Free Residential Drug Treatment as an Alternative to Incarceration

Subject: Health Care
Type: Proposal Essay
Pages: 11
Word count: 2955
Topics: Drug Abuse, Addiction, Community, Criminal Justice
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Abstract

The purpose of this proposal is to address a community need that enables individuals with drug/or alcohol related charges to enter residential drug treatment free of cost as an alternative to incarcerating them. Scholars acknowledge that incarceration provides little or no help to an inmate who has an addiction problem. At the same time, jails fall short in providing conventional substance abuse therapy, follow-up care, relapse prevention or a plan of re-entry. It has been noted that addicted prisoners die in jail as a result of unsafe detoxing methods. Therefore, providing residential treatment also lowers the chance of recidivism. The proposal will examine the models that address the problems of the society and includes a plan to build more treatment facilities, educating police officers, prosecutors, judges and heads of probation departments.  

Keywords: drugs, community needs, incarceration, recidivism, relapse and prevention, intervention plan.

Free Residential Drug Treatment as an Alternative to Incarceration

The United States has a long history of drug treatment of inmates. For the past 87 years, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has been administering treatment to addicted offenders. However, its service has weakened with the increasing number of prisoners. In brief, in the period between 2000 and 2017, the number of detainees have significantly increased. The estimated number of inmates in the federal prisons, juvenile correctional centers, local jails and state prisons is more than 2.3 million prisoners (Federal Bureau of Prisons, 2017). Chandler, Fletcher, and Volkow (2009) identified that the majority of prisoners are incarcerated due to drug offenses or closely related crimes. The state prisons alone hold 1,330, 000 offenders, which is higher than half the number of total prisoners in all the prisons (Wagner & Sakala, 2014). These statistics shows that the issue of imprisonment related to drug offenses is a common problem in all states throughout the USA. Statistics show that 46.2% of total prisoners comprise those imprisoned for drug offenses. As a result of increased substance use, there has been mass incarceration in the USA. Over the past one decade, 2011 recorded the highest level of incarceration with a number greater than that of 2010 by 7500 offenders (BOP, 2017). Therefore, this proposal attempts to address the issue of increasing incarceration of addicted offenders through providing inpatient drugs and treatment programs, educating the addicted in the society as well as creating awareness. This proposal will use the community need analysis model below.

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Assessment

Specific Community Need

This plan is designed to address the problem of increasing incarceration of addicted offenders in the USA. The idea is to resolve a community need that provides individuals with drug/or alcohol related charges the ability to enter residential drug treatment free of cost as an alternative to incarcerating them. It is known that the highest percentage of prisoners in the USA (46.2%) comprise of the drug traffickers and addicts. Therefore, helping this portion access inpatient drugs and treatment will be a vital step in ensuring decreased level of incarceration in the US.

Evidence That the Community Need Exist

The data provided by the Bureau of Prisons in the USA shows that in June 2017, the highest number of prisoners in the USA is drug offender. Similarly, 78.7% of all the prisoners are American Citizens across all states in the United States of America. Sadly, the highest number of the prisoners (18.6) are middle-aged persons at the prime of the productivity age (36-40). The population has a normal distribution with the highest population lying between 31-35 years (17.1%), 41-45 (15.1%) and 46-50 (11.2%). The maximum number of victims are the youths and middle-aged persons aged 31-50 years. Apart from what the data shows, the writer of the proposal is a substance abuse therapist and a psychologist who have witnessed poor ways in which addiction is addressed in the current criminal justice system.

There is a great danger when the highest number of prisoners comprises the productive group of society. Persons between the age of 31 and 50 years constitute the productive unit of the country. They are the people who come up with innovative ideas and technological advancements that thrust the economy forward. At the same time, this is the group of individuals who are young parents struggling with bringing up their children and educating them. Therefore, it is a threat for a country to have the highest productive labor force in the prisons (Martin, Butzin, Saum, & Inciardi, 1999). It is equally threatening to have parents in jail because their children lack parental guidance and attention, and may end up being indiscipline and immoral. If the latter is the case, these kids will end up in drugs will then be sent to jail. The community will then be held up in a cycle of drug addicts. In the long-run, the country economy will reside, and crime levels will rise (Field, 1989). For such reasons, it is important to address the need as soon as possible. 

Similarly, different scholars have carried out research and written many articles that address the vice of alcoholism and drug addiction. Oates (1995) wrote an article on addiction that convincingly shows the effects of substance abuse that lead to incarceration. In the article, the author uses an American family of Mr. Weidal who is a drunkard. The Weidel’s family was known in Millersport. Mr. Weidel was referred to as a man who was irresponsible, an addict who even ‘did things’ to her daughters. His alcoholism had brought untold suffering to the family. Mrs. Weidel had been forced to become the city cleaner to provide for the family. At one point, Mr, Weidel wanted to burn the family alive while sleeping. He had come home drunk, took a barrel of petrol and set the house on fire. Luckily enough, the family was able to escape alive, and Mr. Weidel was imprisoned. Having in mind that literature is a mirror of the community, then, present information shows that the American community needs the residential treatment of the addicted members as an alternative to incarceration.

