Text Size
Smaller
Bigger
Addiction Treatment in Prison

Cuts to Substance Abuse Treatment in Prison Leads to Longer Jail Sentences

posted 11:21 PM EST, Sun April 18, 2010

Officials say that in many states, budget cuts which eliminate substance abuse treatment programs in jails actually end up costing taxpayers more money, as inmates can’t comply with treatment recommendations that would earn them early parole and release.

Corrections officials say that substance abuse treatment programs often get eliminated or downsized in times of budget cutting. Unfortunately, what is done to save money can actually increase expenditures, as inmates are unable to get the kinds of addiction treatment that lead to early parole and release.

  • Texas is proposing to cut $23 million from the state corrections treatment budget
  • Kansas has cut prison treatment services by 60%
  • At Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility in Iowa, the elimination of 75% of the counseling staff has meant that 40 sex offenders will receive no treatment this year
  • California has cut its substance abuse contract counselors by 80%

Research shows that inmates with substance abuse problems are far more likely to reoffend. Unfortunately, according to Columbia University, only 11% of inmates needing treatment will get it.

With 60% less treatment programs available, Kansas Secretary of Corrections, Roger Werholtz, is feeling apprehensive, saying, “Our concern is that this will make it more difficult for inmates to put together valid release plans and will increase the probability that they will be unable to comply with conditions of their release or reoffend at a higher rate. We're just real nervous."

Should Texas go through with their proposed treatment cuts, 1300 fewer inmates would receive addiction treatment and 2000 more would lose access to substance abuse counseling.

Texas Sen. John Whitmire serves as the chair of the Texas Senate criminal Justice Committee. He opposes the proposed cuts, saying, "People say, 'How can you afford to (fund) this?’ My comeback is, 'How can you afford not to?”

Email It Send this page Print It Print friendly page Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category
Story Highlights
  • Corrections: budget cuts to treatment programs actually increase total expenditures.
Creative Commons License
Copyright Notice
We welcome republishing of our content on condition that you credit Choose Help and the respective authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Join Thousands of Readers

who receive our weekly recovery newsletter.

Like Our Site? Follow Us!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.