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Is jail the appropriate punishment for all drug crimes?

The War on Drugs has evolved since it was first launched in the 1970s, but the aim of eradicating drug use and distribution has remained steadfast. But it is not working. The usage of opiates in particular, which are highly addictive, have hugely increased. Instead of helping these people struggling within the grips of addiction, we throw them in jail.

Our jail systems are flooded with people convicted of drugs crimes, or violent crimes in relation to attempting to secure drugs to feed their addiction. One report indicates that almost 90 percent of individuals that are conviction of a drug crime and sentenced to jail time will commit another crime after being released.

This high recidivism rate is not indicative of a population of bad, criminal people that cannot be helped. It is indicative of a system that does not help these individuals, virtually condemning history to repeat itself.

Accordingly, there are many groups around the nation fighting to help individuals with crippling addictions kick their habits in order to live a productive life in which they are no longer forced into criminal behavior to avoid the agony of withdrawal.

One man that has dedicated his time to helping struggling individuals turn their lives around says the program he advocates for is an "alternative to punitive sentencing by our judicial system, to those offenders who fit the profile of being ready to find a way out of their addictions."

In New Jersey, an experienced legal attorney can assist an individual facing drug charges pursue diversion programs and sentencing alternatives in order to seek help, and mitigate the risk of falling into a dangerous cycle. While drug charges can feel overwhelming, a skilled legal attorney can help a struggling individual fight for their freedom from prison and addiction.

Source: Mansfield News Journal, "Faith programs target drug addiction," Lou Whitmire, April 7, 2013

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