Factors causing the community need

The principal cause of the community need is poorly managed addiction in prisons. The question in wrong addiction management strategies traces its roots to the education status of the key stakeholders involved. It is important first to understand that addiction is not a choice, it is a disease. Therefore, all participants in the criminal justice system, as well as the drug offenders, should become conversant with the issue of addiction. First, we should understand the cause of substance abuse, which eventually leads to addiction. In this paper, we will examine the cause of drug addiction and then focus on the reasons for the need to have an inpatient treatment program for the addicted inmates.

People find themselves using drugs because of trauma, relationship issues, stress, poverty, mental illnesses, low self-esteem, peer pressure and chronic pain among others (Hiller, Knight, & Simpson, 1999). However, people rarely understand what causes addiction since not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted (Inciardi, Martin, & Butzin, 2004). Therefore, people need to be educated on the causes of addiction. First, the genetic composition of an individual determines his/her vulnerability to addiction (Kopak, Hurt, Proctor, & Hoffmann, 2016). For example, research shows that a male, Africa-American is more vulnerable to becoming a drug addict. Similarly, the environmental factors contribute to the probability of an individual becoming a drug addict. In this context, the environment refers to the entire human and non-human surrounding of an individual. That is the family, the friends, the security of a place, economic and social status and the whole neighborhood. For instance, a child from a family where the parents are in constant quarrels and who abuse drugs will probably become a drug addict. The same case is similar to a person from an insecure environment where no law applies, and the level of crime is extremely high (Lang, & Belenko, 2000). Another cause of addiction is the stage of development involved with the drug abuse. For example, the youths are more vulnerable to addiction than persons in the middle age and old age. However, it is important to note that any individual at any particular age can become an addict.

In this case, the community in question is that of addicted inmates. The community need is an inpatient addiction treatment program. The factors leading to the need include; poor education, high levels of recidivism, highly populated prisons, a large number of deaths in the prisons and poor treatment methods in the lockup facilities. In many studies, it is noted that at least 69%-78% of criminal offenders released from prison will be incarcerated once more for criminal misconduct. Researchers suggest that the primary cause of poor treatment and hence high levels of recidivism is the small budget allocated to the correctional programs in prisons. It is noted that only one-fifth of all drug offenders benefit from these programs. Other scholars note that inadequate education is a primary source of the system failure in the correctional programs. Therefore, we will address this issue in depth later on in the paper. In my opinion, educating the stakeholders such as the correctional officers, the jurors, the addicted prisoners, nurse practitioners, family members, psychologists, judges, friends and probation officers on the need to avoid recidivism among the released drug offenders. To understand the community and how we will deliver the service of residential treatment, we will first understand the composition of the community. See the discussion below.

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The Population Demographic and Structure 

Drug abuse and addiction is a common issue that affects all the facets of the society. Therefore, this proposal is targeted towards all the addicted inmates in all the states of the USA. According to the latest updates of Bureau of Prisons statistics on 24/06/2017, there are 187, 489 federal prisoners. By order of the offense committed, drug offenses take the lead with 46.2% of total inmates being those incarcerated for drug offenses. By gender, 93.3% are male prisoners and the remaining 6.7% being female offenders. Regarding citizenship, 78.7% are American citizens, 13.9 Mexican and the remaining percentage divided among Colombians, Cubans and other countries. Of the total number of inmates, 58.6% percent are whites, 37.7% black, 2.2 Native Americans and 1.5% Asian. With the existing data, it is evident that the issue of drug addiction and abuse is prevalent in many facets of the community and society. Therefore, in our goal setting, we will focus on the entire population, regardless of ethnic origin, race, color or age.   Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

The BOP has the initiative of ensuring the inmate prison safety. The security officers review historical disciplinary records at different points in the years to ensure there are no cases of serious of minor physical injuries. Similarly, the agency examines the rate of assaults occurring at different times of a particular time frame per every 5000 inmates. In the case where the frequency of crime is reported as alarming, the BOP responds by checking for any correlation between the offender population and the number of assaults. In a case where the variables are positively related, the agency responds by regulating the number of inmates, through strategies such as prisoner transfer program. The staff-to-inmate ratio is 1:4 meaning that one staff is assigned to four prisoners. 

Weaknesses

The BOP reports that the prison population is still overcrowded, leading to inadequate monitoring and difficulties in administering correctional programs. For instance, the ratio of inmates to a correctional officer is 8.4:1. The prison overcrowding has led to increased disease such as Hepatitis C, HIV/Aids, and tuberculosis among others. Statistics show that the number of persons participating in residential drug treatment is decreasing from 18, 304 inmates in 2015, to 17,848 in 2016 and 14,324 in 2017. These weaknesses will be our focus in the goal setting section.

