger penalties for people who possess stolen firearms and guns with obliterated serial numbers, as well as for people who possess or supply illegal guns to violent criminals.
Democrats, who control the legislature, proposed a package of their own Tuesday. Sen. Melony Griffith, a Prince George’s County Democrat who gave a response to the governor’s speech, said the plan seeks to fight crime and its root causes, including the closing loopholes in the law related to illegal firearms.
“We know there’s no single solution to this complex issue, but there are steps that we can take to implement thoughtful and comprehensive approaches to addressing crime,” Griffith said. Del. Luke Clippinger, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said he did not believe simply raising penalties would be enough. He noted that the state increased penalties in 2018 for repeat violent offenders.
“We apparently don’t talk about that very much anymore, because we’ve gotten no evidence at all that that actually did anything,” Clippinger said. “We need to look at the bigger picture.”
Lawmakers say the severity of the problem demands a bipartisan response. “It has to be, because it’s not just Baltimore city anymore,” said Sen. Stephen Hershey, an Eastern Shore Republican who is the Senate minority whip. ”It’s spreading out to the neighboring counties. It has to be something that is addressed by both sides.”
Homicides jumped about 85% in Baltimore County last year compared to the prior year, from 27 to 50.
The Whole Story:
Why is this here? Because tRump is as bad for our justice system as he is for the rest of my America!
Why is this here? Because tRump is as bad for our justice system as he is for the rest of my America!
These cruel, racist, spineless traitors must GO!
READ Can’t you see how serious this is?!
WAKE UP, PEOPLE! YOU ARE THE WHALE! 🙂 ACT! = https://lnkd.in/dFNhiFg
I do my patriotic duty by providing this information. PLEASE DO YOURS BY TAKING A MOMENT TO SHARE THIS POST! If we don’t ACT, these cruel, scumbags will crawl into office again! 🙁 🙁
If you have not read my article you should, and then …. it is just a couple of clicks … SHARE IT!
Restore my AMERICA! Bernie, Biden, Bloomberg, Warren, whoever it is, be sure you are registered and then VOTE! THANKS.
Good. This is another wildly dysfunctional part of the system. I know from my many contacts, my readings, and my own experience, that virtually NONE of the prison run programs are effective! The private companies submit a bid of 13 million $$$, or 40 million$$$, … to provide a treatment program. The program looks good on paper, the contractor gets the big bucks, …. and the difference between what is on the proposal and what goes on in the prisons makes the Grand Canyon look like a crack in the sidewalk! The “classes” are just bullshit sessions. They should have some empirical way to know which ones WORK!
Excerpts from the Article:
Lawmakers’ ongoing discussions about sentencing reform have turned a spotlight on substance abuse treatment in Arizona prisons, and the stark lack of options for the more than three quarters of inmates who have addiction issues.
The Arizona Department of Corrections says 78 percent of the inmates in its custody have a history of substance abuse at the time they’re admitted into prison. But less than 4 percent of all inmates who spent time in Arizona prisons in fiscal year 2019 received treatment while behind bars.
At the end of November, 933 inmates were enrolled in substance abuse programming. That accounted for about 2.2 percent of the total inmate population of 42,562. Department spokesman Bill Lamoreaux emphasized that that figure is just a snapshot of enrollment, and doesn’t account for people who have completed treatment but are still incarcerated.
Of the 60,272 inmates who saw the inside of a state correctional facility during the last fiscal year, only 2,299, or about 3.8 percent of the year’s total prison population, graduated from substance abuse programs.
The need for treatment exceeds the availability of programming, Lamoreaux said.
Mireles had already done several stints in prison when she was sentenced to five years for property crimes she committed to feed her heroin addiction in 2013. This time, she was committed to getting sober and kicking her 28-year heroin addiction.“Any crime I’ve ever committed has been in regard to getting my fix,” said Mireles, who has now been sober for nearly seven years.
In her five years in Perryville, Mireles sent five letters to prison officials asking to be enrolled in substance abuse treatment. The first four went ignored, she said. Officials finally responded on the fifth try and said she would be placed on a waiting list for a program. But by then, Mireles had less than a year left on her sentence and therefore was ineligible to participate. Mireles’s predicament isn’t uncommon. The Department of Corrections uses a ranking system based on need, risk to recidivate and time remaining on a prison sentence to determine which inmates get enrolled in programming. Inmates who can qualify for an early release by completing substance abuse counseling go to the front of the line. Treatment ranges from 36 hours for people convicted of drunk driving to 12-month “intensive treatment,” according to Lamoreaux.
In August, Karen Hellman, who runs the Department of Corrections’ division for inmate programs, told a legislative committee studying sentencing reform that 13 of her division’s 26 positions for substance abuse treatment counselors were vacant. Lamoreaux told the Arizona Mirror that a recent salary increase has helped fill six vacant positions.
Under Arizona’s “truth in sentencing” law, inmates must serve at least 85 percent of their sentences, but can earn the option to serve the remaining 15 percent on community supervision. A 2019 law lowered the requirement to 70 percent for people who were only convicted of drug offenses, if they complete addiction counseling or other programming. As of late June, 101 inmates were already eligible for early release and nearly 7,400 others could become eligible in the future.
While inmates who are in line for an early release have an obvious need for priority, that may leave other inmates without access to the treatment they need. Inmates with substance abuse problems and long prison sentences often go many years before receiving treatment. Mireles was granted an early release after serving 85 percent of her sentence in exchange for attending 90 days of substance abuse treatment after her release.
Even when treatment is available, it’s not always of the highest caliber. Rebecca Fealk, program coordinator for the Arizona chapter of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that promotes criminal justice reform, has heard many stories from former inmates about treatment that basically consists of, “do this packet and I’ll watch you in the classroom while you complete this packet, which talks about making the right choices or what kind of coping mechanisms would you have so you don’t do drugs again.”
“That’s not actual treatment and counseling. Those are worksheets,” Fealk said.
Donna Hamm, director of the prison reform organization Middle Ground, said treatment sometimes consists of little more than filling out a workbook, and those in need sometimes don’t even get counselor. When they do, she said, “counselor” is often a misnomer. Joe Watson, a former inmate who now works for the American Friends Service Committee, said treatment is often provided not by counselors but by correctional officers who lack training in treating substance abuse issues.
“Our law enforcement agencies are very good at finding out who does what and arresting them for it. But we keep hearing that they end up arresting the same people over and over again because we’re not doing anything to address the underlying issue,” Roberts said.
Gov. Doug Ducey said the state needs money for substance abuse treatment in its prisons. It’s unclear whether he’ll push for more funding in the fiscal year 2021 budget, but said he plans to focus on reducing recidivism.
“Prison … is not the best place for people with mental health issues, often substance abuse issues. Sometimes people are in prison because they’re feeding that addiction. So we are looking at different alternatives in terms of reforms that we can have so that we can give people a second chance and allow them to make a better choice. And substance abuse programs are part of that,” the governor told reporters in December.
Fealk, on the other hand, doesn’t believe the department needs for funding at all. The Department of Corrections has a budget of about $1.1 billion. Rather than give it more, Fealk said the department needs to change the way it spends its money to prioritize things like treatment.
The Whole Story: