Can drug treatment programs reduce the number of reoffenders?
What impacts the likelihood that a drug offender will commit further drug crimes once released from prison? One answer may lie in the treatment they receive following their release.
Government report examines rearrest rates of certain drug offenders
The U.S. Sentencing Commission issued a report regarding the recidivism rates of those who participate in different drug programs. The report examined rearrest rates for those who commit federal drug crimes eight years after serving their prison sentence.
The study found that there was a significant downward trend in recidivism among those who completed a residential or non-residential drug abuse treatment program compared to those who were eligible for these programs but did not participate in them or finish them.
For example, the rearrest rate for those who were eligible for a residential drug abuse treatment program but did not participate sat at 68%. The rearrest rate for those who completed a residential drug abuse treatment program sat at 48%.
The rearrest rate for those who participated in a non-residential drug abuse treatment program was less noticeable but still significant. The rearrest rate for those who were eligible for a non-residential drug abuse treatment program but did not participate sat at 54%. The rearrest rate for those who completed a non-residential drug abuse treatment program sat at 50%.
Treatment programs may be better than extreme punitive measures
As this report shows, treatment programs can have a significant influence on recidivism rates for federal drug offenders. Oftentimes drug crimes are committed due to addiction. For these offenders, treating the addiction is as important as punishing the crime, perhaps more so.
Many people who commit a drug crime would not have done so but for their addiction. Treatment programs address this facet of drug crimes in a way that can help participants avoid committing similar crimes in the future.