Goal Setting

Overall Purpose of the Intervention

To bring awareness, education, and provide a better solution to growing problems such as the death in prisons, overdose, high levels of recidivism, etc. 

Mission

Provide an alternative to locking people up who suffer from the disease of addiction and provide the proper care, treatment, education, and prevention. 

Goals

The main aim of this intervention is to provide a better solution for individuals with drug and alcohol related charges than just locking them up. It is also our objective to provide education, Counselling, job placement, treatment programs and relapse prevention initiatives to the addicted inmates.

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Delivery Systems/Resources and Environment

The intervention will utilize the inpatient/residential treatment design.  In this type of facility, the addicted patients will be treated on a 24 basis at a particular center. The reason for this choice is the advantages associated with the design which includes;

  •  Ability to meet in a peer group and participate in educative discussions.
  •  There are minimal or no distractions at all in the facility. Every individual is focused on terminating addiction and drug abuse.
  •  Peer counselors can easily access the target group for counseling sessions.
  •  Persons in these centers can receive highly individualized services.

For our intervention, the programs will range from 28 days to 90-day sessions. The type of addicts assigned in each meeting will be determined using the standard ASI scale (Addiction severity index). The higher the score on the ASI qualifies a person for a longer rehab program in the facility, say the 60 or the 90-day session that will allow complete and safe detox process, counsel, advice, and education. Medical professionals, peer counselors, and therapists will play a significant role in the counseling and treatment sessions. 

Location

The site of the facility is an important determinant of the success cases to be reported. The physical location should target the local community. The individuals locked-up from the locality should be admitted to the facility so that the family members can visit them at their convenience and as advised by a social psychiatrist. Similarly, the facility should be located away from major streets known for drug trafficking and substance abuse. The environment should be calm with minimal or no distraction. The safety is also important in determining the recovery process of the addicted inmates.

At the centers, group education will be offered to all stakeholders affected by the criminal justice system and the recidivism characteristic of drug offenders. Introducing training to different age brackets is important. For example, for the jobless group of drug offenders, vocational training will help them secure job opportunities after leaving prison. We will contact potential employers to be specific sponsors of the program. Upon completion of the program, these persons will be able to secure a job with a person they can rely on and who understand them well. Such actions will help reduce chances of recidivism. For youths who dropped out of school, we will help them get back to school through sponsors, private organizations, non-governmental initiatives, etc. We will also assign a mentor from the local community; who we can get through campaigns in the local community. A list of systems that can help us in the campaigns include;

  •   Bureau of Prisons
  •   SAMHSA
  •   NIDA- National Institute on drug abuse
  •   NIH- National Institute on health
  •   CSAP- Center for substance abuse prevention
  •   OJJDP- The office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention
  •   INL- State departments of international narcotics and law enforcement
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Evaluation

The existing literature shows that poor follow-up activities lead to relapse and recidivism among the drug addict offenders (Vaillant, 1988). Therefore, in our proposal, we will provide follow up after the victims have left the facility. We will then check the number of individuals who relapse and carry an in-depth study on what might be causing the fallback. Hopefully, we are expecting that no person will relapse. To assess the achievement of our goals, we will send officials to visit the victims and their families. Carry out face to face interviews to understand the progress that the person is making. Similarly, we will issue follow-up sheet where the sponsors will evaluate the victims after they leave the facility and during their stay with them at school and at work (Depending on whether a person was sent to work or school). We will then issue alumni cards as a way of preserving our culture. The successful alumni will be the prospective mentors and counselors of the following groups. We will also request the church to support these individuals with cultural and religious guidance. Family members will be vital organs in helping their loved one from relapsing.

Conclusion

Providing residential treatment also substantially lowers the chance of recidivism. Inpatient treatment has many advantages such as:

  •  Ability to meet in a peer group and participate in educative discussions.
  •  There are minimal or no distractions at all in the facility. Every individual is focused on terminating addiction and drug abuse.
  •  Peer counselors can easily access the target group for counseling sessions.
  •  Persons in these centers can receive highly individualized services.

Many organizations and agencies work hand in hand with the society and the government to ensure zero cases of drug abuse and incarceration. Working with these groups will help us reduce the rate of recidivism and relapse significantly. We recognize that stakeholders such as therapists, medical professionals, criminal justice workers and family members play a major role in helping the addicted offenders recover from addiction and drug abuse. The best way to ensure success in the residential treatment of addicted offenders is through education, counseling, alleviating unemployment and creating a conducive recovery environment. Follow-up is also an important step in ensuring zero relapse cases. 

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  9. Oates J. (1995, Oct 16). They all just went away. The way we lived. The New Yorker. Retrieved From (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1995/10/16/they-all-just-went-away). 
  10. Wagner, P., & Sakala, L. (2014). Mass incarceration: The whole pie. Northampton, MA: Prison Policy Initiative.
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