Zero tolerance policies and long, automatic prison sentences embodied by the “war on drugs” may be in the midst of a major shift – backed by many states, whose prisons house the majority of U.S. offenders.
The current rethinking of the drug war seems only to reflect the current state of our country’s environment: Shifts in public opinion, lower violent crime rates and a squeeze of public budgets caused by the recent recession.
Specialized Addiction Treatment Therapies
Studies also show increased support for a change in policy. In a recent poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, 67% of people said government should focus more on specialized addiction treatment therapies, compared with 26% saying prosecution should be the focus. More than 60% of those polled agreed that states should move away from mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug crimes, with 32% in disagreement.
These figures are in stark contrast from a 1990 poll, showing 73% in favor of a mandatory death penalty for “major drug traffickers” and 57% in favor of police searching “known drug dealers” without the aid of a specified court order.
Recent state-level actions include shortening mandatory minimum sentences, lowered penalties for possession and use of illegal substances, and removing automatic sentence enhancements. While some states have made smaller leaps (Idaho no allows those convicted of violent felonies to participate in drug courts), others have jumped head-first into reform (New York’s reposition on the Rockefeller-era drug laws in ’09).
Luxury Drug Rehab
Though state-level policies may not receive the attention of federal action, they can play an important role in the bigger picture. State prisons house more than six times as many prisoners as federal prisons. Of this population, roughly 17% have a drug crime as the most serious offense on their record. Though nobody is asking government officials to exchange prison sentences for luxury drug rehab stays, there is no denying that an alternative option is necessary.
Substance Abuse Treatment
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, The Dunes East Hampton is the place to turn. Pick up the phone today and let our team of seasoned recovery specialists help you back on track towards the healthy, happy lifestyle you and your family have been missing.